Jill Biden criticised for comparing Latinos to tacos

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden speaks during visit to Bergen Community College.
US First Lady Jill Biden

US First Lady Jill Biden has caused offence after likening Hispanic people in a speech to “tacos”.

Mrs Biden was addressing Latinos at an event in Texas when she attempted a compliment that referenced the traditional Mexican snack.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) responded: “We are not tacos.”

Her comment comes as President Joe Biden’s popularity with Hispanic voters has been falling. 

Mrs Biden was addressing a conference in San Antonio on the Hispanic “Quest for Equity” on Monday when she 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.”

Mrs Biden mispronounced the convenience stores known as bodegas as “bogedas”.

The NAHJ called on Mrs Biden “to take time to better understand” Latinos.

The industry group added: “Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions. “Do not reduce us to stereotypes.”

Mrs Biden was previously criticized in March 2021 after botching the pronunciation of the Spanish phrase, “Sí se puede” (Yes we can), in remarks to farmworkers in Delano, California.

Conservatives led criticism of Mrs Biden’s latest remarks. “No wonder Hispanics are fleeing the Democratic Party!” US Representative Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona, wrote on Twitter.

A recent Quinnipiac opinion poll found that 26% of Hispanic people – a key voting bloc for the Democratic Party – approve of Mr Biden’s performance as president, down from 55% a year earlier.

While campaigning for the presidency, Mr Biden was ridiculed when he attempted to court the Hispanic vote by playing Despacito, a Spanish-language pop hit, from his phone.

Former President Donald Trump, during his own 2016 White House run, was also accused of clumsily pandering after he tweeted a photo of himself eating tacos with the caption: “I love Hispanics!”

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