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* Employees at Mar-a-Lago may not have been washing their hands
* Trump Grill, meantime, named “worst restaurant in America” by Vanity Fair
* Ivanka and Melania further demonstrate the paradox of the Trump brand
The Miami Herald broke news on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort has been cited for 13 health code violations, three of which were deemed “high priority.”
Among the findings: raw meat was not stored in cool enough temperatures, and fish that was to be served had not gone through proper parasite destruction. In short: the report found there was significant risk that illness-causing bacteria had been festering in the food served to Trump’s ultra-rich customers.
As stated in the official report posted to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website, Trump’s exclusive hideaway got another write-up for not having a sign instructing employees to wash their hands after using the restroom. Given that the price of a membership to Mar-a-Lago jumped from $100k to $200k following Trump’s inauguration, critics have been quick to point out how unacceptable these violations are.
This is the second time a Trump-owned restaurant has been raked over in the press. Last December, Vanity Fair said that Trump Grill, located in New York’s Trump Tower, might be the “worst restaurant in America.”
“The steak came out overcooked and mealy, with an ugly strain of pure fat running through it, crying out for A.1. sauce,” wrote Tina Nguyen. “The plate must have tilted during its journey from the kitchen to the table, as the steak slumped to the side over the potatoes like a dead body inside a T-boned minivan.”
The troubles — and paradox — of Trump brands don’t end there.
Amid calls to boycott retailers who sell the popular Ivanka Trump fashion brand, Nordstrom famously dropped the line from its stores, citing lagging sales. Then another report claimed record sales for the brand.
Dolce & Gabbana, meantime, drew sharp criticism for having dressed First Lady Melania Trump for her official White House portrait.
The First Lady has an eye on using her position to build her own business empire, which she puts forth could be valued at $150 million. The figure came from her lawsuit against the Daily Mail Online and an independent blogger, both of whom had published rumors that Mrs. Trump is a former sex worker.
She later amended the suit to say that the damages were determined by a heavy emotional toll and defamed character, rather than lost income. The First Lady currently has no brands or endorsements of which to speak. Both defendants settled out of court, issued retractions, and offered apologies.
Despite all of this, the super rich continue to join Mar-a-Lago. Tourists continue flocking to Trump Grill. Ivanka is still slinging shoes and purses. Melania continues to garner generous media coverage (with the obvious exception of the Daily Mail).
The First Family may be a lightning rod for controversy, but the Trump Train continues to chug along. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next 43 months.