- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Pinatas of GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump have become hot sellers in two of the largest cities in the state with the highest percentage of Hispanic residents.

Businesses in Albuquerque and Santa Fe say Trump pinatas have been flying off their shelves and it’s not just Latinos who are buying them.

Jose Carlos Andre, manager of the Santa Fe Mexican butcher shop El Paisano, told the Santa Fe New Mexican (https://goo.gl/Y3Yn7v) after word went out that the store had Trump pinatas, whites even started coming into the store to buy them. They had been popular with mainly Mexican immigrants until recently, he said.

“Funny enough, he is bringing us business,” said Andre, 26.

Dulceria Puebla in Albuquerque also is selling the Trump pinatas and workers there say they go quickly.

Trump pinatas became hot items in U.S. cities with large Latino populations after Trump made comments about Mexican immigrants.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump, now a leading Republican candidate, said last summer. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Those comments draw strong reaction from civil rights groups. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican and the nation’s only Mexican American female governor, also denounced Trump for those remarks.

Trump since has continued with the harsh rhetoric, saying he wants to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, and have Mexico pay for it, to stop illegal immigration. Two former Mexican presidents and the pope recently spoke out against Trump’s proposed immigration policy.

Polls have shown that Trump remains unpopular among Latino voters.

Now, the demand for Trump pinatas has kept pinateros (people who make pinatas) and sellers busy from coast to coast and south of the border. Many families buy them for birthday parties, but others are buying them just to ridicule Trump.

Tai Ayers, 41, who lives near El Paisano, said she had never stepped into the Santa Fe butcher shop that mainly serves Mexican immigrants before Friday. She bought the pinata to celebrate her and her 4-year-old son’s birthday with a party Sunday. Ayers told the Santa Fe New Mexican she learned from a friend that El Paisano was selling Trump pinatas.

“I completely noticed the irony,” Ayers said as she shopped at Sam’s Club for snacks to fill her pinata. “It actually made me feel good buying this because this is exactly who I want to give my money to - a locally owned shop that services immigrants.”

In July, a former treasurer of the Santa Fe County Republican Party, Ignacio Padilla, drove around town in his Triumph Spitfire convertible with a Trump pinata looking out from the passenger seat. A sign on the pinata labeled Trump a “racist.” Later, Padilla invited people to smash the pinata on the Plaza.

The antic got Padilla ousted as the party treasurer.

Padilla, 72, recently said he still has the pinata, now with a broken head.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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