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Ivanka Trump tweets support for Goya Foods amid backlash over CEO's praise of president

NBC News logo NBC News 7/15/2020 Rebecca Shabad and Kristen Welker
Ivanka Trump sitting at a table © Provided by NBC News

WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump tweeted support for Goya Foods on Tuesday after comments from the company's top executive in support of President Donald Trump last week prompted calls to boycott the brand.

“If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” the president’s daughter, who serves as a formal adviser to the president in the White House, tweeted late Tuesday in both English and Spanish along with a photo of her posing with can of black beans.

The tweet in support of the company, however, might have violated federal ethics laws, which say, "An employee's position or title should not be used to coerce; to endorse any product, service or enterprise; or to give the appearance of governmental sanction,” according to the Department of Justice. The DOJ describes such action as a misuse of one’s government position.

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The Office of Government Ethics, an independent executive branch agency, did not immediately return NBC News' request for comment.

Ivanka Trump's tweet comes as critics of the president have been calling for a boycott of Goya after CEO Robert Unanue said last week at a White House event, “We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.”

The president commented on the continuing controversy in a tweet Wednesday morning, saying the company is doing "GREAT" and the "Radical Left smear machine backfired."

In a statement, the White House defended the first daughter's tweet.

“Only the media and the cancel culture movement would criticize Ivanka for showing her personal support for a company that has been unfairly mocked, boycotted and ridiculed for supporting this administration — one that has consistently fought for and delivered for the Hispanic community," White House communications aide Carolina Hurley said. "Ivanka is proud of this strong, Hispanic-owned business with deep roots in the U.S. and has every right to express her personal support.”

Ivanka’s endorsement of Goya on Twitter is reminiscent of comments Kellyanne Conway made in 2017 when she promoted Ivanka’s clothing line in an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff," Conway said. "I own some of it. I fully — I'm going to just, going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online," she added.

The Office of Government Ethics warned at the time that it had “strong reason” to believe that Conway's remarks violated ethics rules.

Ultimately, the White House's own ethics lawyer said that Conway, who serves as counselor to the president, acted “inadvertently” when she promoted Trump’s daughter’s company.


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