“We are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” Unanue said during the Rose Garden speech. “We have an incredible builder, and we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president.”
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 White House appearance.
Unanue was invited to the White House as part of President Trump’s Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, an executive order aimed at improving Hispanic Americans’ access to educational and economic opportunities.
In his brief remarks, Unanue announced Goya would donate 1 million cans of Goya chickpeas and 1 million other food products to American food banks. He said the company wanted to help families hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are very proud to give back to this nation, to the food banks which are going to be needing some of that important food,” he said.
A Goya spokesman said the purpose of Unanue’s White House appearance was to announce the donation and support Trump’s initiative. Goya did not comment on the boycott calls.
Goya was founded in 1936 by Unanue’s grandfather, who immigrated from Spain. It remains a privately held, family-owned business.