Goya CEO: 'Destruction and hatred, tearing down businesses' driving Latinos to Trump

Immigrants to the U.S. seek prosperity, and "prosperity is not accomplished if we're going to tear things down, cancel things," Robert Unanue, President and CEO, Goya Foods, told Just the News. "The immigrant community are builders."

Published: August 31, 2020 2:54pm

Updated: September 2, 2020 12:03am

Amid riots, looting and violence in the streets, Goya Foods' CEO says polling showing President Trump's support rising among Latinos is because immigrants arriving in America seeking opportunity don't come to "tear things down, cancel things."

A new Hill-HarrisX poll conducted last week found support for Trump among Hispanic voters growing by 2 points, from 30% in the last poll to 32%. After the 2016 election, The Atlantic noticed exit polls analyzed by the Pew Research Center showed that 28% of Latino voters supported Trump, and that figure had risen to 30% support as of February.

As Domenico Montanaro put it in a June 26 analysis of an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll: "The one group Biden continues to underperform with slightly is Latinos — 59% of Latinos said they'd vote for Biden over Trump, but Clinton won 66% of their votes in 2016."

Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha, a Latino activist and author of the book "Tio Bernie," served as a Bernie 2020 senior advisor. Rocha on Twitter warned his fellow Democrats cynical about the strong Latino voices onstage at the Republican National Convention last week. 

"Democrats, dismiss what your seeing in the Republican convention at your own peril," Rocha wrote. "I have seen and done research with persuadable Latinos voters that confirms what your seeing does cut into the margins. And your woke white consultants aren't going to save us. #thatsmyseat"

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The rise in support for Trump is due to "fatigue over all the destruction and hatred, tearing down businesses, by people — a lot of people that are from outside the community — because if you're within the community, you're building it, you don't want to tear down what you just built," Robert Unanue, President and CEO, Goya Foods, told Just the News in a video interview. "And this is organized. People coming in from the outside to destroy. And so you know, we have two paths to take: Love and build, hate and destroy. We need to take the path of loving and building. And that's why we're looking at prosperity. How do we get our country back on our feet, and prosper in all aspects. So let's love. Let's build."

Unanue sparked a boycott of Goya Foods products in July after he made complimentary remarks about the president at the White House as Trump signed an executive order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Rose Garden. In response to the boycott, however, an anti-boycott "buycott" promoting purchases of Goya products arose on social media, conservative news sites and GoFundMe pages. 

On Monday, the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative Commission held its first meeting, focused on improving education, training, and economic opportunities for Hispanic-American students. The commission is also seeking ways to promote school choice, personalized learning, family engagement, civics education, and pathways to employment.

In July, Unanue said Americans were "blessed" to have a leader in Trump.

"We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder," Unanue said. "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."

After Unanue sparked the boycott of Goya Foods among some liberals on social and traditional media, Trump and his advisers responded with messages of support for Goya, which bills itself as the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States.

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, tweeted out a photo of herself posing with a can of Goya beans that included the company's slogan: "If it's Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno."

Unanue told Just the News that when his family's iconic company was established in 1936, there were "few Latinos," but by 2000, there were 35 million Latinos in America. He said today that number of Latinos has doubled to 70 million. 

The first big group of Latino immigrants coming into this country was from Puerto Rico after World War II, in 1945, arriving to seek economic opportunities, Unanue said, adding that a large wave of Cubans came for political reasons in 1959 after Fidel Castro rose to power, with large numbers of Dominicans arriving in the 1970s.

"All this immigration is either because of political situations or because [of] economic situations," Unanue said. "My grandfather left Spain at 18 years old in 1904 for a new world, where there was better opportunity. Because the Spanish economy, the Italian economy was in trouble. So they were looking for prosperity, again. So the United States has been ... the bastion and has put out the welcome wagon for immigrants all over the world. So they're coming here to seek that prosperity. And that prosperity is not accomplished if we're going to tear things down, cancel things down, destroy. That's just not what the immigrant community wants to do. The immigrant community are builders, and they want to prosper."

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