It looks like the #hottakes are still coming over Donald Trump's Cinco de Mayo tweet of himself eating a taco bowl and saying "I love Hispanics!" It deserves to be recognized in the Election Hall of Shame, but on Saturday, it was memorialized by an unexpected source: Jeb Bush. Remember him? He's been licking his wounds since his withdrawal from the Republican primaries, but over the weekend, he gave an interview to the Dutch news agency NRC Handelsbad. He broke his sorta silence by mocking Trump for his taco bowl tweet, but I wasn't laughing.
Here's the former governor of Florida's attempted roast of Trump:
What Trump did was so insensitive. First, not all Hispanics are Mexican. Secondly, not all Hispanics eat tacos. Thirdly, showing your sensitivity by eating an American dish is the most insensitive thing you can do. Fourthly, to say this, next to all things he already said, is a further insult. It’s like eating a watermelon and saying ‘I love African-Americans.’
Jeb(!), what are you doing?! Please stop before you put your foot in your mouth any further and gravely choke yourself. The core of his argument rings true — Trump's tweet was insensitive. But Bush's remarks are an example of a good idea with a poor execution (which can be said for his overall campaign as well). He was trying to call Trump out on racism, but countering one kind of racism with a different kind of racism? It doesn't work that way.
Allow me draft a response in Bush's demonstrated linguistic style:
Firstly, Bush's response was insensitive, even though it seems like he was trying to go for edgy. Secondly, this is the guy who once accidentally claimed to be Hispanic, so one can argue there's a bit of a pot and kettle situation here. Thirdly, the reason Bush's remarks are not funny is because comparing Trump's tweet to "eating a watermelon and saying 'I love African-Americans'" is — guess what? — as racist to me as that tweet. Fourthly, to make such a comparison is a further insult, because it typecasts another racial minority alongside Hispanics. While he's at it, he might as well talk about Asians and fortune cookies.
Bush may have been calling out the absurdity of Trump's statement with an equally ridiculous line, and that may have been well-intentioned, but that backfired. If Bush achieved anything with comparing taco bowls to watermelons, it's revealing how well-versed he is in the cliches and tropes of racial stereotyping.