The CEO of Goya Foods Robert Unanue, praised Donald Trump at a press conference and executive order signing ceremony Thursday at the White House, kicking off sharp backlash on social media, including calls to boycott the iconic New Jersey-based food brand.
“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Unanue said during a brief speech after a roundtable with Trump and other business execs.
Unanue, who is of Spanish descent, has come under fire for his adulation of a president who has exhibited overt racism—both in rhetoric and policy—towards Hispanic Americans, among nearly every other racial minority. (Migrant children, for instance, are still being separated from their parents and kept in cages at the Mexican border.)
As of last night, the hashtags #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were trending on social media. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julián Castro were among notable political leaders who were calling for a boycott of the food brand, which bills itself as the U.S.’s largest Hispanic-owned food company.
The junior Congresswomen from New York posted, “Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling “how to make your own Adobo.” A reference to adobo seasoning, one of Goya’s popular offerings. Others include a variety of canned and dried beans, hot sauces, cooking oils, and more.
Unanue was visiting the White House for a roundtable discussion along with other Hispanic business and political leaders. The president later signed an executive order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative to “improve access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities.”
As CBS has reported, Unanue’s comments are in line with his history of political donations. According to the Federal Election Commission database for individual contributions, Unanue most recently donated $3,000 to the Republican National Committee and $3,000 to WinRed last year. WinRed is a donation platform endorsed by the RNC and the Trump re-election campaign.
As of this writing, Goya has yet to issue an official statement in response to the backlash.
Header image by Chowhound.