It was during his presidential transition process that Donald Trump seemed especially excited about a specific vow: “My administration will follow two very simple rules: buy American and hire American.” The Republican repeated it, over and over, often to enthusiastic applause.
But even at the time, Trump’s vow struck a discordant note. After all, he’d spent much of the last decade hiring foreign guest workers for his assorted properties, a practice he continued even as he promoted his “hire American” commitment.
Asked during the GOP primaries why he hires so many foreign workers, Trump said, “It’s very, very hard to get people.” Evidently, it hasn’t gotten any easier. The Washington Post reported this morning:
President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club has applied for permission to hire 61 foreign workers to serve as waiters and cooks during the winter social season in Palm Beach, Fla., according to data posted this week by the Labor Department.
The latest data was posted late Thursday on the department’s website: Trump’s club has asked to hire 21 cooks from overseas and employ them from October to May. At the end of that term, the workers would be expected to return home.
Earlier on Thursday, another posting showed Trump’s club also wants to hire 40 foreigners to serve as waiters and waitresses at the club. Mar-a-Lago is a for-profit social club, catering to the wealthy wintertime residents of Palm Beach.
Trump’s club, which insists it cannot find Americans to accept these positions at this pay, is offering the cooks $13.31 per hour, slightly less than last year’s pay for the same position, and $12.68 per hour for waiters, which is up from $11.88 per hour last year.
BuzzFeed added, “The workers are being sought under the controversial H-2 visa program, which permits US employers to hire guest workers under temporary visas if no qualified US workers want the jobs.”
And that’s where the story gets a little tricky.
Mar-a-Lago, which the president promotes and profits from, caters to very wealthy clients, who can afford an enormous membership fee ($200,000) and hefty annual dues ($14,000).
It used to cost less, but the venue hiked its prices when its owner became president.
If Trump’s club found it difficult to fill the openings for cooks and waiters, Economics 101 says it should take advantage of its extensive revenue and offer more money.
Isn’t that what someone committed to the “buy American and hire American” maxim would do?