The wife of President López Obrador has come under fire for a Twitter comment she made in response to a question asking her when she would help parents of children with cancer.
Beatriz Gutiérrez, a staunch defender of her husband and his government, published a celebratory post on the social media platform on Wednesday in recognition of the second anniversary of López Obrador’s 2018 election victory.
Responding to her post, Twitter user José David Guerra Muñoz asked the first lady when she would personally attend to the parents of children with cancer, who have protested medication shortages since last year.
“Thank you for your kind response,” he added.
Gutiérrez responded curtly with a comment that triggered online criticism for being insensitive and a demand for an apology from parents of child cancer patients.
“I’m not a doctor, maybe you are. Go on, help them,” she wrote in a comment that has since been deleted but which was widely shared by Twitter users.
The post gave rise to the trending hashtag #LaBrujaDelPalacio, or the Witch of the Palace, referring to the National Palace, the seat of executive power and the residence of López Obrador and Gutiérrez.
“If Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller doesn’t attend to the parents of children with cancer because she’s not a doctor, she shouldn’t record discs either because she’s not a singer,” one Twitter user said, referring to the first lady’s brief foray into music.
Supporters of Gutiérrez, a writer and academic, condemned the online attacks, asserting that she deserves respect.
Meanwhile, a group of parents of children with cancer issued a statement calling for an apology.
“We’re deeply offended by the frivolous and dehumanizing response of Ms. Beatriz Gutiérrez. We understand very well that she doesn’t hold any public position, that she isn’t a doctor, much less an oncology specialist, but this response isn’t befitting of an academic,” the parents said.
“She should be more empathetic and humane in her response toward the mothers and fathers who have children with cancer. For that reason, we demand that she correct her words and offer us a public apology.”
The parents also said that the shortage of some chemotherapy drugs persists and demanded that the government reestablish their supply to hospitals.
They said that while some people might be celebrating the second anniversary of López Obrador’s election, their hearts were filled with sadness due to the government’s “lack of commitment and responsibility” to solve the drug shortage problem.
On Wednesday night, Gutiérrez ceded to the demand for a public apology, although she appeared to indicate that she was surprised that her comment caused offense.
“My husband’s adversaries are very inquisitive!” she wrote on Twitter.
“If my expression ‘I’m not a doctor’ offended anyone, I apologize. … I just want to say that I am deeply human and I wish the best for everyone, now and always.”