Update, July 16, 2020: Bean there, dumb that. President Trump, never one to pass up an opportunity to fan the flames, posted his own message of Goya support on Instagram: an uncaptioned photo featuring a random assemblage of Goya products on the Resolute Desk, with Donald giving a sinister-looking two thumbs up behind them. There is no caption under this photo because, of course, we already know what this is meant to convey, and whom it is meant to disparage. And yes, this violates the same ethics laws that his daughter’s tweet flouted the day before.
Original post, July 15, 2020: We’re about to tell you how beans have led to an ethical violation by the senior advisor to the president of the United States. But first, we need to tell you about the man behind the beans.
On July 9, Robert Unanue, CEO of Goya Foods, met with Donald Trump in D.C. as part of the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, intended to expand educational and economic opportunity for Hispanic Americans. (ABC News points out it is also an effort to court Latinx supporters in an election year.) At their public meeting, Unanue lauded the president, saying,
We are all truly blessed... to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder. And that’s what my grandfather did: he came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. And so we have an incredible builder, and we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country, that we will continue to prosper and to grow.
Unanue’s comments were seen by many as an affront to Goya’s Latinx customer base, considering Trump’s abysmal record on immigration and his general disdain for (and outright hostility toward) Latinx issues. A boycott was soon called, with #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway trending on Twitter and prominent public figures like Julian Castro advising Americans to “think twice” about purchasing Goya products.
But what’s a backlash without a backlash to the backlash? This is where Ivanka Trump comes in. You might think that someone with the role of advising a world leader would, perhaps, be too busy to use social media for the express purpose of punching down, but Ivanka is a remarkable multitasker. Last night, she tweeted a picture of herself holding up a can of Goya black beans, striking a Vanna White–esque pose and quoting the company’s tagline, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good.”
The thing about this tweet is that it’s not just a Bat-Signal for the world’s most petty people to continue crusading against consumers who choose not to support a certain canned goods brand. Nor is it merely a fascinating glimpse into the life of someone who dedicates their Tuesday night to tracking down a can of beans in order to take a stand against anyone who doesn’t love their dad. It is, as New York magazine points out, a violation of ethical standards for employees of the executive branch, who are prohibited from using their public office “for the endorsement of any product.”
Whether Ivanka will face any repercussions as a result of this ethics violation, however, remains to be seen. Other members of the Trump administration have violated these standards in the past, such as when Kellyanne Conway encouraged Fox and Friends viewers to purchase items from Ivanka’s clothing line. In that instance, Conway was “counseled” internally. It’s likely that Ivanka’s punishment won’t amount to a hill of beans.