A D.C. resident is calling on renowned chef José Andrés to back out of his deal to open the flagship restaurant at the future Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Trump, a quixotic Republican presidential candidate and real estate mogul, has come under fire for recent incendiary comments on Mexican immigrants, in which he said that “they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”
Macy’s and NBC have severed ties with Trump in response, and now hundreds of petitioners want Andrés to be next.
“To me, José Andrés has been a big role model for the Latino community,” said Erick Sanchez, a 29-year-old D.C. resident and Mexican American who started the Change.org petition calling on Andrés to “Dump Trump.” “Growing up my dad always told me you’re only as good as the company you keep, and I think he would benefit professionally from cutting ties.”
Andrés is a Spanish-born celebrity chef whose company, ThinkFoodGroup, owns restaurants all over the country, including more than a half-dozen in D.C. He became a U.S. citizen in 2013 and, at the time, said, “I need to make sure everybody understands that many immigrants like me — given the right opportunity like I was given — we can have a positive impact in this amazing country.”
Andrés did not respond to a request for comment on the petition, but he tweeted last week that his “views on immigration are clear. All men and women should be treated respectfully regardless of their status.”
The petition has more than 350 signatures. The restaurant, which signed a lease in November to be the hotel’s flagship restaurant, is slated to open when the Trump International opens in mid-2016. The soon-to-be 270-room luxury hotel is undergoing a $200 million renovation.
The restaurant, according to a Trump Hotel Collection spokesperson, is still planning to open.
In a January statement, Trump praised Andrés and the culinary experience his hotel would offer.
“We’ve tapped one of the very best in the field, José Andrés, to create a restaurant concept that will live up to the unrivaled offerings of what will be one of the finest hotels anywhere in the world,” Trump said.