As of Friday night, #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner was the No. 1 trending hashtag on Twitter in the United States, thanks to one Donald Trump supporter.
Marco Gutierrez, a Mexican immigrant and the founder of a group called Latinos for Trump, went on MSNBC Thursday night and said that unless Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States, Americans could expect to be inundated with tacos.
“My culture is a very dominant culture. And it’s imposing, and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”
Now while Gutierrez obviously meant to make a darker analogy about what he sees as the pervasiveness of Mexican culture, what he ended up doing was invite the mockery of Twitter users, who, rather than feeling threatened by his comment, were left pleasantly amused by it.
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) September 2, 2016
Soon after Gutierrez made the comment, the LA Times published a column titled, “So what exactly could be wrong with having taco trucks on every corner?” In the column, Steve Hooper compiled a handful of first-hand testimonies of both taco truck owners and taco lovers, proving that the former not only exemplified the American spirit of entrepreneurship but that the latter — American citizens — were greatly excited at the idea of having more taco trucks around their street corners.
“First of all, it smells really, really good, all the time. Let’s say you can’t sleep, so you roll out of bed and decide you’re hungry, but it’s 2 a.m.”
“Open a window, take a deep breath and follow the scent of sizzling meat, onions and peppers to the nearest taco truck.”
“Taco trucks are like palm trees here. Part of the landscape, and not hard to find.”
“I’m not saying you’ll be able to sleep after you eat, but for just a couple of bucks you’ll have a full belly and a smile on your face.”
"It's all part of a Mexican plot. They get us hooked on tacos, then we slip into Sangria Law before you know it." #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner
— margaritateresa (@margaritateresa) September 3, 2016
— JMo (@jillianmoroney) September 3, 2016
(He was right; here they COME.) pic.twitter.com/ojW3B3dJuJ
— Pin Head (@PiercedSkull) September 2, 2016
— Dorsey Shaw (@dorseyshaw) September 2, 2016
Within a matter of a few minutes, #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner began trending on Twitter. According to NPR, #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter by Friday midnight. While many people took to the micro-blogging site to express the ludicrousness of Gutierrez’s comment, others took the opportunity to point fingers at Donald Trump, underlining that his campaign — and indeed his supporters — thrived on the idea of dividing people by juxtaposing their cultural backgrounds and something as arbitrary as their eating habits.
As OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano explained, Gutierrez’s comment, and Donald Trump’s tactics is nothing short of harking back at the bygone days when Mexicans were generally looked down upon in America, while Mexican food was considered not healthy, and even poisonous.
“You’d call people beaners, greasers, you’d talk about ‘Montezuma’s Revenge. And even with taco trucks, you’d call them roach coaches… this idea that somehow Mexican food is not healthy for you, and even poisonous,” he said.
But he explained why such a comment would backfire in the current climate, even with the 2016 presidential race stooping to alarming standards in propagating divisive rhetoric and an insecurity about immigrants.
“We’re now of a generation where almost everyone has grown up eating Mexican food of some sort or other, whether it’s breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, or big huge combo platters. So to try to say that more Mexicans means more Mexican food, if anything, that’s the one thing all Americans like. You may not like the Mexican, but you sure love Mexican food,” he said.
And that is true. It is perhaps because of this reason that Gutierrez’s comment was met with such cynicism and humor. In fact, the opportunity was not lost on Democrats either, with the Twitter page of Texan Democrats making the most of Gutierrez’s comment. The following post went viral on Twitter soon after it was sent out.
— Texas Democrats (@texasdemocrats) September 2, 2016
Maybe by the end of it all, Gutierrez would have learned his lesson: that Americans are not only not threatened by the idea of #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner, but they would welcome it with all their heart, and er.. bellies.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]