Over the past few days, President Donald Trump has been on an extended Twitter tirade, going off on what he deems to be the rat infestation plaguing the city of Baltimore. But if anyone should know about the plague of vermin, it’s Trump.
The president’s restaurants, resorts, and golf clubs have all been cited for extensive health-code violations, including the presence of rodents.
Health inspectors have for years turned in stomach-churning reports of rats, mice, cockroaches, and other pests in the kitchens and food-preparation areas at Trump properties in New York, Florida, and Las Vegas. One infestation in the main kitchen of Trump’s Doral golf club in 2015 was so bad that health inspectors recommended that the place be temporarily shut down.
As late as last year, health inspectors in New York reported a likely rodent problem at the restaurant in the president’s flagship Trump Tower property. The inspection turned up “evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas” and “conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.”
In 2017, inspectors found “filth flies” buzzing around the food in the Trump Tower kitchen. Employees, they found in a separate inspection the same year, sported “soiled” garments and were not wearing hair nets. The year before, inspectors found live roaches.
Trump Tower’s roach situation, though, paled in comparison to the infestation at Doral, where Florida authorities reported 524 health-code violations from 2013 to 2018, according to state health records and research compiled by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge.
In 2015, they found “approximately 20-25 live roaches... on the walls, baseboards and floors in the kitchen food prep area and behind a utensil table inside a wall crack.” They also reported between 20 and 30 “live, small flying insects... in the kitchen and dishwasher room.”
Inspectors recommended that the state issue an emergency order and temporarily shutter the Doral kitchen. It’s not clear if it was ever actually shut down.
Most of the issues were resolved in a followup inspection a few months later, and the recommendation was rescinded, though the restaurant was fined $800. But the following year, inspectors once again reported “over 40 small flies in coffee station.”
At the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas’ steakhouse, which is branded with the president’s initials, health inspectors also reported potential vermin problems. The restaurant, they reported after a 2012 inspection, did not have “effective pest control measures.” Expired food, including yogurt and caviar, were also among the 51 health-code violations inspectors found during that visit.
Trump’s “Winter White House” at Mar-a-Lago hasn’t had the pest problems of some of the president’s other properties. But inspectors have cited its main clubhouse kitchen for 51 health-code violations since 2013, and its “beach club” kitchen for another 30. And while neither has failed a health inspection, authorities have reported some grimy findings, including employees who don’t wash their hands and poultry stored at dangerously high temperatures.
At Mar-a-Lago, at least, the Trump Organization appears to have cleaned up its act. Both the main kitchen and the beach club passed inspections with flying colors last year, with zero code violations between them.