Looks like President Trump might have another lawsuit on his hands. According to NPR, two restaurateurs in Washington, DC have sued the president and the Trump Old Post Office LLC, in a lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court for “unfair competition under local law.” The restaurateurs, Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross, who own Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market & Tasting Room, argue that it’s near impossible to compete with a “restaurant at President Donald Trump’s hotel down the road from the White House.”
As of right now the plaintiffs, who are represented by “business and government watchdog attorneys who say they are working for free,” aren’t seeking monetary damages. Rather, they would like the president to “remedy the unfair competition.” How? For starters they want him to resign and divest himself from the hotel, or close it down completely during the duration of his presidency.
So far there is no evidence that the accusations are politically motivated. However, Pitts has a history of being politically active and even ran as an independent for a seat on the D.C. Council back in 2014. Before that race, he was registered as a Democrat, and “did work for the Service Employees International Union.” Gross, on the other hand, is a lawyer who worked for “former Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat,” between 2003 and 2005. Despite this, Pitts said their “political leanings are irrelevant,” and claims “his dining, catering and events business is down since Trump took office.”
So what does President Trump have to say about the claims? Well, the lead attorney for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, dismissed the lawsuit, calling it “a wild publicity stunt completely lacking in legal merit.” However, Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, couldn’t be reached for a comment.
But can the President of the United States be sued while in office? Well, “under constitutional immunity protections, Trump can’t be sued over official acts in the Oval Office.” However, he CAN be “named in lawsuits for personal actions or those involving his businesses,” which still isn’t exactly great for the Trump brand.
As with every new lawsuit that comes out against the president, it will be interesting to see how things unfold, and whether or not he will allow the pressure to impact his presidency.