VANCOUVER – A Mexican-born construction worker says he hung his native country’s flag high above Vancouver to remind Donald Trump that his compatriots built a 63-storey tower that carries the billionaire’s name.
Diego Reyna has drawn the attention of international media after hanging a Mexican flag atop the Trump International Hotel and Tower over the weekend and recording a 43-second video that said the building wouldn’t exist without immigrants.
In the video he says Mexicans performed everything from drywall to concrete finishing on the project.
“This building is standing here today thanks to us, to our work and our labour,” he says. “There’s a little present for Mr. Trump, so every time you judge us you can think who is building your towers.”
The Holborn Group of Companies, the Vancouver developer behind the project, could not be reached for comment.
During his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump has been criticized after suggesting some Mexicans entering the U.S. are murderers and rapists.
Reyna, who wasn’t available for comment on Monday, said in a separate Facebook post that Mexicans didn’t steal or rape but just did the best work they possibly could.
“Your tower here in Vancouver is premium quality, and we were a crucial part of it, not just Mexicans but immigrants as a whole, like your ancestors were,” he said.
“The insults you have said about us have not changed our work ethics.”
This isn’t the first time the building has been at the centre of a Trump backlash.
In December, Mayor Gregor Robertson sent a letter urging the developer to drop Trump’s name from the tower, writing that Vancouver is known for diversity, equality and freedom from discrimination.
He referenced a petition signed by more than 50,000 people asking that the U.S. businessman’s name be removed from the tower following the Republican hopeful’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
The Holborn Group did not respond to a request for comment on the mayor’s comments at the time.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said then that she agrees Trump’s name doesn’t represent Vancouver, but that ultimately the city and the developer should make the decision.
Trump visited the city in 2013 to help announce the $360-million project. The Trump Organization said it was lending its brand power and operating the tower, but that the family would not be investing in the development.
When it is completed, the building will become the second Trump International Hotel and Tower in Canada after the one in Toronto.