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Goya CEO on the battle to overcome the 'war against the working class'

After facing backlash from the Latino community due to his support of Donald Trump, Goya's Robert Unanue spotlights what unites them and overcoming a company boycott.

After wearing his religious and political beliefs on his sleeve, Goya CEO Robert Unanue reflected on the cancel-culture controversy he and the company once found themselves in – and the lessons he’s learned since.

"You make plans and God laughs," Unanue said on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" Wednesday.

"But what unites the Latino community are the values of God, family and work," the CEO continued. "And so by invoking God, it didn't turn off the Latino community, which is our main consumer – although that has grown – but it did upset a lot of the people who would rather hate and destroy [and] divide, which is happening to our country."

In July of 2020, Unanue visited the Trump White House for the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. During a speech at the event, Unanue publicly praised the president and expressed his blessings for Trump, calling him "a builder."


"We wanted to make a gift to the nation, through the chief executive, of a couple of million pounds of food that turned into 4.5 million pounds," Unanue explained to FOX Business host Neil Cavuto. "So we went to the White House. The Holy Spirit put the word 'blessed' on my lips."

Criticism erupted from liberal figures, who largely called for a boycott of Goya products and claimed that Unanue’s support for Trump was offensive to the Latino community.

Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., for example, tweeted out her disapproval, saying she would find alternatives to one of Goya’s signature seasonings.

Even renowned Chef José Andres chimed in on social media, accusing Trump of leaving Latinos and many Americans hungry and neglecting Hispanics amid the pandemic.

"We were attacked by invoking God, and I didn't have any control over what would happen to me and the company," Unanue reflected. "It was God sent."

But a boycott transformed into a "buycott," as Goya actually saw sales surge to "fantastic" and "historic" levels following the 2020 controversy, according to the CEO.

"And thank God," he said, "because this COVID thing just really killed our spirit. It put businesses out of work, restaurants, and it was a war against the working class."

The blessing in disguise reminded Unanue of the power that food has to bring people together.

"We need to love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to unite, love, divide, unite and build," Unanue said, "and I was mentioning that to the president."

While he didn’t clarify which GOP candidate he’ll be backing in the 2024 election, Unanue pointed out that Republicans have a unique opportunity to attract middle-ground Latino voters.


"There's a lot of Latinos who feel the Democrat Party has abandoned them in their values. And the values are the things that are going to carry this election. And we need to get back to those values, or we're done," the CEO said.

"There's 30% of Latinos that feel that Democrats speak to them, 11% the Republican [Party], but there's 37% that feel nobody does," he added. "If the Republicans can convince 37% [of] Latinos, that they share the same values, then that can be done."


FOX Business’ Sumner Park contributed to this report.

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