Things That Matter

Two Housekeepers Exposed Trump’s Hotels For Hiring Undocumented Immigrants

Two of Donald Trump’s former personal housekeepers exposed the president’s company Trump Organization, which he still owns, as employing dozens of undocumented immigrants. Sandra Diaz and Victorina Morales told reporters that many of Trump’s properties employ undocumented workers for exploitatively low pay and long hours.

The Washington Post spoke with 48 undocumented immigrants who worked at 11 of Donald Trump’s hotels and resorts in Florida, New Jersey, and Virginia. 

Diaz and Morales felt compelled to speak, as Trump’s damning rhetoric against undocumented immigrants became public discourse.

“How can you know something so big, how someone — who goes on national television and says something — and you know it’s not true,” Diaz said. “Whether it’s the president or not, you have the responsibility to say no. To pass through this barrier of fear and say no.”

When Trump began espousing increasingly virulent views on Latinxs and immigrants, the undocumented workers at his hotels and resorts began to feel the ire at work.

“The worry among the kitchen staff at BLT Prime, the hotel’s restaurant, was serious enough that a week before Trump took office, undocumented employees met with a manager to say they could not continue to come to work because they didn’t have legal documents and feared deportation,” according to the Washington Post

Trump’s referrals to Mexicans as rapists and criminals and the implication of a Latinx invasion left his employees apprehensive. The golf-playing clientele of Trump’s resorts would take on the president’s points of view when they interacted with the undocumented staff. 

“You’re still here? How come we can’t get rid of you? I’m going to call Trump, you [expletive] Mexican,” Gabriel Juarez, a former head waiter at one of Trump’s New York golf clubs, said a member told him.

Trump, their own employer was advocating for policies that he himself was violating and that was putting their lives at risk. Some employees even started to distance themselves because of the politically hostile environment. 

“I didn’t feel comfortable working over there. That atmosphere. A lot of conservative people talking about abortion or gay marriage,” said the anonymous former employee. “I got kind of tired of all these anti-immigration [events].”

Morales says she became afraid to work there because she feared violence.

The intensity increased with housekeepers noticing both hostilities towards immigrants and Trump. They found anti-Trump messaging vandalizing the mirrors of the men’s locker room. In one instance, there was even a hanged Trump doll in a stall. 

“It made me afraid,” Morales said. “We began to wonder: What if someone comes and puts a bomb in here?”

Morales who migrated from Guatemala didn’t want to stand up against her boss who was now the most powerful man in the United States, but she could see how quickly and how badly things could be. 

While Diaz was able to become a permanent resident, Morales has not. Despite efforts from a lawyer to protect Morales and other undocumented employees from being deported because they were material witnesses in a possible federal crime, they were not granted protected status. With little other options, the two turned to the press. 

No one has been deported because of the two housekeepers, yet many of the undocumented workers who are still employed by Trump resent the pair. When the news broke there was a company-wide audit of employees. Trump Organization fired at least 18 people because of their immigration status, workers who spoke to the Washington Post said it was closer to 30 or 40. 

“I also worked there a long time without papers but the most incredible thing is to see how people, when they have papers, forget how they got here,” Antonio Zuñiga, a former Trump employee, wrote on Facebook. “I’m sorry but people like you Doña Sandra have forgotten their principles.”

Trump all but blanketly admits that his properties employ undocumented immigrants.

“Well, that I don’t know. Because I don’t run it,” Trump told reporters when asked if Trump Organization employed undocumented immigrants in July. “But I would say this: Probably every club in the United States has that, because it seems to me, from what I understand, a way that people did business.”

However, in the article many of the undocumented workers said they personally met Trump. When the Washington Post reached out for comment about the allegations from the workers, the press secretary vaguely denied all of the claims. 

“The assertions made for this story are not only false, they are a disgusting attempt at invading the privacy of the First Family,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post. “This is not journalism — it is fabricated tabloid trash.”

Morales has since applied for asylum in the United States. She and Diaz are actively mobilizing against Trump’s re-election campaign. 

“We are here to show our faces not just for ourselves, but for the 11 million [undocumented] immigrants who are here in the country,” Morales said at a Trump rally in Orlando, Florida. 

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Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Things That Matter

Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration, Trump has moved to put Cuba back on the list of nations that allegedly sponsor terrorism.

Obama had taken Cuba off of that list in 2015 and with four years to Cuba back on the list, many agree that Trump has simply put Cuba back on the list to make life difficult for President Biden.

The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the list of countries that “sponsor terrorism.”

With just days left in office, Trump has moved to label Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a last-minute move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the controversial move which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

Pompeo also alleged Cuba was engaging “in a range of malign behavior across the region”, highlighting its support for Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro who Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overthrow.

The controversial step places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria as state sponsors of terror.

However, most officials agree that Trump’s claims about Cuba are bogus.

Many international observers – including U.S. allies – aren’t impressed by the administration’s claims that Cuba is sponsoring terrorism.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, said “These are trumped up charges. Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Groups that favor greater U.S. engagement with Cuba criticized the announcement.

“There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,” according to Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington DC-based organization that supports engagement with the island. “Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries.”

Many observers agree that Trump’s move is simply a gift to party hardliners in Florida, and likely a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the incoming Biden administration who may wish to end deténte with Cuba.

Of course, Cuban officials reacted angrily to the announcement.

After the announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted: “We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism. The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

Michael Wood/Stocktrek Images

Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, over the weekend, a manatee was found in Florida’s Homosassa River with the name “Trump” scratched into its back. The discovery has prompted federal officials to open an investigation into the disfigurement of the threatened species.

A mutilated manatee was found over the weekend with the name Trump scratched into its back.

According to a report published by the Citrus County Chronicle, it is unclear when and how the manatee was mutilated. It is also unknown whether the current investigation has made any leads in regards to the perpetrators. Still, footage of the abused animal has sparked outrage online.

Douglas Nowacek, a professor of Conservation Technology at Duke University told Vice that the incident is “one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen done to a wild animal.” In a separate email, Ruth Carmichael, a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama described the act a “horrific” to VICE saying “I have no words to express how deeply troubling, thoughtless, and potentially cruel this is.” 

Marine biologists say that it is unclear just how much harm the mammal endured.

“It’s a little hard to see the extent of damage from the video,” Carmichael explained. “It is harassment regardless. If the scrape penetrates the skin, then it likely caused some pain and stress. The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin. Additionally, open wounds could become infected.” 

According to Graham Worthy, Department Chair and Pegasus Professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke to VICE the letters could mostly be shallow, and may mostly be algae scraped off the animal’s back making“ injury would be virtually non-existent.”

Still, physically hurt or not, the manatee in question was clearly harassed by a person. As such the perpetrator could face severe penalties if found. 

“Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations,” Worthy told Vice. “It is illegal to approach and make contact with these animals let alone deface or injure them. It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions, and manatees. You are not allowed to feed, swim with, or harass these marine animals… They should be observed from a distance of at least 50 yards.”

The mutilated manatee is a West Indian manatee and is a herbivorous mammal found in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Up until 2017, the species was considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, conservation status is listed as “threatened.”  

As many users of social media have noted, perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the images that humans already cause so much pain and suffering to innocent animals. When does it stop?

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