POLITICS

Denver councilman uses Trump supporter’s ‘taco truck’ comment to register voters

 

When Latinos for Trump co-founder Marco Gutierrez remarked to Joy Reid on MSNBC that “My culture is a very dominant culture, and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner,” who knew he’d actually inspire a kind of political “taco truck movement?”

Although Denver Councilman Paul D. Lopez says he found Gutierrez’s comments “racist,” he told Fox News Latino his first thought was simply to encourage a local taco truck to park near GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters because “maybe they’d never had really good tacos.”

Once the truck was parked, then someone from Lopez’s office began querying hungry patrons about whether or not they were registered to vote. If they weren't, Lopez's office helped them register. 

Jose Luiz Gonzalez, the owner of Mestizos food truck, told Fox News Latino, “When I heard the [Gutierrez’s} comments, in my head I was thinking about doing something, but I wasn't sure what to do. When Councilman Lopez called, I said I was more than happy to support it.”

But it wasn’t all good for Gonzalez. He told FNL that sometime after the event his truck was “trashed” either Sunday or Monday and $300 stolen from a safe box inside.

He says the damage wasn’t too significant, but he believes it was a repercussion from setting up shop in front of Trump’s offices and speaking out against Gutierrez's comments. 

“In five years, I’ve never had anything happen to my truck," he said, "and I got death threats and obscene messages, but I can’t say where it’s coming from.”

Gonzalez bought the truck from his uncle in California five years ago. He said he was a new father and thought it would be a great business opportunity. He launched in November of 2011.

“The message I’ve always had in the back of my mind, as a Mexican-American, I’ve always wanted to identify myself as an American, but it’s hard," Gonzalez said. "I thought you had to be white."

"Now, as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized we are American," he added. "America has a lack of identify and we’re at a time where food brings us together to create a new identify though a peaceful way and good eats. That’s the message. Maybe it’s time to look at each other as brothers and sister."

Although Lopez says he’s not sure how many people they registered to vote at the taco truck on September 3rd, but he says, “It’s important for us to capture as many votes as possible. It’s one thing to be upset it’s another to take action.”

Gutierrez’s remark spawned the hashtag #TacoTrucksOnEveyCorner, and a social groundswell. The bulk of social media comments poked fun at the taco truck remark, and many people posting them said having a taco truck on every corner would be sublime.

“Voter registration has always a philosophy in our community," Lopez said. "Every day there’s someone 18-years-old and by election time they can vote. Food trucks have become very popular. They’re very blue collar America. They used to show up at construction sites. They’re really as American as apple pie."

Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at rebekah.sager@foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.