Acclaimed chef José Andrés has cancelled plans to open a Spanish restaurant at the upcoming Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building, in response to Donald Trump’s repeated and offensive remarks about immigration.
“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. 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,” Andres said in a statement provided to msnbc on Wednesday afternoon.
Andrés – a Spanish-born chef who became an American citizen in 2013 – is one of more than a dozen prominent figures and companies to cut ties with the businessman-turned-Republican-presidential-candidate after he kicked off his presidential campaign calling some Mexican immigrants “rapists” and doubling down for weeks. Macy’s, Univision, Serta, and NBC Universal, the parent company of msnbc, have all cut ties with the businessman.
Trump brushed off inquiries about whether his business was struggling in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday morning.
“Yeah I’m losing some contracts who cares. They’re weak and they want to be politically correct. Some of them have already apologized to me and said they made a mistake,” Trump said. “First of all my company is a massive company and a very rich company, but compared to what I have, it doesn’t matter. Most important – and even if it was a huge amount of money I would still do this,” he said of his presidential bid.
He also reiterated his controversial views on immigration.
“Ok, look, don’t try and convince me that there’s no crime, that it’s wonderful,” Trump told NBC News on Wednesday morning. “Mexico doesn’t want people, they’re forcing them into our country, and we’re taking them, and we’re putting them in our jails, in our hospitals, and we’re paying them money through different sources. It’s a disgrace.”
In the interview, he swore that he had a great relationship with Mexicans, crediting the very hotel Andrés was set to open a restaurant in.
“I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. I have many people working for me – you can look at the job in Washington – I have many legal immigrants working for me. Many of them are from Mexico. They love me, I love them,” Trump said.
Thousands had signed a Change.org petition urging Andrés to back out of the deal because of his Mexican heritage. “José Andrés embodies the American dream and is a huge role model for the Hispanic community, having moved from Spain to start a family and create one of the most successful restaurant chains in culinary history,” petition author Erick Sanchez wrote.
The Trump International Hotel is slated to open in the Old Post Office Pavillion, which is owned by the federal government. The General Services Administration ignored repeated calls and emails to comment on whether or not Trump’s federal contract was at risk because of his politics, though reportedly the hotel is slated to open in 2016 as planned.