José Andrés Just Defended Furloughed Workers and Immigrants in One Swoop

By setting up one of his famous relief kitchens blocks from the White House.

Flickr/USDA/Bob Nichols

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José Andrés, a celebrated Washington, DC-based chef who migrated from Spain in the early 1990s, is a staunch defender of immigrants. He famously pulled out of a deal to run a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in 2015 after Donald Trump maligned Mexicans on the campaign trail. And in recent years, he has devoted himself to setting up makeshift kitchens in disaster zones and feeding people facing tough circumstances, like the wreckage of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Now Trump has partially shut down the federal government in pursuit of a border wall he justifies by spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric, leaving 800,000 federal workers—including 70,000 in DC—without paychecks. Cue Andrés.

In a video from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he’s still doing relief work, Andrés announced that his group, World Central Kitchen, would be setting up operations at the Navy Memorial in Washington, “right on Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Capitol and the White House,” offering food to be consumed on-site or carried away by furloughed federal workers.

By early Wednesday afternoon, the effort was up and running, already having served more than 1,000 meals, according to the World Central Kitchen Twitter feed:

Meanwhile, the longest federal shutdown in US history drags on, with no sign that Trump will let go of his demands. The president dropped a tweet Wednesday morning doubling down on his justifications for a wall. (For a deep dive into all of the problems with Trump’s logic about immigration and crime, check out this recent post by Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum.)

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