Elections

Mi Cocina, Taco Diner owner faces boycott over Trump fundraising role

Donald Trump
Donald Trump The Associated Press

Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Texas already is prompting protests, including one at the popular Taco Diner restaurant chain Saturday.

Dallas activist Carlos Quintanilla is calling on North Texans to protest the Taco Diner at 4011 Villanova St. in Dallas at 3 p.m. Saturday — as well as all Taco Diner and Mi Cocina restaurants — because the company’s owner is helping raise money for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

The protest is against Ray Washburne, an owner of the M Crowd Restaurant Group, who serves on the Trump Victory Committee that is raising money to help fund the presidential bid.

“This is to highlight the hypocrisy of Ray Washburne,” said Quintanilla, a former congressional candidate and president of the Dallas-based Accion America activist group. “Donald Trump has attacked our community. He’s running a political campaign based on hate against immigrants.

“And his chief fundraiser has made a fortune hiring Hispanic workers.”

This protest comes as supporters are gearing up to back Trump with their pocketbooks, planning to attend high-dollar fundraisers in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio on Thursday and Friday.

“Donald Trump is a uniquely polarizing candidate in ways we haven’t seen for decades,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University. “Hillary is also polarizing, but not the point Trump is.

“It’s not surprising you’re getting this kind of strong reaction to him on both sides.”

Trump has drawn fire recently for saying a federal judge presiding over a legal case against Trump University was unfair because he’s Hispanic.

Texas Democrats kick off their state convention Thursday in San Antonio.

Trump’s visit

Details are sparse, but Trump is expected to attend fundraisers in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio next week.

A public event is possible but details had yet to be announced late Friday.

Trump’s public schedule online only runs through Monday, with the last posted event at 6 p.m. that night at the Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, NH.

Some reports have suggested that the Dallas fundraiser could be held at Washburne’s home, prompting Quintanilla — who has led numerous protests including one recently over the death of Jose Cruz, 16, by an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer — to call for one at 3 p.m. Thursday at Washburne’s Highland Park home.

“We won’t protest his home when he stops raising money for Donald Trump to protest our community,” he said.

Washburne representatives on Friday noted that no fundraiser will be held at their employer’s Dallas home. And they said Washburne is not personally hosting the Trump fundraiser.

The M Crowd Restaurant Group put out a statement Friday afternoon.

“For 25 years M Crowd restaurants, including Taco Diner and Mi Cocina, have been committed to developing people and supporting our extended family of more than 2,000 employees,” according to the statement. “Our company and founders, Bob McNutt, Ray Washburne and Dick Washburne, remain dedicated to helping our staff thrive, and our restaurants will continue to serve the highest quality food complimented by warm and professional service.”

Quintanilla said future boycotts — likely at Fort Worth locations of the popular restaurants — are planned.

Trump staffers didn’t respond to Star-Telegram requests for comment about the protest or the Texas visit.

Protests

Quintanilla’s group isn’t the only one planning to protest Trump’s visit.

A group of activists that includes not just Hispanics, but also Muslims, African-Americans and other opponents, is planning another Dallas protest, on the day of the fundraiser.

Former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, D-Dallas, is among those inviting people to attend an organizing meeting for a protest at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Oak Cliff Tower Basement, 400 S. Zang in Dallas.

“Help organize rally against racism & hate,” the protest note states.

As planning appears to be ramping up for this and other protests, Dallas police are also gearing up for the possibility of violence like that at Trump events in other cities.

Dallas is supposed to do annual training for their officers, but it has been several years since that training has been done, reports show.

A “Dump Trump San Antonio!” Facebook page has been created to organize a peaceful protest against Trump. A San Antonio lawyer who has represented some DREAMers in the past has offered legal help for protesters.

Supporters

All this comes as Republicans across the state are planning to attend Trump’s fundraisers, and another group — Help Support Donald Trump — is giving away a trip for two people to meet and have “Dinner with Donald Trump.”

The giveaway is being run by the Great America PAC, a super PAC geared to help Trump’s election effort. The prize is for the winner and a guest to attend a Trump fundraiser. Included are airplane tickets, a one-night hotel stay and dinner at a fundraiser, for an approximate retail value of $3,600.

Anyone who enters the drawing agrees they are a U.S. citizen with permanent residence status, 18 or older and not a federal contractor.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

  Comments