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Taco Truck Owner Racks Up Sales At Trump Event In Detroit

Nancy Paz and Jose Badajoz stand in front of their taco truck, which they positioned near the church Donald Trump visited Saturday morning.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio
Nancy Paz and Jose Badajoz stand in front of their taco truck, which they positioned near the church Donald Trump visited Saturday morning.

Donald Trump's visit to an African American church in Detroit brought both cheers and protests Saturday — but one of the star attractions was a taco truck. One of the humble vehicles, which now straddle the worlds of political symbol and internet meme, was parked outside.

The Tacos El Caballo truck set up near Great Faith Ministries International to provide a counterpoint to critics of U.S. immigration policy, its owners told Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

Nancy Paz, who immigrated from Mexico, tells Pluta that she parked her family's taco truck near the church Trump visited on Detroit's west side Saturday in the hope that the Republican presidential candidate might glimpse it on his way in.

"Because Donald say the Mexican people, they doesn't work," Paz told Pluta. "We come here to say, yes, we work hard, for the family."

The truck did brisk business this morning — so much so that a form of surge pricing kicked in, raising the price for a steak, pork, or chicken taco from $1.50 to $2.50, Pluta reports.

Inside the church, Trump delivered a short speech that mentioned discrimination and the marginalization of young black men; he also stressed the importance of family.

While his arrival had been met with protesters holding "Dump Trump" signs, during his speech, Trump was cheered and applauded several times — particularly when he announced he would quote the Bible's 1 John, chapter 4. After reading a verse aloud that reflects on the goal of loving each another, he pronounced, "That's so true."

"As his remarks ended, church leaders then placed a Jewish prayer shawl upon Trump's shoulders," the Detroit Free Press reports.

Separately, Trump also spoke to Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, pastor of Great Faith Ministries, for an interview on Jackson's Impact television network.

The hashtag #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner became wildly popular after Marco Gutierrez, who was born in Mexico and co-founded Latinos for Trump, said about immigration rates on MSNBC, "If you don't do something about it, you're going to have taco trucks [on] every corner."

That audacious statement set off discussions on Twitter and elsewhere about a vision of the future that seems like a dream to some, and is [purportedly] a nightmare to others.

As Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA, told NPR's Adrian Florido:

"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."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.