early and often

Jill Biden Apologizes to Latino Community for ‘Breakfast Tacos’ Comment

Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Unlike her husband, Jill Biden has never been known as a “gaffe machine.” As First Lady, she has maintained her reputation for being generally inoffensive. She has managed to avoid wearing any outfits emblazoned with insulting phrases, and one of her more notable controversies centered around the White House taking too long to get a cat. But Biden broke her impressive streak on Monday when she tried to find a culturally specific way to pay the Latino community a compliment and came up with a reference to “bodegas” and “breakfast tacos.”

Biden made the remark on Monday while speaking at a conference in San Antonio, Texas, for UnidosUS, a Latino civil-rights and advocacy organization. She started out by noting that the president recently signed bipartisan gun legislation passed in the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and that the organization’s former leader, Raul Yzaguirre, was just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Then she began speaking more generally about the Latino community. She said, according to her prepared remarks:

Yes, the Latino community is unique. But what I’ve heard from you again and again is that you want what all families want. Good schools. Good jobs. Safe neighborhoods. 

You want justice and equality — the opportunity to build a better life for your families.

It’s not only what all families want; it’s what all families deserve. But we can’t get those things on our own.

So far, so good. But then Biden added:

Raul helped build this organization with the understanding that 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. 

And yet, it’s when you speak with one voice — unidos — that you find your power.  

To make matters worse, the First Lady mispronounced bodega.

Her remarks were “met with cheers in the packed conference room,” according to CNN. But the National Association of Hispanic Journalists released a statement on Monday informing Biden and her speechwriting team that Hispanics “are not tacos” and encouraging them not to rely on stereotypes.

Biden quickly said she was sorry. “The First Lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community,” said Michael LaRosa, her spokesman, per CNN.

Hopefully, Melania Trump left some “Be Best” merch around the East Wing because Jill Biden and her team could use some time meditating on it.

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Jill Biden Apologizes to Latinos for ‘Breakfast Tacos’ Gaffe