Trump’s Mar-a-Lago requests permits to hire dozens of foreign workers for $12.68 an hour

Trump has criticized other U.S. companies for having the same hiring practices as his Mar-a-Lago resort

Published July 6, 2018 5:30PM (EDT)

President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump's resort, Mar-a-Lago, wants to hire 61 foreign workers for its upcoming tourist season, which begins in November, according to a Job Order Records filed on Thursday and Friday.

According to applications filed this week with the U.S. Labor Department, Mar-a-Lago wants to hire 40 servers at $12.68 an hour and 21 cooks at $13.31 under the H-2B visa program which is for seasonal, non-agricultural employees. Many companies in the Palm Beach area supposedly use the program to find seasonal help. In order to get the seasonal worker visas, employers must prove that they can't find enough U.S. workers who are "able, willing, qualified, and available" to do the temporary work.

While Trump has criticized American companies for employing foreign workers, he has defended Mar-a-Lago's hiring practices, saying there aren't enough qualified, local applicants. In his inaugural address, Trump vowed that under his leadership, the country would "follow two simple rules: buy American, and hire American."

But the rules don't apply for businesses that happen to be owned by the president of the United States.

Last year the Florida resort secured the permission to hire 70 foreign workers to serve as maids, cooks and servers under the H-2B visa program. The request was originally filed during Trump's "Made In America" week at the White House.

The number of foreign workers hired by Mar-a-Lago for the 2017-2018 season was a slight increase from the previous year when the resort hired 64 foreign workers using H-2B visas. Trump defended the practice of employing foreign workers during a GOP primary debate in March of 2016.

"It's very, very hard to get people," Trump said at the time. "Other hotels do the exact same thing."

In September 2016, Trump told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that "getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible."

Trump frequently visits Mar-a-Lago. Throughout his time in office, he has come under intense scrutiny for spending taxpayer dollars on his frequent weekend and holiday trips to his Florida resort.

The president has taken to Twitter to assure his critics and supporters that he is, indeed, working and not at all on vacation while in Florida.

"Will be having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida (Mar-a-Lago)," Trump tweeted last year during Thanksgiving. "Stock Market hit new Record High yesterday - $5.5 trillion gain since E. Many companies coming back to the U.S. Military building up and getting very strong."

In case people were doubtful that the Trump was working while in Florida, he reiterated the message the following day on Twitter.

"Will be doing a live Thanksgiving Video Teleconference with Members of the Military at 9:00 A.M," Trump wrote. "Afghanistan, Iraq, USS Monterey, Turkey & Bahrain. Then going to Coast Guard Quarters, Florida."

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By Shira Tarlo

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America First Donald Trump Foreign Workers Mar-a-lago President Trump