WEST PALM BEACH — Between Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and one of his golf courses in Florida, the president’s business ventures in the Sunshine State applied for 76 visas to hire foreign nationals.
The real kicker? It was during his administration’s much-trumpeted “Made in America Week.”
This sort of hypocrisy and generally bad optics might ultimately be excusable from another administration, but coming from a commander-in-chief who swept into office on a wave of nationalism and promises to “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it,” the disconnect is simply too glaring.
The vast majority—fully 70—of the requested visas were for Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s “Winter White House” to which he scurried on an almost weekly basis following his inauguration, at great cost to taxpayers.
The breakdown of what he wants: 35 waiters, 20 cooks, 15 maids.
In addition to the Mar-a-Lago staffing efforts, Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter applied for 6 visas for cooks.
The positions would be filled between October of this year and May of 2018, with workers earning from $10.33 to $20.01 per hour.
The Trump properties filed for the visas after feds approved another 15,000 of the H-2B work visas (applying to temporary, seasonal work) to be issued for the next budget year. According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, “there are not enough qualified and willing U.S. workers available to perform temporary … labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses.”
Officials have maintained that Trump will receive no preferential treatment in awarding the visas, and that his businesses must attempt to hire U.S. employees before getting the go-ahead to recruit foreign workers.
Nonetheless, the president’s staffing intentions seem clear. It’s certainly a departure from his long-running calls to “buy American and hire American.”
While the action may be out-of-character for Trump’s rhetoric, the controversial president is being consistent in at least one way: He’s saying one thing and doing another.