Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Politics

Emails: Trump comments on Mexico stirred heat in kitchen

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says Latinos love him. But a legal brief citing Trump Organization emails indicates some of Trump's own executives and family members may have concluded otherwise.

The filing in District of Columbia Superior Court asks a judge to throw out Trump's lawsuit against Washington restaurateur Jose Andres. It includes excerpts from Trump Organization emails fretting over the possibility that Trump's harsh comments on Mexican immigrants last June could permanently damage the Trump business brand with Latinos.

The general counsel for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, called the email a "red herring" in what was otherwise a running contract dispute. Trump's recent showing among Hispanic voters in Republican primaries demonstrates Trump's appeal, he told the Associated Press.

The litigation arose after the furor in June over Trump's declaration that Mexico was using the United States as a "dumping ground" for drug dealers and rapists. Following the comments, celebrity chef Jose Andres called off plans to open a Spanish restaurant in Trump's upcoming Washington hotel. Trump sued, alleging breach of contract.

Andres and his partners said Trump's remarks and refusal to apologize made it impossible for a successful launch of the planned restaurant, Topo Atrio. Andres' company, the Food Group, emailed Trump daughter Ivanka Trump on June 25 to say it was "getting crushed" over Trump's comments. Ivanka Trump, whose Trump Organization title is executive vice president of development and acquisitions, forwarded the message to David Orowitz, a senior vice president of business development.

"Ugh," Orowitz wrote in the email. "This is not surprising and would expect that this will not be the last that we hear of it. At least for formal prepared speeches, can someone vet going forward? Hopefully the Latino community does not organize against us more broadly in DC / across Trump properties."

In its motion for summary judgment against Trump, Andres' company argues that Trump's own associates had acknowledged the obvious damage Trump had done and the impact on the Trump Hotel restaurant. More than 2,700 people signed a petition demanding Andres sever his ties with Trump.

The court filing said the restaurant project itself was likely doomed.

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