On the same day Donald Trump marked the grand opening of his hotel at the Old Post Office, José Andrés—one of two chefs who were originally slated to open restaurants inside the Pennsylvania Avenue destination—flew to Tampa, Florida to campaign for Trump’s rival in the race for the presidency.
Clad in his chef whites and standing behind a lectern with a “Stronger Together” sign, Andrés described the contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton as a “battle” between “the forces of inclusion and the forces of exclusion.”
“My name is José Andrés and I am an immigrant,” the chef said at the start of his 11-minute speech. “Oh, yeah. You can clap.”
The Spanish-born Andrés, who became a naturalized citizen in 2013, focused the bulk of his remarks on his own experience in the United States and against Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. Once slated to open a restaurant in the lobby of Trump’s hotel, the chef bolted from the project shortly after the developer launched his presidential bid by calling for the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border and casting Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals.” Another chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, also quit the hotel project; the Trump Organization is currently suing both chefs.
But the legal entanglements did not keep Andrés from bashing Trump, even while avoiding any mention of the GOP nominee’s name. “Someone wants to make America great again,” Andrés said, poking at Trump’s campaign slogan. “Who are you? Where have you been? Maybe he skipped history class. America has always been great!”
Andrés also slipped in a crack at Trump’s stop in DC today. “Today I could be in a certain hotel in Washington, DC, opening a restaurant inside,” he said. “But here I am, not mentioning him, because we won’t mention him until he apologizes…to every person he has insulted.”
The chef focused mostly on his theme of inclusion. “I’m a cook,” he said. “Inclusion is how I make a living. I feed the few, but I want to feed the many. I want everyone at the same table. Republicans, Democrats, independents, everyone. Please, pass the salsa!”
Andrés finally brought on Clinton, calling her “a leader who knows everybody belongs.” The former secretary of state responded by calling him “an incredibly talented chef” and “really gutsy” for taking on Trump.