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Goya faces boycott threats over CEO’s praise for Trump

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  • Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said on Thursday that the US is “truly blessed” to have President Trump as a leader. 
  • Unanue’s comments sparked backlash from the left, with many vowing to boycott the Hispanic-owned company, which was founded by Unanue’s grandparents. 
  • Trump supporters rallied to support Goya Foods, pledging to buy more from the food company.
  • Unanue said in an interview with Fox News that the boycott threats were a “suppression of speech.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Goya Foods is facing boycott threats after its chief executive said the country is “truly blessed” to have President Trump as a leader.

On Thursday, CEO Robert Unanue praised the president at a White House event intended to celebrate a new initiative to “improve Hispanic Americans’ access to educational and economic opportunities.”

“We are all truly blessed, at the same time, to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Unanue said. 

The CEO’s comments were swiftly met with backlash and boycott threats on social media. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former presidential candidate Julián Castro were among Unanue’s critics online. 

 

Castro tweeted that Goya Foods “has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations.”

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

Goya describes itself as the “largest, Hispanic-owned food company in the United States.” The company was founded by Unanue’s grandparents, Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina — Spanish immigrants who immigrated to Puerto Rico and then New York — in 1936. 

Anti-Trump backlash against Goya was followed with a wave of support for Goya from the right.

Gov. Mike Huckabee promised to “buy massive amounts of Goya beans” on Friday morning. Joseph Flynn — brother of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — tweeted: “Me and my Puerto Rican wife LOVE #Goya and will double down on our purchase of all their amazing food products.” 

Goya Foods did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

Unanue responded to criticism in an interview on Fox News on Friday morning, emphasizing the role of Hispanic people in the American economy. In the interview, Unanue said that the boycott threats were a “suppression of speech,” noting that he worked with President Obama during his time in the White House.

“If you’re called by the president of the United States, you’re going to say, ‘Sorry I’m busy, no thank you?’ I didn’t say that to the Obamas and I didn’t say that to President Trump,” Unanue said. 

Unanue also said that the election of presidential candidate Joe Biden could create roadblocks, causing problems for Goya Foods’ business. The CEO donated $3,000 to the Republican National Committee in August 2019, according to federal campaign finance records.

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