First lady likened the diversity of Latino community to breakfast tacos, as Republicans quickly seized on her comment
Jill Biden has apologized for remarks in a speech to the civil rights and advocacy organization UnidosUS in which she likened the diversity of Latino Americans to breakfast tacos.
Speaking in Texas on Monday, the first lady said: “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.”
Amid condemnation of the statement, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said: “We are not tacos. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures and food traditions. Do not reduce us to stereotypes.”
Biden’s press secretary, Michael LaRosa, responded: “The first lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.”
Republicans, however, were quick to seize on the remarks.
The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, tweeted: “Breakfast tacos? This is why Texas Hispanics are turning away from the Democratic party.”
In states including Texas and Florida, Republicans have shown increasingly strongly and even won in congressional districts with Latino majorities, a trend that suggests a rapidly growing Latino population does not necessarily indicate growing support for Democratic candidates.
Last month, Mayra Flores, a hard-right Republican, won a special election in the 34th Texas congressional district, which stretches from east San Antonio to the border with Mexico.
The district was previously a Democratic stronghold. Flores is both the first Republican elected from the district and the first Latina Republican in the Texas congressional delegation.
On Wednesday, Flores seized on both the first lady’s remark and news of more economic headwinds to hit the Biden administration.
She tweeted: “US inflation hit 9.1% over the past year; early polls indicate more breakfast tacos are leaning Republican.”
About 30% more Latino voters identify as Democratic compared to Republican, according to a recent Gallup analysis.
But in 2020, Latino voters swung Republican in droves in places like the Rio Grande Valley, where Joe Biden won a smaller share of votes than Democrats did in 2016. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Zapata county, Texas, which is 93% Latino, by 33 points. Biden lost it to Trump.