The fact that Trump continues to follow this politically poisonous practice despite (a) preaching “America First” for other businesses and (b) having had his own hypocrisy on foreign hiring exposed several times by the media proves that he really does think he can get away with shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue without losing any support. Consider how easy it would be for him to lay down a rule at Mar-a-Lago: No foreign workers from this day forward. Advertise for seasonal workers in all 50 states if you must, with full-page ads in multiple papers, but it’s Americans only here on out. Even if he lost money on the PR effort, it would be worth it to him in terms of the good press it would generate. And it might put pressure on other businesses to follow suit.
Late last month, the club placed an ad on page C8 of the Palm Beach Post, crammed full of tiny print laying out the job experience requirements in classified ad shorthand. “3 mos recent & verifiable exp in fine dining/country club,” the ad said. “No tips.”
The ad gave no email address or phone number. “Apply by fax,” it said. The ad also provided a mailing address. It ran twice, then never again…
About a week before the ads ran, the president’s club asked the Labor Department for permission to hire 70 temporary workers from overseas, government records show. Beside the 35 waiters, it asked for 20 cooks and 15 housekeepers, slightly more than it hired last year.
The ad in the Palm Beach Post was aimed at Americans, right? Right, but not necessarily by choice: The law requires a business to advertise at least twice in a newspaper on nonconsecutive days, as well at an employment agency, for help before it can apply for H-2B visas for foreign workers. Mar-a-Lago did the bare minimum in seeking out Americans looking for work before turning to foreign workers. They’re not attending a local jobs fair this week in Palm Beach either, notes WaPo. Why not?
This story has been dogging Trump for two years. In July 2015, a month after he jumped into the race, Reuters reported that Trump companies collectively had hired more than 1,100 temporary foreign workers since 2000. Mar-a-Lago alone had sought 787 foreign workers to that point since 2006. Seven months later, the NYT looked at the flip side of that coin — the many Americans who had applied for jobs at Mar-a-Lago since 2010 and been turned down in favor of foreign workers, often without explanation. Of nearly 300 U.S. residents who had applied, just 17 were hired; over the same period, Mar-a-Lago applied for more than 500 visas for foreigners.
Some applicants said they decided against working at Mar-a-Lago because, like some other private clubs, it discourages gratuities; its job listings say “no tips.” Local labor analysts say that private clubs often lose job candidates to restaurants where tipping is permitted.
But Renee L. Seymore, who applied to be a waitress at Mar-a-Lago last year, said she would have gladly taken the job, and thought her chances were good.
“They told me I had a great interview,” said Ms. Seymore, 22, who had worked in a barbecue restaurant. “But I never heard anything back.”
There’s an open question too of just how “seasonal” these jobs really are. True, they don’t require year-round service, but many of them involve employment of eight months out of the year with the same positions being filled and re-filled year after year. If teachers can be hired permanently despite having several months off each year, why not Mar-a-Lago’s workers? It’s not because permanent employees would expect more in terms of wages and benefits, is it?
This comes three weeks after DHS announced it would increase the cap on H-2B visas for seasonal foreign workers this year by 15,000. For any other politician, all of this would be hugely destructive. (Imagine President Mitt Romney, who positioned himself as an immigration hawk in 2012, doing the bare legal minimum to hire American workers at his business while applying for dozens of visas for foreigners.) For Trump, eh. The media’s been killing him over it for years to no effect; why would another round of hypocrisy exposed after “Made in America Week” do any harm? It’s not about what’s right or consistent, it’s about what he can get away with. Surely he can get away with this.