The Trump Organization has long employed and underpaid undocumented workers at its many resorts and job sites, dating to at least 1980, when Trump paid some 200 undocumented Polish construction workers $4 an hour on 12-hour shifts to demolish the building that stood on the current Trump Tower lot; when one contractor complained about horrid conditions and the pay, which was half the union wage, Trump threatened to deport him. Since then, the president’s company has made it an unofficial operating policy to require its undocumented houseworkers to work overtime without pay: “There was a conscious effort to pay less wages, because they knew about the lack of documents,” one former manager told the Washington Post earlier this year.
Combined with the president’s anti-immigrant vitriol, the practices, which may have violated federal labor laws, have left a lot of frustrated former employees willing to go on the record about their experiences working Trump properties. Over the past year, Washington Post reporters Joshua Parlow and David A. Fahrenthold spoke with close to 50 former undocumented workers employed at 11 of Trump’s properties in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. Unsurprisingly, word of several bizarre habits emerged about a man who reportedly drinks up to 12 Diet Cokes a day and won’t let anyone else touch his TV remote. One candy (mint?) habit stands out as particularly psychotic:
Trump loved Tic Tacs. But not an arbitrary amount. He wanted, in his bedroom bureau at all times, two full containers of white Tic Tacs and one container that was half full. The same rule applied to the Bronx Colors-brand face makeup from Switzerland that Trump slathered on — two full containers, one half full — even if it meant the housekeepers had to regularly bring new shirts from the pro shop because of the rust-colored stains on the collars.
Though the president has been legally banned from ever running a charity again in New York, the report also details a near-philanthropic act from a billionaire with cheap habits: When Trump wanted to get rid of his clothes, he often gave them to Viktor Knavs, Melania Trump’s father. (In addition to being of similar age to the president, one of Trump’s former housekeepers, Victorina Morales, said that the two are “the same size and everything.”) The overlap led to the following outfit meltdown:
One day in 2013, Viktor Knavs went out to play golf wearing one of Trump’s discarded red baseball caps. When Trump spotted him on the fairway, he blew up, and he ordered his father-in-law, in front of other golfers, to remove the hat and get off the course. Diaz and Morales were in the villa when Knavs returned, threw the hat on the ground and cursed Trump.
“Nobody could wear the red hat but [Trump],” Diaz said.
Though details in the report help flesh out the president’s absurd domestic habits, they show the very real damage that his move toward hard-line immigration policies has had on his former employees. Following reports in January detailing the Trump Organization’s employment of undocumented workers, at least 18 have been fired from golf courses in New York and New Jersey; at Trump’s Bedminster resort, former employees told the Post that an estimated 30 to 40 more undocumented workers were not asked to return for the 2019 season.
Employees at Bedminster also were concerned by anti-Trump protests at the course:
On the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, an activist art collective sneaked onto the Bedminster property at night and built a mock graveyard with headstones announcing the death of “decency” and “our future.”
“It made me afraid,” Morales said. “We began to wonder: What if someone comes and puts a bomb in here?”
Trump supporters, too, were a source of discomfort. Former undocumented employees complained about frequent anti-immigration events and were forced to stomach racist comments from course members. “You’re still here?,” one guest asked Gabriel Juarez, a headwaiter at one of Trump’s courses for ten years. “How come we can’t get rid of you? I’m going to call Trump, you [expletive] Mexican.”