As Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue stood beside President Trump in the Rose Garden Thursday afternoon, the head of a corporation that bills itself as America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company remembered his grandfather. The Spanish immigrant and Trump have something in common, Unanue said.
“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,” the executive said. “He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. And so we have an incredible builder, and we pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country that we will continue to prosper and to grow.”
But what were intended to be celebratory comments marking Trump’s signing of an executive order that pledges to improve Hispanic Americans’ access to educational and economic opportunities instead fueled a firestorm of backlash targeting Unanue and Goya that culminated in widespread calls to boycott the popular brand.
As clips of Unanue’s remarks circulated on social media Thursday, Latinos and longtime supporters of Goya’s food slammed the CEO’s commendation of Trump, citing the president’s incendiary rhetoric and controversial policies aimed at minority communities and immigrants. By early Friday, “Goya” was still a top trending term on Twitter along with the hashtags #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya as a number of public figures, and Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and former presidential candidate Julián Castro, criticized Unanue — a third-generation Spanish American — for praising Trump.
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