Democratic senators call for ethics review into Ivanka Trump’s Goya tweet
A pair of Democratic senators are calling for a review into whether Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump and a senior White House adviser, violated federal ethics rules by tweeting her support for the Goya Foods brand.
In a letter sent to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics on Monday, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) voiced concerns that the tweet represented a breach of federal rules barring public officials from using their position to endorse any private product, according to a copy obtained by The Hill. Politico first reported on the letter.
Warren and Carper called for the agency to provide answers on whether the tweet served as a misuse of Ivanka Trump’s position and what disciplinary actions could be enforced in response.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics declined to comment.
The senators’ request came less than a week after Ivanka Trump sparked an uproar by sharing a photo of herself on Twitter holding a Goya Foods beans can. The caption of the tweet included the company’s trademark slogan, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” in both English and Spanish.
The post appeared to be a show of support for Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue, who faced backlash earlier this month after praising the president at a White House event. The tweet, however, quickly prompted accusations that she was using her official position to endorse a private product.
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said in a series of tweets that Ivanka Trump’s post appeared to be an ethics violation because she disclosed her official title on her Twitter account. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) last Friday filed a complaint alleging that Ivanka Trump violated the Standards of Conduct, a policy prohibiting White House employees from using their government position to endorse a product, service or enterprise.
The complaint requested that the Office of Government Ethics launch a probe into whether disciplinary action was warranted.
In their letter, Warren and Carper zeroed in on the timing of the tweet, noting that it was promoted just five days after Unanue praised the president.
“The timing of her remarks creates the appearance, at least, that praise for Trump Administration officials may elicit later endorsements from these same officials,” the two wrote.
“The law couldn’t be more clear: federal employees cannot use their office to endorse any product, service, or enterprise,” Carper added in a tweet on Tuesday. “Ivanka Trump, who serves as the President’s senior advisor, is not exempt from that law.”
The law couldn’t be more clear: federal employees cannot use their office to endorse any product, service, or enterprise. Ivanka Trump, who serves as the President’s senior advisor, is not exempt from that law.
@ewarren and I want answers on her recent tweet. Read our letter https://t.co/cdg64t8Llp
— Senator Tom Carper (@SenatorCarper) July 21, 2020
The White House has strongly pushed back against the scrutiny that Ivanka Trump’s Goya Foods post attracted. President Trump just a day later shared a photo on Instagram of him in the Oval Office with several Goya Foods products placed in front of him.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called CREW’s complaint “another politically-motivated, baseless attack from an organization with a vendetta against all of the administration.”
White House specialty media director Carolina Hurley also said in a statement last week that “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.”