Jill Biden apologized Tuesday for saying Latinos were “unique” like tacos in San Antonio during a speech to Spain’s largest civil rights and advocacy organization.
“The first lady apologizes because her words conveyed nothing but pure admiration and love for the Latino community,” Jill Biden’s spokesman, Michael Larosa, wrote on Twitter.
The first lady flew to San Antonio on Monday to speak at the annual conference of UnidosUS, a Latino civil rights and advocacy group formerly known as the National Council of La Raza. She also spoke at a Democratic Party fundraiser at a private home before returning to Washington.
But Biden’s attempt at flattery faltered when she described the Latin variety as “as distinct as the Bodegas Bronx, as beautiful as Miami flowers and as unique as the tacos here in San Antonio.”
It’s also badly misspelled as “bodegas,” which are small, urban convenience stores that usually specialize in Hispanic groceries.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists Others recorded their offense on social media, with the journalists’ organization tweeting, “We are not tacos.”
“The use of breakfast tacos in an effort to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio is indicative of a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the area,” said NAHJ.
The association said the first lady and her speechwriters “must take time in the future to better understand the complexities of our people and societies.”
Latino voters generally favor Democrats, though patterns of support for the group vary widely in different parts of the United States, and Latino support for the Democratic presidential candidate has declined in 2020 compared to 2016, according to Pew Research Center data.
Some Democrats have suggested that the party is not working hard enough to maintain Hispanic support. In her speech, Jill Biden outlined how President Joe Biden has responded to the community, including by appointing Latinos to Cabinet and other senior government positions and helping them get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Separately, Republican Mayra Flores last month won a special election for Congress in a normally Democratic district of South Texas. Now expiring a term in the House of Representatives that expires in January, Flores is a staunch Trump supporter and the first Mexican-born woman elected to Congress.
Jill Biden spent part of Tuesday showing Mexico’s First Lady, Beatriz Gutierrez Mueller, around the Library of Congress while Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was at the White House meeting with President Biden.
Associated Press writer Will Weissert contributed to this report.
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