President Biden will speak at an annual gala celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Washington, making his second straight appearance at the most celebrated event on the Latino political calendar.
Biden will address the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) 45th Annual Awards Gala on Sept. 21, and Vice President Harris will participate in the group’s Leadership Conference leading up to the gala.
The yearly event brings together a who’s who of the Hispanic political world, and each year it features a top-tier musical guest.
This year’s gala will feature Bobby Pulido, the Tejano singer whose debut 1995 hit “Desvelado” has aged into a classic in the genre, and who won Best Tejano Album at the 2022 Latin Grammy Awards for “Para Que Baile Mi Pueblo.”
From the time the gala was instituted until 2017, all presidents of both parties were invited to appear.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all made appearances; George H.W. Bush was unable to appear because of scheduling conflicts, but was invited all four years of his presidency.
In 2017, the gala’s organizers took the unprecedented step of withdrawing former President Trump’s invitation in response to his rhetoric on immigrants during the 2016 campaign. Trump never attended the event.
Biden’s first official appearance as president at the event was in 2021, though that year’s gala was substituted with a livestream because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At his first in-person event in 2022, Biden drew cheers as he sang “Happy Birthday” to Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Biden won’t get the opportunity to try for an encore; Barragán’s birthday is Friday, almost a week before this year’s event.
But the president will take a stage with a majority-Democratic Latino audience primed to hear his plans to appeal to Hispanics ahead of 2024.
Last year, he touted the major legislative accomplishments he achieved with the help of a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress; in 2023, he will take the stage at a combative stage in his relationship with Congress, with House Republicans moving toward an impeachment inquiry.
Yet the big stage is an opportunity for Biden to hone his message to Latino voters as his 2024 campaign gets rolling.
In 2022, he touted the presence of Cabinet members Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Small Business Administrator Isabella Guzman at the gala; this year, the three will be joined by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on a panel titled “Our Moment in History: Latinos at the Decision-Making Table” at the Leadership Conference.
The president is also likely to give a shout-out to his 2024 campaign manager, Julie Chávez-Rodríguez, a political rights activist who is well known among the CHCI Gala crowd.
Biden’s message will center on inclusion in his team, but also engagement efforts in the White House, including a South Lawn screening of the film “Flamin’ Hot” and inviting local Latino radio programs to broadcast from the White House.
And Biden will tout the effects of “Bidenomics” on Hispanic communities, touching on pandemic recovery efforts, the historically low Latino unemployment rate, expanding credit for small businesses, low drug prices and access to education.