A growing number of politicians, celebrities and members of the Latino community are calling for a boycott of Goya Foods after its CEO praised President Trump during a White House event Thursday.

Robert Unanue

Robert Unanue, whose company calls itself the largest Hispanic-owned food business in the U.S., was speaking from a Rose Garden podium just feet away from the commander in chief when he began showering him with compliments.

“We’re all truly blessed, at the same time, to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Unanue said during an event announcing the government’s new Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

“And that’s what my grandfather did,” he said. “He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. So, we have an incredible builder and we pray. We pray for our leadership, for our president, and we pray for our country, that we will continue to prosper and to grow.”

Unanue’s grandfather, Don Prudencio Unanue, and his grandfather’s wife, Carolina, were Spanish immigrants who founded Goya in Manhattan in 1936. Their canned foods, seasonings and other products have become popular ingredients of Latin cuisine over the years.

But critics say Unanue’s remarks are out of touch with the reality Latinos have faced in this country since Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists.” They also cited Trump’s family separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president’s attempts to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, among other measures apparently aimed at pushing Latino immigrants out of the U.S.

“We don’t support companies who endorse and comply with a White Supremacist regime,” youth immigrant organization United We Dream wrote on Twitter. “Under capitalism, know the power of the dollar in their eyes. We’re using it to make a statement.”

Hashtags like #Goyaway and #GoyaBoycott also began trending Thursday night, with many high-profile Twitter users joining in.

One of them was former presidential candidate Julián Castro, who described Goya as a “staple” of Latino households for generations.

“Now their CEO, Bob Unanue, is praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain,” he wrote. “Americans should think twice before buying their products. #Goyaway.”

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she would learn how to make some of Goya’s signature products from scratch.

“Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own Adobo,’” she wrote in a tweet featuring video of Unanue’s remarks.

Model and author Chrissy Teigen also weighed in.

“A shame. Don’t care how good the beans taste though. Bye bye,” she tweeted.

Goya has not publicly commented on the controversy.

During Thursday’s event, Unanue announced that Goya would donate more than 200,000 pounds of food to food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens to help those facing financial hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company also plans to give out over 20,000 protective masks across the country.


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