In reaction to real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants, a number of hospitality companies have severed ties with the Trump Hotel Collection. Celebrity chefs José Andrés and Geoffrey Zakarian both backed out of deals to open restaurants in the forthcoming Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office. Spanish-born Andrés, who became an American citizen in 2013, was to open the luxury hotel’s flagship restaurant, while Zakarian, an Armenian-American, was to open a branch of the National, his modern bistro in Midtown Manhattan.
“Donald Trump’s recent statements disparaging immigrants make it impossible for my company and I to move forward with opening a successful Spanish restaurant in Trump International’s upcoming hotel in Washington, D.C.,” Andrés said in a statement. “More than half of my team is Hispanic, as are many of our guests. And, as a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.”
In a written statement, Zakarian said, “the recent statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values.”
Philadelphia-based Apple Leisure Group, a large wholesaler of travel to Mexico, has also taken action by removing all Trump hotels from its portfolio. The hospitality company, which includes Apple Vacations and Travel Impressions, has more than $3 billion in annual sales. Through its subsidiary AMResorts, the company has 23 luxury all-inclusive resorts throughout Mexico, with four more scheduled to open by the end of 2016. Apple Leisure Group’s workforce includes more than 15,000 Mexican employees.
“As we are responsible for more tourism arrivals to Mexico than any other company worldwide, and we have heard in clear terms from our customers and agents about the remarks of Mr. Trump, we feel it would be irresponsible and insensitive to continue selling Trump-branded hotels,” wrote Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group. “While we respect individuals’ right to free speech, we cannot condone or support Mr. Trump’s portrayal of Mexicans, who are a vibrant, hard-working people.”
In a speech on June 16, Trump said some Mexican immigrants bring drugs and crime to the United States, and some are rapists.
Companies in other industries that have dropped business relationships with Trump include Macy’s, ESPN, NASCAR, and NBC.
Caption: Trump family members break ground at the Trump International hotel Washington, D.C., during a ceremony at the Old Post Office in July 2014.