I have to say, “Trump denies his Doral resort is infested with bed bugs” is not exactly a headline I expected to see, but then, that’s basically just life in 2019. I wasn’t expecting to see a tweet like this, either:
Text of tweet by Donald J. Trump: No bedbugs at Doral. The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!
Here’s what actually happened. At the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Donald Trump suggested Trump National Doral Miami as the location for the next G-7 summit. This was completely inappropriate. Doral is actually losing money and has been declining in value do to declining business. It’s no surprise that Trump would want to boost Doral’s business by hosting an international summit there, but that’s not how the presidency is supposed to work.
Anyway, this naturally led everyone in the U.S. to google Doral, which led to them finding a 2017 article about a settlement Doral reached with a businessman who suffered from dozens of bed bug bites while staying at Doral. People shared the article—if nothing else, this situation has revealed that Doral has a google problem—and that led to Trump becoming angry and feeling the need to publicly respond, which, frankly, only raised the article’s profile.
Now, obviously, that there were bed bugs at Doral in 2017 does not mean there are bed bugs there now. Also, whether or not there are bed bugs at Doral (then or now) is irrelevant to the inappropriateness of Trump suggesting the next G-7 summit be held at a place he can profit off of. But there’s something here worth discussing nonetheless.
Let’s take a moment to look at three things.
First, when I learned that a businessman had sued Doral over bed bug bites, my initial response was to go all oh, woe is me, and class this as a frivolous lawsuit. It’s not that I doubted his bed bug bites, of course—it’s just that people get bit by bed bugs in hotels across the country all the time, and most people just post negative reviews on Yelp, and maybe ask for a refund. Most people don’t respond to bed bug bites by suing the hotel.
I do not intend to poo poo either bed bug bites at a hotel or the risk of bringing bed bugs home from a hotel. Along with a growing number of my friends, I’ve done the whole bed bug thing. It was hell. But even with everything I had to do to get rid of those blood-suckers, it never even occurred to me to sue the place we got them from.
Now to my next point. According to the complaint, the man who sued Doral was named Eric Linder. He alleges that, during a stay at Doral in March 2016, he woke to find dozens fo bites on his face, neck, arms, and torso. He asserts that he went to management about it, and they tested the room and found that it tested positive for bed bugs.
But when Linder sued Doral—and here’s the kicker—the report’s lawyers responded by stating that Linder “conducted himself so carelessly and negligently that his conduct was the sole proximate cause or contributing cause to the events of which he complains.” That makes absolutely zero sense. That is not how bed bugs work.
The only possible negligence Linder could have conducted was not checking the room for bed bugs when he first arrived. (I check every hotel I stay in.) But I don’t think that’s what Doral’s lawyers meant, because if it is, this would suggest that they think every guest who visits needs to conduct their own bed bug investigation, or sleep at their own risk. This seems outrageous. What the resort’s lawyers actually meant is still a mystery to me.
Now, my final point. Trump National Doral Miami has been having significant financial problems for years now. I don’t know all of the reasons for its lack of financial solvency, but I do know that it has seen declining visitors. I also know that, during Trump’s 2016 campaign, the PGA Tour moved World Golf Championship (WGC) tournament previously held annually at Doral decamped to Mexico City over his rhetoric about immigrants.
Trump actually drew attention to this move during his campaign:
“It is a sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf, to have the PGA Tour consider moving the WGC, which has been hosted in Miami for the last 55 years, to Mexico. The PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs, millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and charities and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of fans who make the tournament an annual tradition. This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for president of the United States.”
Given that the PGA Tour began considering the move as a direct result of Trump’s inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric, Trump’s comments feel rather circular. And while I don’t know how much of an effect the PGA Tour leaving may have had on Doral’s overall revenues, it can’t have helped.
And now you know way more about both bed bugs and Trump’s resort hotels than you even knew you wanted to. You’re welcome.
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