Ivanka Trump Tweets Photo Boosting Goya Products, Potentially Violating Ethics Rules

Ivanka Trump, senior advisor to the president of the United States and daughter of President Donald Trump, looks on during a plenary session of the Doha Forum in the Qatari capital on December 14, 2019. (Photo by MUS... Ivanka Trump, senior advisor to the president of the United States and daughter of President Donald Trump, looks on during a plenary session of the Doha Forum in the Qatari capital on December 14, 2019. (Photo by MUSTAFA ABUMUNES/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 15, 2020 9:42 a.m.

Ivanka Trump is in hot water over a photo she tweeted of herself holding up a can of Goya beans on Tuesday night, which could violates ethics rules banning the use of public office to endorse products.

The tweet from the president’s daughter includes Goya’s slogan, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” in both English and in Spanish. She also posted the image to her Facebook and Instagram pages.

Her father appeared to support the post, tweeting hours later on Wednesday, that the “Radical Left smear machine backfired” and that people were “buying Goya like crazy!”

The social media posts supporting Goya come days after Goya CEO Robert Unanue praised Trump during an event at the White House last week.

“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Unanue said.

The comments have not fared well among many Latino voters, many of whom have seen the company as stocking grocery shelves with the staples of Latin American cuisine, but who have not supported the president. The latest New York Times/Siena College poll reveals that Hispanic people favor former Vice President Joe Biden over Trump in the race for president by a 36 percentage-point margin.

Unanue’s remarks prompted calls for a boycott of Goya. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro acknowledged Goya’s “staple” status in Latino households, but he encouraged people to reconsider buying Goya after Unanue’s gushing praise of the president. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) led a similar charge.

In response, Unanue said he was “not apologizing” and called the #BoycottGoya campaign an attempt at “suppression of speech.”

As an adviser to the president, Ivanka Trump’s post to her 9.1 million Twitter followers on Wednesday could be a violation of government ethics rules which prohibit the use of public office to endorse products or advance personal business gains.

In its section on the misuse of a position, the Justice Department condemns the use of “public office for his own private gain or for that of persons or organizations with which he is associated personally,” adding that employees should not use their position to “endorse any product, service or enterprise; or to give the appearance of governmental sanction.

Trump has campaigned on the alienation of immigrants from Latin America, calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and accusing them of bringing drugs into the United States. He has also rallied against an Obama-era program intended to protect people brought into the United States illegally as children. Trump has also spent much of his term as president trying to build a wall along the southern U.S. border while establishing a policy that separated children from parents at the border.

In 2017, Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to Trump, was investigated for the misuse of her position when she encouraged Americans to buy Ivanka Trump branded products after they were dropped from Nordstrom stores. Conway was later cleared of wrongdoing when deputy counsel to the president on compliance and ethics Stefan Passantino said she had “acted inadvertently” and “without nefarious motive.”

In an interview with Fox News last week, Conway weighed in on the Goya boycott, saying, “It’s just a shame that people make everything so politicized, including food.”

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