The Trump administration is currently up to its proverbial eyeballs in court battles — including a pair of mutual, multi-million dollar lawsuits with José Andrés. Yesterday the D.C.-based chef and restaurateur went on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss his ongoing feud with the President.
To recap, Andrés pulled out of plans to open a restaurant inside the Trump Hotel D.C. following Trump’s disparaging remarks about immigrants on the campaign trail (for those who somehow forgot, he referred to Mexicans as “rapists”). In return, Trump slapped Andrés with a $10 million lawsuit, and Andrés hit back with an $8 million suit of his own.
Andrés tells Cooper the litigation took him by surprise, noting that Trump called him in June 2015 in an attempt to assuage his worries: "He said, 'Jose we're winning,'" the chef recounted. Andrés, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, replied: "Mr. Trump, I'm not running on your ticket. I only want to run a successful restaurant and you're making it really difficult."
Despite Andrés’s attempt at a peace offering — in December, he suggested via Twitter that the two drop their respective suits and donate money to a veterans’ charity — the lawsuit is ongoing.
"I offer it because he has to run the country," Andrés told Cooper. "And I have to run my little group of restaurants. Why don't we put that on the side? Unfortunately, no response yet."
Trump was deposed back in late January, though neither transcripts nor video of that have yet surfaced.
Andrés, who emigrated from Spain in 1991, became a U.S. citizen in 2013. Last year, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, who previously called Andrés’s journey "the quintessential American success story."