Let them eat ... black beans.

By Sam Reed
Jul 15, 2020 @ 3:44 pm
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Once upon a time, in a land far from achieving unity, liberty, and justice for all, Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself with a can of beans. 

Ivanka is not a princess, though some corners of the country treat her as such (which makes sense, as her rise to power can be called “nepotistic” at best, and “what fresh hell is this” at worst). But her caption may well have been borrowed from another royal of the recent past. It was, in essence, the “let them eat cake” — er, Goya brand beans — of 2020.

Before we get too carried away here, I want to let it be known that I am not comparing Ivanka to Marie Antoinette in any way other than their particularly memorable lines about delicious food groups (yes, as a vegetarian I qualify “cake” and “beans” as distinct food groups in my nutritional pyramid). Although, I’m not not saying that her recent campaign encouraging unemployed Americans to just “find something new" was a little too close to Marie Antoinette’s whole deal. But back to the beans. 

To ensure that no one misconstrued her personal feelings about Goya black beans, Ivanka captioned her photo with the brand's official tagline: "If it's Goya, it has to be good." (Considerately, she also added the Spanish translation!) All of which begs the questions: Why was Ivanka posting a photo with canned legumes in the first place? Why did she assume a pose that might as well have been dreamt up by Don Draper himself to sell dish soap to housewives in the year 1965? Why do the whites of her eyes look like she’s trying to hypnotize me into walking into my local Food Town and stockpiling a cart full of Goya brand salsa verde?  

The answer, obviously, involves Chrissy Teigen. After the CEO of Goya Foods, Robert Unanue, praised the president, saying, “we are truly blessed ... to have a leader like President Trump,” a number of bean buyers and celebrities (and celebrity bean-buyers) began calling for a boycott (a Goycott, if you will) of the Hispanic-owned brand as a simple exercise of their rights as consumers not to give their money to a man who supports our racist president. 

“FUUUUUU-K. A shame. Don’t care how good the beans taste though. Bye bye,” Teigen tweeted, as Teigen is wont to tweet. Thanks to Teigen’s and others’ support, the brand began trending on Twitter. And that’s when the president’s daughter decided to get involved. 

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It’s unclear whether Ivanka’s attempt to brainwash her followers into becoming Goya loyalists is satire in response to public backlash against Unanue, or good ol’, earnest Instagram shilling, but what is clear is that, as a government official, she shouldn’t be advertising anything at all. Per the government ethics code, employees are prohibited from endorsing “any product, service, or enterprise.” That means she should be promoting her family’s Trump hotels, nor her since-paused eponymous fashion and jewelry brand, and certainly not canned black beans. 

Here’s the part where I remind you that this is not the first time that Ivanka has tip-toed the line between “sharing personal stuff on her public platform” and “gross ethical violation.” Early on in her days in the White House, when her fashion brand was still A Thing, she wore a bracelet from her line during an on-camera 60 Minutes interview alongside her dad and siblings. The next day, the press received releases from the brand noting the style she wore, as well as where interested shoppers could purchase the item. 

There’s also a number of allegations against Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, for profiting from their roles within the Trump administration. The couple’s financial disclosure documents show that they made $135 million in 2018, and they were roundly criticized for not completely divesting from their personal and family businesses. These findings make Kushner’s company’s dealings in Israel, where Jared is a White House liaison, all the more suspicious. 

Even Ivanka’s more mundane Instagram posts have managed to be casually flagrant. Take, for example, the time she posted a photo of herself in a luxurious silver gown on the same day that a photo of a young refugee girl wrapped in a metallic heat blanket went viral after Ivanka’s dad banned immigrants and travelers from seven predominately Muslim countries. 

Or when, after children were separated from their parents at the border as a result of the Trump administration’s “no-tolerance” immigration policy, Ivanka posted a photo cuddling her own infant son

As we inch closer to the 2020 election, we will no doubt be seeing more tone-deaf social media posts, more right-wing trolls mocking the left’s fight for human rights for all Americans, and maybe even another canned food controversy. But don’t worry about Ivanka, she’ll be fine. She may have the ire of more than half the country, but she also has … black beans.