Goya Foods CEO Not Backing Down After His Positive White House Comments Sparked Controversy
Goya Foods is facing backlash after its CEO, Robert Unanue, said the United States is blessed to have President Donald Trump as its leader, praising him for his ability to rebuild the economy, at the White House Thursday.
Unanue, CEO of the nation’s second-largest Hispanic-owned food company, was among many other Hispanic politicians and business leaders as part of a commission called the White Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. The president called on them to weigh in on ways he could help provide economic and educational opportunities for prosperity among Hispanics.
Despite Unanue’s altruistic role, however, Goya Foods is now fending off social media attacks and calls to boycott the company entirely.
“We’re all truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” Unanue said. “And that’s what my grandfather did. He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. And so we have an incredible builder. And we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country, that we will continue to prosper and to grow.”
Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue: “We’re all truly blessed… to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder.” pic.twitter.com/2VdG4qAnpK
— The Hill (@thehill) July 9, 2020
Shortly following the speech, Twitter users were demanding the boycott of Goya Foods for such a stance. Hashtags #BoycottGoya and #GoyaFoods began trending soon after. Legislators piled on their support for the boycott, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who joined in on mocking the company.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro tweeted that the Latino foods company now has no place in American households, claiming that Unanue praised a president who “villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for personal gain.”
United Farm Workers created a Twitter thread where they spread their “statement on Goya.” The thread contained a video featuring Latino farm workers over the audio of comments President Trump made speaking out against illegal immigration in 2015, as well as a voter registration link.
United We Dream also created an official petition to boycott Goya Foods, saying that Goya’s words aligned with the president’s “white supremacist agenda.”
The same day, as Unanue and the rest of the commission met on Thursday, Trump signed an expansion of the “Hispanic Prosperity Initiative” to improve access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities. The order allocates more funds for charter and private schools as well as other economic initiatives.
“The success of Hispanic Americans is integral to the economic future of our country,” read a statement from the White House. “Today, Americans have more paths to prosperity than any previous generation, and it is necessary to ensure that Hispanic Americans have every opportunity to access these pathways and to fulfill their educational and economic aspirations.”
Unanue told “Fox & Friends” Friday morning that he is not backing down amid the hypocritical attacks on him and his company. He said he refuses to apologize for his positive remarks and will accept any future invitations to the White House.
Allison Schuster is an intern at The Federalist and is also a rising senior at Hillsdale College working toward a degree in politics and journalism. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonShoeStor.