Mayra Flores: 'GrubGate' Controversy Sparked by Former US Rep After She's Accused of Sharing Others' Photos of Mexican Food, Passing Them Off as Her Own Cooking

Mayra Flores
Mayra Flores (left) and one of the images she shared on social media. Wikimedia Commons/Twitter

Mayra Flores, a former GOP congresswoman who is running for her old seat in South Texas, has sparked a scandal that is being dubbed as "GrubGate" over accusations of her routinely stealing photos of Mexican food from other social media accounts and passing them off as her own cooking.

Earlier this week, Mayra Flores, the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress, posted a photo on social media that she described as "gorditas de masa" along with a caption that read, "the Ranch life with family is the best."

Flores' Photos Found to Have Been Previously Posted on Social Media

Soon after, a user on X, formerly known as Twitter, pointed out that that the image was previously posted on a Facebook page, "Visit Guyana," in March 2022.

This got users to do some further digging into her old social media posts and they found numerous other posts in which Flores used others' photos of campfire cooking or homemade tortillas to illustrate her own idyllic life on a ranch.

"As a proud Latina who knows how to cook, homemade Mexican food tastes better from a gas stove," she wrote alongside one photo of eggs and tortillas on what appears to be a wood-burning stove. The photo was initially posted on Facebook in 2021 by a Spanish-language magazine.

The Texas Tribune also reviewed Flores' Instagram account and found at least two such instances in the last year, including one post from July in which she shared a photo of meat and tortillas on a grill with the caption, "Joe Biden is not invited to the carne asada" in both English and Spanish. A reverse image search found that the exact photo was posted a year prior by a Facebook page for tourism in Tamaulipas — the state in Mexico where Flores was born.

In another post, she praised the "simple things in life" like a "good breakfast" alongside a photo that was first published two years ago by a Mexican food photographer.

Flores Says It Was Not Her 'Intention to Mislead'

In a text message on Wednesday, Flores said it wasn't her "intention to mislead." "The photo simply reminded me of my upbringing in Mexico and childhood," she said. "I deleted the tweet to clear up any confusion. I actually spend my Christmas at ranch with my In-Laws. Happy New Year!"

Flores is the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress. She has announced that she's running to take back the South Texas seat she originally won in a June 2022 special election. She lost the seat just months later to Democrat Vicente Gonzalez.