Soon after winning Mexico’s presidential election and becoming the first woman elected to the role, Claudia Sheinbaum took to social media to thank voters, her campaign team and the world leaders who’d wished her well.

She also thanked her husband, Jesús María Tarriba, for being by her side.

“Gracias a Jesús, mi esposo, por acompañarme,” she wrote on X, the site formerly called Twitter.

Although the sentiment is pretty standard for newly elected leaders, it sparked a brief and memorable social media firestorm.

Some people who saw the post were confused about why Sheinbaum, who will be Mexico’s first Jewish president, would give thanks to the Christian savior, Jesus Christ. They didn’t realize her husband’s name is Jesús.

The confusion led to some problematic claims about Sheinbaum being a secret Christian, but also many humorous posts about English speakers being horrible at reading Spanish.

“The fact that Claudia Sheinbaum’s husband’s name is Jesús has apparently broken a lot of people’s brains,” observed one X user.

Claudia Sheinbaum’s religion

Sheinbaum is open about her Jewish heritage, but religion was not a major talking point during her presidential campaign, according to The Associated Press.

A couple of factors explain why that was: For one thing, Sheinbaum is not religiously observant. For another, Mexico is a very Catholic country, the article said.

But Sheinbaum still dealt with some antisemitic attacks while campaigning, according to The Forward.


“Former President Vicente Fox ... called her a ‘Bulgarian Jew’ in an apparent attempt to minimize her candidacy. He apologized, but made a similar comment after Sheinbaum briefly donned a rosary with a crucifix after being given one during a campaign stop last fall. ‘Jewish and foreign at the same time,’ Fox tweeted,” per The Forward.

Mexico elected its first female president. Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

Sheinbaum faced rumors that she was born in Bulgaria because that’s where two of her four Jewish grandparents immigrated from.

“Sheinbaum had Ashkenazi grandparents who immigrated from Lithuania in the 1920s and Sephardic grandparents who left Sofia, Bulgaria, in the 1940s to escape the Holocaust. She has said that she celebrated holidays at her grandparents’ houses, but at home with her political activist parents, her family life was secular,” The Forward reported.

Once Sheinbaum is sworn in as Mexico’s president this fall, there will be three Jewish heads of state in the world, the article said. The other two lead Israel and Ukraine.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.