Jill Biden comes under fire for likening Latino community to ‘breakfast tacos’

Newsmax host Jenn Pellegrino wished first lady an ‘unhappy taco Tuesday’ amid furore

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 12 July 2022 16:20 BST
Jill Biden tells group of Hispanic voters they are as ‘unique’ as ‘breakfast tacos’

Jill Biden has been panned by many in Texas and beyond after she compared the Latino and community in San Antonio to the diversity of “breakfast tacos”.

While the comments were thought to be affectionate, many Hispanics and Republicans chided the first lady for her remarks to UnidosUS, a civil rights organisation, on Monday.

She said the group’s founder Raul Yzaguirre “helped build this organisation with the understanding that the diversity of this community, as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami, and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio, is your strength”.

Irene Armendariz-Jackson, a Texas congressional candidate who last month was condemned for comments she made about a deadly shooting in Copenhagen, Denmark, was among those Latinos who said they “do not identify as a breakfast taco”.

“I’m an American who was born to legal Mexican immigrants,” she wrote on Twitter. “I do not identify as Latinx. I do not identify as a bo-guh-da. I do not identify as a breakfast taco, either.”

Many others also criticised Dr Biden for her pronunciation of “bodega” and her use of the gender neutral term “Latinx”, which has not been widely accepted by members of the Latino community.

Tim Young, a columnist for the Washington Times, meanwhile wrote: “How White liberal women like Jill Biden describe the one Hispanic person they know” with “Potatoes, cheese, chorizo, eggs, salsa and a tortilla”.

Texas senator Ted Cruz tweeted along with three taco emojis: “Personally, I’m a chorizo, egg & cheese”.

“Happy TacoTuesday to everyone except Jill Biden”, Newsmax host Jenn Pellegrino tweeted with a meme depicting Dr Biden holding two tacos.

Politics professor Michael McDonald argued that Dr Biden had not compared Latinos to tacos directly, but had said they were as diverse as the cuisine. He wrote: “Not what she said. She name checked different Hispanic communities and cited something famous about them (like Austin’s breakfast tacos)”.

“So, you could correctly say ‘She said *A* Hispanic community is unique as *THEIR* breakfast tacos,’ but when phrased that way it doesn’t sound outrageous, and this won’t get the clicks,” he argued.

Some compared the apparent gaffe to Donald Trump’s celebration of Cinco de Mayo while Republican presidential nominee in 2016 when he posed with a taco bowl and wrote on Facebook that he “loved Hispanics”.

Mr Trump also frequently disparaged the Hispanic community and Mexicans during his time in office, which see him build a border wall with Mexico while claiming that those arriving from the country were “rapists” and “criminals”.

Dr Biden’s visit to Texas comes ahead of this year midterm elections and concerns among Democrats that Latino voters are increasingly turning away from the party.

San Antonio, where the conference was held, is also one of the largest Latino cities in the US, with a population of nearly 1.5m people that is 65 per cent Hispanic or Latino, according to US Census data.

In a statement through her spokesperson Michael LaRosa on Tuesday, the First Lady said she apologised “that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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