(Headline USA) Ivanka Trump on Wednesday defended tweeting a photo of herself holding up a can of Goya beans to buck up a Hispanic-owned business that she says has been unfairly treated, arguing that she has “every right” to publicly express her support.
Government watchdogs countered that President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser doesn’t have the right to violate ethics rules that bar government officials from using their public office to endorse specific products or groups.
These groups contend Ivanka Trump’s action also highlights broader concerns about how the president and those around him often blur the line between politics and governing. The White House would be responsible for disciplining Ivanka Trump for any ethics violation but chose not to in a similar case involving White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in 2017.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters accompanying the president to Atlanta on Wednesday that he doubted Ivanka Trump would face any repercussions.
Goya became the target of a boycott by leftists, mainly on Twitter, after CEO Robert Unanue praised the president at a Hispanic event at the White House last Thursday.
Trump tweeted the next day about his “love” for Goya, and his daughter followed up late Tuesday by tweeting the 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 — an issue that was not addressed in a White House response statement that blamed the news media and the culture of boycotting certain views.
“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 in an emailed statement.
“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,” Hurley said.
Ivanka Trump sent the tweet from a personal Twitter account that does double duty chronicling her work on various White House initiatives.
Trump himself 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.
Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said on Twitter that the tweets and photos amounted to “an official campaign by the Trump administration to support Goya, making it all the more clear that Ivanka’s tweet was a violation of the misuse of position regulations.”
Shaub left government in 2017 after clashing with the Trump administration over ethics rules.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the rules are clear.
“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.”
Meadows defended Ivanka Trump.
“I don’t know from my standpoint I see this as a huge promotion of Goya Foods as much as it is expressing appreciation for someone who is willing to show great political courage,” the White House chief of staff said.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.