Critics are charging that senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump likely violated ethics rules with a Tuesday night tweet promoting Goya beans, the latest example of administration officials using their positions to boost private companies friendly to the president.
"White House advisor Ivanka Trump promoting Goya seems like it could raise potential ethics issues," tweeted Open Secrets researcher Anna Massoglia, "since executive branch employees other than the president are prohibited from using public office 'for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise.'"
Senior advisor to the President endorsing a product - using the company’s own advertising line. Ethics rules do not allow it - and pretty much unimaginable in previous administrations. https://t.co/j3GjFfS1Em
— Chris Jansing (@ChrisJansing) July 15, 2020
Trump posted to Twitter Tuesday night a photo of herself displaying a can of the beans with the company's tagline, "If it's Goya, it has to be good," in both English and Spanish. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired back with a tweet declaring "Si es Trump, tiene que ser corrupto," or, "If it's Trump, it has to be corrupt."
Trump's Goya tweet was the latest salvo in a controversy around the company that began on July 9 when CEO Robert Unanue said the U.S. was "truly blessed" to have Donald Trump as president, leading critics of the White House to call for a boycott of the brand. Despite those calls, no major movement against the company has materialized.
As a number of critics noted, Ivanka Trump is not the first administration official to run into ethics rules for social media posts promoting private companies.
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According to HuffPost:
The Trump administration has run afoul of the code before, including in 2017 when counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway urged Americans to buy Ivanka Trump-branded products. Conway did not face any known disciplinary action, which drew a rebuke from the Office of Government Ethics.
Walter Shaub, then director of the office, wrote: "Disciplinary action serves to deter future misconduct. Not taking disciplinary action against a senior official under such circumstances risks undermining the ethics program."
NBC News reporter David Gura pointed out that Trump's tweet also served to show just how out of touch the White House is with regular Americans.
"FWIW, this outfit costs about £5,000), or $6,000, or 3,174 cans of Goya black beans,"" tweeted Gura.