First lady Jill Biden’s comparison of Hispanics to “breakfast tacos” in a speech earlier this week has drawn the ire of the Republican running for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District seat.
Catalina Lauf, a Woodstock resident who is Hispanic, seized on Biden’s comment for a fundraising email sent to followers Wednesday.
The email’s subject line proclaims: “This is just insulting.”
“Democrats have spent years taking the Hispanic community for granted,” reads the email from Lauf, whose mother immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala in the 1980s. “They are so disconnected from the people they claim to represent that reduce us to stereotypes.”
A photograph of Lauf holding a taco accompanies the message, as does a request for a campaign donation.
Biden made her controversial comment while speaking at the annual conference for the Latino civil rights organization UnidosUS in San Antonio, Texas. She was talking about the diversity of the community and the work of the group’s former leader, Raul Yzaguirre, who last week received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Biden said the diversity of the Hispanic community 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.” She chuckled after the remark, and there was some light applause.
Biden’s office apologized for the comment in a tweet the following morning, saying the first lady had intended to convey “pure admiration and love for the Latino community.”
In a tweet, that group encouraged Biden and her communications team “to take time to better understand the complexities of our people & communities. We are not tacos … Do not reduce us to stereotypes.”
Lauf, who also mocked Biden’s comment on social media, won a six-way GOP primary race in the 11th District two weeks ago and will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville in the Nov. 8 general election.
Lauf accused Democrats of pandering to Hispanics “without clearly understanding them (us)” or by using stereotypes.
“Jill Biden and the Democrats see ‘breakfast tacos,'” Lauf said in an email to the Daily Herald. “Republicans see entrepreneurs, small-business owners, community members and traditional, God-fearing loving families.”
Asked to comment on Biden’s and Lauf’s remarks, the Foster campaign said the Republican Party “cheered” when then-candidate Donald Trump made disparaging statements about Mexican immigrants.
Lauf’s fundraising appeal came just days before the Friday-night deadline for congressional candidates to file second-quarter fundraising reports with the Federal Elections Commission.
Redrawn for the 2022 election, the 11th District encompasses parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.
This is Lauf’s second bid for Congress; she unsuccessfully sought GOP nomination in the 14th District in 2020. Foster has represented the 11th since 2013.