Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump, was spat on by a waitress as he visited a popular upscale bar in Chicago Tuesday night during his visit to the city, but declined to press charges against the woman, according to The Trump Organization.
A waitress at The Aviary, 955 W. Fulton Market, in West Town, was taken into custody after she spat on Trump, according to a spokesperson for the Trump Organization. He has been in Chicago and staying at the Trump Hotel, according to his Twitter account. The waitress has been placed on leave, according to a statement from The Aviary, which said that “no customer should ever be spit upon,” and said that the restaurant won’t make further statements about “internal (human relations) matters.”
“Eric was out to dinner on business, when a waitress … spit in his face,” the Trump Organization representative said in an email. Secret Service and Chicago police “immediately apprehended her and held her in handcuffs for approx(imately) two hours. Chicago PD was intending on pressing charges however Eric directed them not to and she was let go.”
The Tribune is not naming the woman because she has not been charged with a crime.
Trump confirmed the incident to the conservative website Breitbart, telling the news outlet, “It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems.”
The Aviary said in its statement that “an unfortunate incident occurred between an employee at The Aviary and Eric Trump,” but that “we did not witness” what happened.
The restaurant condemned the incident, and said that online backlash shouldn’t be directed at the restaurant or its other staff.
“What is certain is this: no customer should ever be spit upon,” the statement said. “We have not yet spoken with the employee but our HR team has, in the meantime, placed her on leave.”
The online backlash to the incident “is troubling,” the statement said. “Hundreds of people are calling for the demise of our business, threatening our employees, and posting fake reviews… they are wrong to do so based on the actions of a lone individual.”
Also troubling, “however, are those people wrong who are praising this as an act of civil disobedience. We have voices and the means to be heard. A degrading act lowers the tenor of debate. To some it might feel good, but it is unlikely to serve any larger purpose.
“We hope this incident can, at least, serve to illuminate the current absurdity of the discourse in our politics.”
NBC reporter Mary Ann Ahern first tweeted about the incident Tuesday night, saying Eric Trump was seen leaving The Aviary.
The upscale, James Beard-winning bar is owned in part by the duo behind one of the world’s most influential restaurants, Alinea. Co-owner Nick Kokonas previously made headlines in another Trump-related matter when he invited the Clemson Tigers football team to a dinner at the restaurant after they’d famously been served fast food at the White House.
Secret Service officials did not confirm the attack, but Chicago police noted something had happened at The Aviary and directed inquiries to the Secret Service. The White House directed all questions to The Trump Organization, the family’s private business arm, run by Eric Trump and another of the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr.
A representative at the Chicago branch of the Secret Service referred questions to the Washington D.C.-based public affairs office of the Secret Service. A person who answered the phone there said the office required media inquiries be sent by email.
A one sentence response said the Secret Service had no comment.
Breitbart also reported Eric Trump chose not to press charges against the woman who allegedly spat on him. It further quoted Eric Trump as saying: “For a party that preaches tolerance, this once again demonstrates they have very little civility. When somebody is sick enough to resort to spitting on someone, it just emphasizes a sickness and desperation and the fact that we’re winning.”
Eric Trump did not take to Twitter about the incident, but had tweeted Tuesday night about being in Chicago and thanked employees at Trump International Hotel & Tower Wednesday morning. As of 10 a.m., President Donald Trump had not tweeted about the Chicago incident, either.
When Kokonas extended the offer to Clemson players, he said he wanted the Tigers to experience fine dining.
“Between the shutdown and the fast food amongst candelabras, I just thought they should get a second chance to doing it the right way,” Kokonas told the Tribune at the time.
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