Chef José Andrés is taking his support of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton — or perhaps it's his disdain for GOP nominee Donald Trump — to the campaign trail. Andrés appeared at a Clinton rally in Tampa Wednesday afternoon, donning his standard chef's whites to introduce the candidate.
Andrés, a native of Spain who became a naturalized United States citizen three years ago, opened his remarks with a hearty "hola" and proudly declared his first vote in an American presidential election would be cast for Clinton. Andrés spoke for nearly 15 minutes and touted his adopted home as a nation of immigrants, portraying Trump as an anti-immigrant candidate.
"Some tell me I am on the losing side, that society is moving toward exclusion," Andrés said. "But let me tell you, I am so optimistic for America. Yes, our country is torn between the desire to include and exclude, but let me tell you, let’s elect a leader who knows everybody belongs."
Andrés’ staunch backing of Clinton appears to be sincere, but his opposition against her chief political rival is likely just as strong. The chef had agreed to open a restaurant at Trump’s new Washington DC hotel, but he pulled out in July 2015 after the Republican derided Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "drug dealers." Trump filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup. Andrés responded by filing a countersuit, claiming the candidate's statements made it impossible for the restaurant to hire and maintain staff. There’s no telling when the legal fracas will be resolved.
During his speech, Andrés noted he would have been celebrating the hotel’s opening on Wednesday, if not for Trump’s campaign rhetoric: "Today I could be in a certain hotel in Washington DC opening a restaurant inside. Here I am, not even mentioning him."
"The United States is great," Trump said at his hotel’s unveiling. "It’s great. Its people are great. There is no task or project too great, there is no dream outside of our reach. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it can’t be done. The future lies with the dreamers, not the cynics and the critics."