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AOC, Julián Castro Lead Calls to Boycott Goya Foods after CEO Praises Trump

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to members of the media while making a stop to greet voters during the Democratic congressional primary election in the Queens, New York, June 23, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The CEO of Goya Foods, which says it’s the country’s largest Hispanic-owned food company, has landed in hot water with Democrats after praising President Trump during a visit to the White House Thursday. 

“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” CEO Robert Unanue said in a Rose Garden speech following a meeting with Trump and other Hispanic business magnates and politicians.

The hashtags #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya began trending on Twitter, with calls to boycott the brand from Democrats and Latino leaders. 

Former secretary of housing and urban development Julián Castro said in a tweet that New Jersey–based Goya has been a “staple of so many Latino households for generations” but accused Unanue of “praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain.”

“Americans should think twice before buying their products. #Goyaway,” he added. 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) tweeted, “Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own Adobo.’” She later shared a friend’s recipe for Adobo seasoning, which is made by Goya and is a well-known Latino ingredient. 

The president’s rhetoric on the 2016 campaign trail and his handling of immigration matters, including his efforts to dismantle the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young immigrants who have been in the U.S. since they were children to stay, have hurt his popularity among some Latinos.

Latino Victory Fund CEO Nathalie Rayes told NBC News that Unanue’s praise of “the most anti-Latino president in the history of our country” is “shameful and appalling.”

“President Trump has disrespected and attacked the Latino community since Day 1,” she said. “We call for a boycott of Goya Foods products and anyone who stands with Donald Trump and against our community.”

The White House roundtable included Trump’s signing of an executive order expanding his “Hispanic Prosperity Initiative,” which is said to include more taxpayer support for charter and private schools and added tax benefits for “Opportunity Zone” development in urban neighborhoods.

Unanue announced at the event that Goya would take part in the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative by donating one million cans of chickpeas and one million pounds of products to food banks nationwide. 

“I am honored to be a part of the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative and to support and celebrate the contributions of the Hispanic community,” Unanue said in a press release. “We are committed to our country and the need to give back because it is the right thing to do.”

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