The CEO of Goya Foods praised President Trump on Thursday — and the backlash from his products’ customer base was swift.
Such prominent Hispanics as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julian Castro, chef Jose Andres and CNN commentator Ana Navaro were quickly calling for boycotts of the multi-food label that specializes in Latin American cuisine and staples.
Robert Unanue, chief executive of the family-run company, attended a White House roundtable with Hispanic business and political leaders Thursday afternoon.
“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Mr. Unanue said in a Rose Garden speech afterward.
By Thursday evening, “Goya” was the No. 1 U.S. trending topic on Twitter and the hashtag “#Goyaway” was making its mark.
“Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own Adobo,’” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet Thursday evening.
Mr. Castro lamented 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. Americans should think twice before buying their products. #Goyaway.”
Ms. Navarro defended whatever backlash and business losses came as just and necessary.
“When the vast majority of your customers are Latinos, you might expect a backlash from serving as a prop for a guy who puts brown children in cages, calls countries like El Salvador, ‘s—holes’, denies Puerto Rican deaths and calls Mexicans, ‘rapists and criminals’. That’s all,” she wrote.
Mr. Andres noted a similar litany of criticisms of Mr. Trump and concluded “We are blessed? I think Latinos we are being mistreated.”
Juan Escalante, an illegal immigrant and amnesty activist, said Goya need not bother to apologize unless it pays a form of reparations to illegal immigrants.
“No apology from @GoyaFoods will be sufficient to erase today’s comments. If GOYA cares about the Hispanic/Latinx community (AND REALLY WANTS TO APOLOGIZE) then they better start by sending food to asylum seekers at the border and feed EVERY SINGLE immigrant Trump has detained,” he wrote.
“Put your money where your mouth is @GoyaFoods or don’t apologize at all,” he continued, before returning to all-caps mode. “Its really that simple.”
As of 11:45 p.m. Thursday, the official Goya Foods account had made no acknowledgement of the online fracas, in which @GoyaFoods was frequently tagged.