(CBS News) — Goya, which claims to be the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S., is facing a backlash after CEO Robert Unanue praised Donald Trump during a Thursday event at the White House. “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” Unanue said.
Unanue, who is of Spanish descent, was one of a handful of Hispanic supporters on hand as the president signed an expansion of the “Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.” The executive order is meant to “improve access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities,” according to a White House press release.
Calls to #BoycottGoya quickly spread on social media, with hashtags including #Goyaway also trending. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro tweeted his disapproval of the company, urging consumers to “think twice before buying their products.”
A Twitter account for United Farm Workers issued a statement in response to Unanue’s statements featuring audio from Mr., in which he claimed many Mexicans immigrating to the United States were criminals and rapists.
Immigrant advocacy group United We Dream created a petition to boycott Goya, calling Unanue’s comments “unacceptable.”
Goya has yet to issue a response to the backlash.
Unanue’s comments are in line with his history of political donations. According to the Federal Election Commission database for individual contributions, Unanue most recently donated $3,000 to the Republican National Committee and $3,000 to WinRed last year. WinRed is a donation platform endorsed by the RNC and the Trump re-election campaign.