WASHINGTON (News Nation/AP) — Ivanka Trump on Wednesday defended tweeting a photo of herself holding up a can of Goya beans in support of the Hispanic-owned business after government watchdog groups called the tweet unethical. Trump responded that Goya has been unfairly treated, and she has “every right” to publicly express her support.
Spokespeople for groups including Public Citizen and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser does not have the right to violate rules that prohibit government officials from using their public office to endorse specific products or groups.
Ivanka Trump sent the tweet from her personal Twitter account, which she also uses to use share her work on various White House initiatives.
Goya became the target of a consumer boycott after CEO Robert Unanue praised the president at a Hispanic event at the White House last Thursday.
“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder, and that’s what my grandfather did,” said Unanue, the third generation of his family to run the business.
The next day, Trump tweeted about his “love” for Goya, and his daughter followed up late Tuesday by tweeting a photo of herself holding a can of Goya black beans with a caption that read, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” in English and Spanish.
Almost immediately, government watchdogs and social media commentators accused Ivanka Trump of violating ethics rules, including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“The ethics rules for executive branch employees say that you can’t use your official position to promote a private business,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of CREW. “It’s pretty clear that the context in which this came out is that Goya had been supportive of the Trump administration and the Trump administration was being supportive of Goya.”
The White House responded with an emailed statement.
“Only the media and the cancel culture movement would criticize Ivanka for showing her personal support for a company that has been unfairly mocked, boycotted and ridiculed for supporting this administration — one that has consistently fought for and delivered for the Hispanic community,” White House spokesperson Carolina Hurley said. “Ivanka is proud of this strong, Hispanic-owned business with deep roots in the U.S. and has every right to express her personal support.”
The president appeared to back up his daughter Wednesday by posting a photo on his Instagram account showing him in the Oval Office in front of various Goya products arrayed on his desk. As president, Trump is exempt from many of the rules that federal workers must follow.
News Nation reached out to Goya for comment; we have not heard back as of publication time.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report