CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The statue of Selena Quintanilla-Perez at a memorial along the sea wall is a magnet for Corpus Christi tourists.
It's also the centerpiece of a political statement from a local, ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
“I was expressing my opinion and freedom of speech," said Joe Michael Perez. "Everybody does that all the time.”
Perez put a Trump campaign hat on the head of the statue, put his arm around Selena while wearing a Trump campaign shirt, and someone snapped a picture.
He then gave the picture to the Corpus Christi Crónica -- a bilingual newspaper. The Crónica posted it on Facebook, where it went viral with thousands of reactions, comments, and shares.
“I did it because Selena is a representation of the Hispanic community," Perez said. "I had a message that I wanted to deliver to everybody."
He says his message to the Hispanic community is that it is acceptable for them to support and vote for President Trump, a man he openly admires.
"The guy’s accomplishments, what he’s gotten done -- I’m drawn to that," Perez said.
While some of the Facebook comments applaud Perez, the majority are critical of his picture.
When self-described Selena super-fan Delia Hutchinson saw it, she said she burst into tears.
“It just breaks my heart that he would do something like that," Hutchinson said.