Goya CEO Robert Unanue said that he won’t apologize for praising President Donald Trump despite calls to boycott from left-wing politicians and celebrities.
The boycott call is "oppression of speech … you’re allowed to talk good or to praise to one president but you’re not—when I was called to be part of this commission to aid in economic and educational prosperity and you make a positive comment, all the sudden that’s not acceptable," Unanue told
Fox News on Friday. "I’m not apologizing for saying. If you’re called by the President of the United States, you’re going to say, ‘No I’m 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 previously worked with former first lady Michelle Obama to help include Goya in nutritional guidance to some communities.
On Thursday, Unanue said at a White House event that "we are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump.”
Unanue was speaking before the president signed an executive order that establishes an initiative in the Department of Education aimed at improving opportunities for Latinos. It also creates an advisory commission, of which Unanue belongs.
John Sanchez, the former Republican lieutenant governor of New Mexico, was named to head the initiative. At the same event, he said
that because of his family and his mother, "We have lived the American Dream."
The hashtags #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway started trending on Twitter on Thursday evening.
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," Julian Castro, a former Democratic presidential candidate, wrote
on the social media website.
"Americans should think twice before buying their products," he added.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also pilloried the move on Twitter
A number of celebrities chimed in and made similar remarks to boycott.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway responded to the criticism and backlash on Friday morning, telling Fox News that "it's a shame that people see politics in every single thing."
Goya recently donated thousands of pounds of food to families in Harlem and in the Bronx, who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according
to local news outlets.