First Lady Jill Biden apologized Tuesday via a spokesperson for remarks she made a day earlier in San Antonio comparing the nation’s diverse Latino communities to cultural and culinary institutions from across the country.
The Latino community, Biden said Monday, is “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.”
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.”
“Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by a variety of diasporas, cultures and food traditions, and should not be reduced to a stereotype.”
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.
The 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 apology came hours before President Joe Biden was set to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House, a leader with whom the Biden administration has had a rocky relationship of late. López Obrador has been critical of the White House’s support for Ukraine in its war to fight off Russian invaders as well as on issues involving trade and immigration.
López Obrador was among the North American leaders who declined to attend last month’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles after Joe Biden refused to invite authoritarian leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.