Thursday 20 October 2016

Latino groups put the bite on Donald Trump over taco tweet

Published 06/05/2016 | 01:36

Donald Trump's poll numbers among Latinos have been consistently poor (AP)
Donald Trump's poll numbers among Latinos have been consistently poor (AP)

Donald Trump's social media post to mark a Mexican celebration day has gone viral, spawning criticism from some Latino groups who found it offensive.

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Mr Trump took to Twitter and Facebook to mark Cinco de Mayo with a picture of himself eating a taco bowl and the caption: "Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!"

The post generated tens of thousands of retweets and seemingly as many jokes, but not everyone found it amusing.

Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights organisation, tweeted a short time later that the Republican presidential candidate's post was "clueless, offensive and self-promoting".

"Eating a taco or wearing a sombrero doesn't cut it w/our community in 2016," she tweeted.

Mr Trump's poll numbers among Latinos have been consistently poor since he began his campaign by promising to build a border wall to prevent "killers" and "rapists" from coming to the US from Mexico.

A Gallup poll released last month showed 77% of Hispanics had an unfavourable opinion of Mr Trump, while only 12% viewed him favourably.

The Latino Victory Fund, a left-leaning political group, released a statement that said: "Donald Trump is doubling down on his racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Latino and anti-Mexican rhetoric."

Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico who has clashed with Mr Trump over the proposal to build a border wall, joked to Fox News that Mr Trump is "now having some enchiladas and some Mexican food - I hope that he will not get indigestion".

Democrats also seized on the post, suggesting it highlighted Mr Trump's weakness with Latinos. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's campaign tweeted a video - with Spanish subtitles - recounting his past comments supporting mass deportations of illegal immigrants.

Cinco de Mayo originally commemorated the Mexican Army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5 1862. In the United States, it has since been transformed into a celebration of Mexican culture and food.

The taco bowl - an American creation - is sold at the Trump Grill, but the Trump Cafe in the candidate's namesake tower offers a "Taco Fiesta".

Ms Clinton said later that Mr Trump wants to create a "deportation force to round up millions of people", warning a largely Hispanic audience about the presumptive Republican nominee.

She said the "best way to prevent that from happening is to make sure he never gets near the White House".

The Democratic front-runner said she will push for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws and end "raids and round-ups" of immigrants.

Ms Clinton was heckled by some protesters at the Cinco de Mayo event at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California, prompting the crowd to chant her name.

Press Association

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