On Wednesday, as multiple states see COVID-19 cases surging, Donald Trump decided to awkwardly pose with an assortment of Goya Foods products in the Oval Office and post the resulting image onto his Instagram account.
A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:02am PDT
“You tell me how a president in the middle of a pandemic has time for this BULLSHIT!!?!? Are you kidding me. “ - Chris Cuomo— Hasan Kwame Jeffries (@ProfJeffries) July 16, 2020
Yep. All of us. https://t.co/VQRWpxNgGZ
Trump's photo shoot, which featured appearances from coconut milk, adobo seasoning, chocolate wafers, and red kidney beans all lined up on the Resolute desk, comes on the heels of Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, praising the reality television star. "We're all truly blessed—at the same time—to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder," the CEO said last week. "And that's what my grandfather did. He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper."
Shortly after he made the comments in support of Trump, people took to social media to call for, and say they will participate in, a boycott against the company.
Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies have fueled hate crimes, separated families, put children in cages.— Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (@CDRosa) July 9, 2020
Yet the CEO of @GoyaFoods - who depends on immigrant communities - says "we're truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump"!? #BoycottGoya #BoycottGoyaFoods
CEO of Goya Foods, Robert Unanue: "We're all truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump"— MGinFlorida (@margaretccfl) July 9, 2020
He says this while Latinx children and families are in concentration camps. Never buying their products again.#BoycottGoya
In response to the boycott, right-wingers, including Trump's daughter Ivanka, have showed their support for the company. The businesswoman and Senior Advisor to the President also posed with a Goya product, deciding on a can of black beans. Many have pointed out that Ivanka may have violated federal ethics laws.
If it’s Goya, it has to be good.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z
Ivanka Trump tweets support for Goya Foods in a move that may have violated federal ethics laws. https://t.co/bkjkQzoBZQ— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 15, 2020
"Executive branch employees may not use their Government positions to suggest that the agency or any part of the executive branch endorses an organization (including a nonprofit organization), product, service, or person," guidelines from the United States Office of Government Ethics states.
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said that the photos were in fact an ethics violation.
"If you tout the company's product in an obvious response to the backlash the company is facing for the CEO's remarks about your father-president, you knowingly link your account in people's minds to your official activities; you create the appearance of official sanction," Shaub said.
For this reason, Ms. Trump's Goya tweet is clearly a violation of the government's misuse of position regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702. Ms. Trump has had ethics training. She knows better. But she did it anyway because no one in this administration cares about government ethics./6— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020
Despite the violation, it's unlikely anything will happen as a complaint would end up at the White House to be reviewed by Trump and the chief of staff, CNN reports.