BY LORENZ DUCHAMPS AND JAN JEKIELEK February 28, 2021 Updated: March 1, 2021

Robert Unanue, an U.S. corporate leader who experienced cancel culture firsthand last year, became one of the first business people to stand up against a leftist mob that tried to boycott his products because of his support for former President Donald Trump.

“I’ve come to realize that a lot of what we’re doing is canceling God,” Unanue, an owner at the Hispanic-owned company Goya Foods Inc., told the Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando on Feb. 27.

“We need a reason to get up in the morning. Goya kept working because we’re an essential business. But all businesses are essential,” he said. “You need to be able to get up in the morning for God, family, and work. They want to cancel God, they want to close our churches.

“They want to redefine the family.”

Unanue drew the ire of Trump critics when he, among other Hispanic business and community leaders, visited the White House in July last year on the occasion of Trump signing an executive order that created the White House’s “Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

President Trump Signs White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative
President Donald Trump holds up an executive order he signed on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in Washington on July 9, 2020. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Unanue made sympathetic remarks about Trump that day, comparing the president’s entrepreneurialism to that of his grandfather’s.

Critics of the former president, celebrities, and politicians, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, denounced the brand or called for boycotts of Goya.

“I was there to give away 2 million pounds of food because our company was up and running courageously, all of our people. We never shut down. We had the best year of our life,” Unanue said. The food was donated to food banks nationwide.

During Unanue’s speech, he said the country was “blessed” to have a leader like Trump, recounting how his grandfather started Goya Foods in 1936 after having departed Spain at the age of 18.

Epoch Times Photo
Owner at Goya Foods Robert Unanue (L), Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez (2R) and Lourdes Aguirre (R) listen to President Donald Trump speak before signing an Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative at the White House in Washington, on July 9, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

“I used the word blessed. I said we were blessed as a country,” he said.

Despite many attempts to try to boycott the company, Goya Foods experienced its most successful year in 2020, with Ocasio-Cortez featured in a popular internet meme after being named the company’s “Employee of the Month” late last year.

“I received a meme from someone that had AOC as ’employee of the month’ because she raised our sales 1,000 percent. That wasn’t our number, it was the meme,” Unanue said.

Epoch Times Photo
L-R: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), members of the Democratic Socialists of America, at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing, in Washington on July 12, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Unanue previously criticized the left, saying that their handling of the CCP virus—which causes the disease COVID-19—was done for political gain, calling it “a direct assault on the middle class.”

“The most of those 15 million people in the restaurant business are minority, Hispanic, African American, all ethnicities,” he said. “And so, there’s a direct assault on the middle class, on the working class, a direct assault.”

Unanue called on people to unite and to draw closer to God.

“Some call for the Pledge of Allegiance to say one nation indivisible,” he said. “Now, what do they take out? ‘Under God.’ So we can’t be indivisible or united unless we’re ‘under God.’

“We need to not move away from God. We need to move closer to God.”

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