In yet another bizarre moment for politics, President Donald Trump has possibly violated ethics rules after he posted a photo of himself in the oval office with an assortment of Goya food products.
Last week, Goya Foods’ CEO, Robert Unanue, made headlines when he announced that “We’re all truly blessed... to have a leader like President Trump” during an executive order signing ceremony at the White House.
That led many people to call for a Goya boycott because of Unanue's apparent endorsement. Unanue, whose family members are originally from Spain and Puerto Rico, faced criticism for supporting someone who leads an administration that has been tearing apart immigrant families at the border and perpetuating dangerous stereotypes.
That boycott led Ivanka Trump, an advisor to the president, to post a picture holding a can of Goya black beans.
"If it's Goya, it has to be good," she wrote in a caption alongside the image. The caption was also translated into Spanish.
The move led some journalists to accuse Ivanka Trump of violating ethics rules.
"I'm so old I remember when a White House staffer violating the ethics rule against promoting private companies would be a big deal," posted Vox reporter Aaron Rupar.
That doesn't seem be phasing the Trump family, however. Amid the accusations, President Donald Trump doubled down by posting a photo of himself in the Oval Office alongside a number of Goya products.
President Trump did not post a caption alongside his image.
President Trump also tweeted that "Goya Foods is doing GREAT. The Radical Left smear machine backfired, people are buying like crazy!"
In a series of tweets, Walter Shaub, former director of the US Office of Government Ethics, said that Ivanka's post was "clearly a violation of the government's misuse of position regulation."
"Ms. Trump's Goya tweet is clearly a violation of the government's misuse of position regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702. Ms. Trump has had ethics training," Shaub explained. "She knows better. But she did it anyway because no one in this administration cares about government ethics."
it's a bad idea to include your title in the bio because that's a factor weighing in favor of finding a violation occurred. If, as Ivanka Trump does, you use an otherwise personal social media account to tout official activities of the administration, that's another factor. /2— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020
If you tout the company's product in an obvious response to the backlash the company is facing for the CEO's remarks about your father-president, you knowingly link your account in people's minds to your official activities; you create the appearance of official sanction. /4— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020
For this reason, Ms. Trump's Goya tweet is clearly a violation of the government's misuse of position regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702. Ms. Trump has had ethics training. She knows better. But she did it anyway because no one in this administration cares about government ethics./6— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020
There's a particularly unseemly aspect to this violation: it creates the appearance that the government's endorsement is for sale. Endorse the president and the administration will endorse your product. /8— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020