NEW YORK >> Donald Trump’s social media post today to mark Cinco de Mayo immediately went viral, spawning criticism from some Latino groups that found it offensive and pandering.
Trump took to Twitter and Facebook 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 organization, tweeted a short time later that the Republican presidential front-runner’s post was “clueless, offensive and self-promoting.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2016
“Eating a taco or wearing a sombrero doesn’t cut it w/our community in 2016,” Murguia tweeted.
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 U.S. from Mexico. A Gallup poll released last month showed 77 percent of Hispanics had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, while only 12 percent viewed him favorably.
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.” And Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico who has clashed with Trump over the proposal to build a border wall, joked to Fox News that he saw that Trump is “now having some enchiladas and some Mexican food – I hope that he will not get indigestion.”
Democrats also seized upon the post, suggesting it highlighted Trump’s weakness with Latinos. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign tweeted out a video — with Spanish subtitles — recounting Trump’s past comments supporting mass deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about the reaction to the post.
Cinco de Mayor 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 not actually on sale at the Trump Grill, but the Trump Cafe in the candidate’s namesake tower offers a “Taco Fiesta!” for $13.50.