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Goya faces calls for boycott after CEO praises Trump

CBS News logo CBS News 7/10/2020 CBS News
Donald Trump et al. sitting at a table in a room: US-POLITICS-MINORITIES © JIM WATSON US-POLITICS-MINORITIES a group of people sitting at a table in a room: President of Goya Foods Robert Unanue (L), Florida Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez (2R) and Lourdes Aguirre (R) listen to US President Donald Trump speak before signing an Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative at the White House, July 9, 2020. / Credit: JIM WATSON © Provided by CBS News President of Goya Foods Robert Unanue (L), Florida Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez (2R) and Lourdes Aguirre (R) listen to US President Donald Trump speak before signing an Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative at the White House, July 9, 2020. / Credit: JIM WATSON

Goya, which claims to be the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S., is facing a backlash after CEO Robert Unanue praised Donald Trump during a Thursday event at the White House. "We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder," Unanue said.

Unanue, who is of Spanish descent, was one of a handful of Hispanic supporters on hand as the president signed an expansion of the "Hispanic Prosperity Initiative." The executive order is meant to "improve access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities," according to a White House press release.

Calls to #BoycottGoya quickly spread on social media, with hashtags including #Goyaway also trending. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro tweeted his disapproval of the company, urging consumers to "think twice before buying their products."

A Twitter account for United Farm Workers issued a statement in response to Unanue's statements featuring audio from Mr. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign announcement, in which he claimed many Mexicans immigrating to the United States were criminals and rapists.

Immigrant advocacy group United We Dream created a petition to boycott Goya, calling Unanue's comments "unacceptable." 

Goya has yet to issue a response to the backlash. 

Unanue's comments are in line with his history of political donations. According to the Federal Election Commission database for individual contributions, Unanue most recently donated $3,000 to the Republican National Committee and $3,000 to WinRed last year. WinRed is a donation platform endorsed by the RNC and the Trump re-election campaign.

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