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"Senator, you've whipped out that Mexican thing," said Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during Tuesday night's debate.
Donald Trump's running mate ignited a social media firestorm the moment he spoke those three words. The phrase quickly became a hashtag.
"I'm sure Pence was referring to Mexicans in a diminishing way," San Francisco resident Marcello Porcu said.
On Twitter, people posted pictures of their grandparents and wrote, "American citizens who paid taxes."
One tweet said "that Mexican thing" is my dad who served his country in Vietnam.
#ThatMexicanThing is my dad who served his country in Vietnam, was a first generation college graduate, and paid his fair share of taxes.— Tom?s Talamante (@TalamanteDC) October 5, 2016
And another reads, "that Mexican thing is when we vote."
#ThatMexicanThing is when we vote... all 27.3 million eligible voters.— Victoria Villalpando (@vvillalp) October 5, 2016
Once Pence said it, someone immediately created ThatMexicanThing.com. If you go there, it will direct you to Hillary Clinton's website.
Following the phrase Gov. Pence said, "There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally, who are perpetrating violence."
Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine interjected, "You want to use a big tar brush against Mexicans."
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And Pence finished with, "He also said that many of them are good people."
Ken Goldstein is a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. He said, "For this to ultimately matter, 'Mexican thing'" has to turn into a 'Mexican turnout thing.'"
There has been a 25 percent increase in the number of citizenship applications compared to the last year, but because of the backlog, some applications may not be processed in time for the election.
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