For 20 years, I’ve owned and managed a 27-room boutique hotel, the Adam’s Inn, named after our Washington neighborhood of Adams Morgan. In March — usually the start of our busy season — the coronavirus pandemic hit, and business went off a cliff. I was forced to lay off two-thirds of my staff; my remaining five staff members chose to work significantly reduced hours rather than go on unemployment.

We stayed open, hoping that business would turn around. It did not. Our revenue for the year 2020 was down by 80 percent; for nine weeks in the spring, only one room was occupied. Federal loans helped us stay afloat through July, but since then I only went deeper in the red.

We were banking on January: No matter who won, presidential inaugurations are by far our most lucrative events, and this one might be our only revenue opportunity for some time. Soon after Election Day, people started booking rooms for the week of Jan. 20 — all Democrats, we assumed. Then, over the next few weeks, rooms started filling up on an unexpected date: the middle of the first week of January. I realized that people were coming to town for President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally.

I’m a lifelong Democrat. Although they’re apathetic to politics in general, and often say there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans, all my staff oppose Trump. Most are people of color who emigrated from Asia, Africa and Central America. Yet when I asked each of them if they wanted to temporarily close rather than rent to Trump supporters, they thought I was joking. For them, there was no choice. We had to stay open out of financial necessity.

I warned them that the rallygoers would be avid Trump fans and might have extremely anti-immigrant beliefs. They told me that they couldn’t care less about what the guests believed. My staffers were struggling to make ends meet, and this would be the most money they made in months. As the owner, lost income means that I have to tap more loans. But for the hotel’s workers — front office staff, maintenance staff, housekeepers — closing meant lost hours, lost wages, an emptier grocery cart.

On the evening of the Jan. 6 riots, we saw posts on social media saying that we had rented rooms to a few Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence. One employee later told me that a few guests had come back to the inn late at night, boisterous and drunk, struggling with their keys. When helped to their two rooms, they cheerfully introduced themselves as Proud Boys. Until then, none of us knew that our hotel guests were members of the group.

But the next morning, my front office staff was greeted by angry callers berating us for not closing the hotel. Our phones rang all day with belligerent calls, some from people in our neighborhood, saying we were endorsing racism and xenophobia by renting rooms to the rallygoers. I told my staff, who were confused by the vitriol, not to argue with the callers. Rather they should let the callers know that in the future, we’d be happy to turn down patronage from any potentially offensive guests, on one condition: The callers had to cover the forfeited income and lost wages. There were no offers. “That’s not the point,” one huffed, before hanging up.

The paradox is twofold. While my employees are the targets of Trump’s bigotry, a paycheck matters to them far more than the politics of our guests. Meanwhile, those so quick to cast judgment on us for hosting Trump supporters are patronizingly blind to the actual perspectives and circumstances of the people they think they’re defending. If I closed my inn to make a statement, I’d be putting my own self-righteousness and politics ahead of my employees’ wishes and dire financial needs. Unlike many of us, they don’t have the luxury of investing their energy in symbolic political gestures. The stress they have about providing for their families is overwhelming. Compared with that pressure, other people’s political rhetoric — no matter how offensive or bigoted — seems trivial.

This month, after 46 years in operation, Adam’s Inn will close — another small business falling victim to the pandemic. Nearly all our reservations for the inauguration were canceled because of security concerns. Four of my employees will be out of work for the first time in two decades. For the first time in their lives, they will be forced to rely on government assistance to stay afloat.

If there’s even a faint silver lining to this situation, it’s that my employees might be more politically engaged in the future. One of my housekeepers asked why her stimulus check was delayed; a former employee asked why his unemployment compensation had decreased. Though ordinarily we don’t discuss the news, I talked with them about the debate over the size of the next stimulus package and how Republicans in Congress were trying to cut their aid.

If nothing else, this experience might make it clearer to my employees where they should direct their frustrations. Perhaps the indignant people who rang our phones off the hook can gain more clarity, too.

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