Trump tweets support for Goya as boycott pressure builds

The hashtags #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya trended on Twitter after its CEO Robert Unanue commended Trump’s leadership.

Goya beans
Goya is the latest company to experience a backlash after speaking out in support of President Trump's leadership [File: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]

United States President Donald Trump and his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump are rallying support for Goya Foods on Twitter, as social media pressure continues for boycotting the largest Hispanic-owned US food company for its CEO’s effusive praise for Trump.

Early on Wednesday, the Republican president tweeted, without citing evidence, that “Goya Foods is doing GREAT. The Radical Left smear machine backfired, people are buying like crazy!” on his personal feed, which has 83.4 million followers, and the official presidential and White House feeds, with more than 50 million followers combined.

That followed Ivanka’s late Tuesday post on Twitter of the company’s slogan, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” in both Spanish and English.

Ivanka’s tweet, in which she is seen holding a can of Goya’s black beans, garnered more than 35,000 retweets and 62,000 likes in a little more than four hours.

However, her comments could violate government ethics rules that prohibit the use of public office to endorse products or advance personal business gains.

The hashtags #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya trended on Twitter after Robert Unanue, chief executive of the New Jersey-based company, appeared with Trump at the White House last week for the creation of an advisory panel on spurring Hispanic prosperity.

“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder, and that’s what my grandfather did,” said Unanue, the third generation of his family to run the business.

Goya meeting
US President Donald Trump meets with Robert Unanue, CEO of Goya Foods, prior to signing an Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

The comment alienated many Goya consumers, who consider Trump racist against Hispanic people because of his immigration policies, his calling Mexicans “rapists” during his 2016 presidential campaign, and his reportedly calling El Salvador a “shithole country” at a 2018 White House meeting.

Those calling for a boycott of Goya products cited the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families at the US-Mexico border.

Former presidential candidate Julian Castro was among those to take to Twitter, saying Unanue praised someone who villainises Goya’s customer base.

There’s a history of backlash against brands and companies that speak out in support of the Trump administration. 

In 2017, the CEO of Under Armour in a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun walked back his praise of Trump, writing that his choice of words “did not accurately reflect my intent” days after calling the president “an asset to the country”.

Last year, luxury gym Equinox and indoor cycling studio SoulCycle also faced a backlash over a Trump fundraiser.

More recently, those who came to Goya’s defence pointed to its long history of community service.

In March and April, Goya donated more than 136,077 kilogrammes (300,000 pounds) of food, or about 270,000 meals, to food banks and other organisations as part of its pandemic relief effort. 

Source: Reuters