In what was seemingly an attempt to connect to her audience through a local reference, first lady Jill Biden faced fierce criticism over her speech at the conference of UnidosUS, the country’s largest Latino advocacy group, when she compared the diversity of the Latino community to “breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.”
“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,” Biden said.
Her reference to San Antonio’s breakfast tacos drew intense backlash. A response from the first lady came via her press secretary Michael LaRosa: “The First Lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.”
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists responded in a post to its Twitter account that “we are not tacos.”
“Using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio demonstrates a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the region,” the association wrote in its statement. “NAHJ encourages Dr. Biden and her speech writing team to take the time in the future to better understand the complexities of our people and communities.”
The comment also drew criticism from Republicans who are trying to build new support with Hispanic voters in Texas this election cycle. Among them Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is from Miami and of Cuban descent, joined in the criticism of the first lady as well — albeit indirectly — by changing his profile photo on Twitter to a taco.