Jill Biden faces criticism for comparing Latinos to tacos as Hispanic support for Democrats slips

Written by on July 14, 2022

Jill Biden
First Lady Jill Biden watches as Marine One carrying U.S. President Joe Biden lands on the South Lawn of the White House upon Biden’s return to Washington, D.C. on June 30, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) |

First Lady Jill Biden’s comparison of Latinos to tacos has come under fire from advocacy groups and politicians as questions mount about the Democratic Party’s ability to win the Latino vote in the upcoming midterm elections. 

While speaking at a LatinX IncluXion Luncheon at the 2022 UnidosUS Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Monday, Biden brought up the “diversity” of the Latino community, suggesting that the differences between subgroups of Latinos were “as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.”

The crowd, which consisted of activists affiliated with an advocacy group that describes itself as “the largest Latino civil rights advocacy organization in the United States,” appeared amused by her remarks. But other Latino advocacy groups and politicians had a less favorable reaction.

The National Association for Hispanic Journalists, which characterizes itself as “a national network of professionals and students dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry,” strongly criticized Biden’s comments in a statement. 

“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 statement reads. 

“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. We are not tacos. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions.” 

NAHJ encourages @FLOTUS & her communications team to take time to better understand the complexities of our people & communities.

We are not tacos.

Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions.

Do not reduce us to stereotypes. pic.twitter.com/KQIq5gwsht

— NAHJ (@NAHJ) July 12, 2022

The National Association for Hispanic Journalists appears sympathetic to progressive causes. It recently published a blog post titled “An Undone Right,” lamenting that “reproductive care will be even more challenging for marginalized people after the fall of Roe v. Wade.” 

Multiple Latinas running for elected office also took issue with Biden’s remarks. Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, who recently won a special election to a U.S. House of Representatives seat based in heavily Hispanic South Texas, cited Biden’s taco comparison as an example of “liberal pandering.”

They just don’t get it. Latinos aren’t buying their liberal pandering; we care about the rising costs of housing, food, gas, issues that impact everyday Americans. No matter how loud they yell their made up words, it won’t change the reality of their failed policies. @theMRCpic.twitter.com/gXK7BVUMpF

— Mayra Flores (@MayraFlores2022) July 12, 2022

“We care about the rising costs of housing, food, gas, issues that impact everyday Americans,” Flores stated in a tweet. 

Flores took issue with the use of the term “Latinx” to refer to the Latino community, stating in another tweet that “Latina > Latinx.” 

Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican running to represent Florida’s 13th Congressional District, dubbed the controversy over Biden’s remarks “Tacogate” in a tweet Tuesday. A meme accompanying her post featured a picture of a Latino family next to the phrase “What we see” along with a view of cartoon tacos adjacent to the phrase “What Jill Biden sees.” 

Yesli Vega, who is running as a Republican to represent Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, wrote on Twitter that her “heritage” and “culture” “are more than tacos.”

The Hispanic community in America isn’t a minority voting pop. for you to use in your punchlines,” Vega wrote. “We are citizens who work hard & contribute to this nation. November is coming!” 

Hey @FLOTUS, my heritage, my culture, & my history are more than tacos. The Hispanic community in America isn’t a minority voting pop. for you to use in your punch lines, we are citizens who work hard & contribute to this nation.

November is coming!????????pic.twitter.com/RDk0zGmJ6W

— Yesli Vega (@yestoyesli) July 12, 2022

Biden’s remarks come as polls suggest Latinos are expressing dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party. While CNN exit polling found that 65% of Latinos supported Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, a recent poll from Quinnipiac University showed that just 24% of Latinos approve of the president’s job performance. 

A New York Times/Siena College poll conducted in July found that 32% of Hispanic voters approve of the job Biden is doing as president while nearly two-thirds said they disapprove. 

Other polls conducted earlier this year asked Latinos for their preferences in the upcoming midterm elections. Results of a Wall Street Journal poll conducted in March indicated that Latinos favored a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democratic candidate by 9 percentage points. An April poll conducted by Marist College in conjunction with NPR and PBS NewsHour revealed that Latinos favor the Republican over the Democrat by 13 points. 

In a previous interview with The christian Post, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic christian Leadership Conference, said he thinks the shift in polling suggests are Latino voters are “abandoning the Democratic Party or leftist ideologies.”

Rodriguez, who participated in President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the inaugural prayer service attended by President Barack Obama before his 2009 inauguration, believes the Democratic Party has become “a new progressive, socialist, anti-right, anti-christian” party. He contends the party “completely ignores the rights of individuals and the idea that we were created in the image of God, with God-ordained rights.”

Classifying Latinos as “people of faith,” he proclaimed, “Latinos are not going to stand for that.” 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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