Donald Trump will finally be getting the key to the City of Doral.
On Wednesday, three days after the Miss Universe pageant, Mayor Luigi Boria placed it on the council meeting agenda as a lay-down item — a distinction generally reserved for emergencies.
“I have a special thanks for Mr. Trump that made his decision to bring this pageant to the city,” Boria said. “And at this point, as a part of this agenda, I consider it an emergency, to bring the issue of giving the key to Mr. Donald Trump. At this point, I would like the support from this council to issue the key to Mr. Trump.”
A lay-down, according to the city charter, is an item that yields an emergency, one that “specifically relates to the public’s health, safety and welfare.” Otherwise, it typically takes a week’s notice to get an item on the agenda.
Lay-down items require four votes to be placed and passed, which made Trump very happy.
“I am very grateful to receive this honor from the City of Doral,” Trump told the Miami Herald on Thursday. “I have mentioned many times before that Trump National Doral holds a special place in my heart.”
The vote was 4-1, with Councilwoman Christi Fraga objecting, calling the mayor’s move “disturbing.”
The vote also upset many of the residents at the meeting, who were upset that because it was broached after the public comments portion of the meeting — and since it was not on the posted agenda — they were not able to weigh in.
“Our Doral government has become a banana republic type of government that finds ways to keep the public from having a voice,” said Morgan Levy, one of Doral’s founders.
This is the first time this issue has come up in front of the council. On Jan. 12, Boria put in a request for the council to consider giving a key to both Trump and the president of Miss Universe. He later retracted his request for Trump’s key.
He originally explained his change of mind by saying “Trump doesn’t deserve my key. I think it’s appropriate for Miss Universe and the Miss Universe organization to have the key. It doesn’t make sense for Trump to have one.”
However, the next day he said his retraction was actually due to the timing of the request, because tensions have been rising between council members and residents because of Trump and the Miss Universe pageant. Still later, he released a statement saying that he looked forward to bringing these requests to the City Council in the near future.
“Mr. Donald Trump´s investments have been extraordinary, creating jobs and moving our economy forward. He deserves not one but many keys to the City,” he said.
The majority of the council agreed with the mayor that Trump deserved this recognition.
Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez credited the Trump’s pageant for making “such a tremendous impact not just in Doral, but in South Florida.”
Fraga provided the lone dissenting opinion.
“I think that [favoring] one business over the other is not good public policy. I think when you identify one business owner and applaud it over another, it sets a bad example. … I’m not going to make any more comments on it. I’ll let the voters decide when it’s time.”
Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz was quick to respond saying the matter “is not political.” She said the Miss Universe pageant supported several organizations in the community, explaining that the contestants participated in many meaningful events in Doral leading up to the pageant.
“To not support a major Best Buddies fund-raising event, I find it basically unacceptable,” Ruiz said. “To not support having people go to Baptist Hospital to visit the sick; I support visiting the hospital and being with the sick. To not support meeting with our students … visiting our communities. This was more than what just occurred Sunday night. … So at this time there is a reason why I would support giving Mr. Trump a key. Yes, it’s obviously a business. It’s a business for many.”
Cabrera agreed, saying that Trump is “more than deserving of a key.”
Boria said that Trump’s renovated resort has increased property values in Doral. He also mentioned that Trump is “thinking about moving his whole corporate office to Doral.”
At the end of the discussion, Fraga requested clarification on the item, but the council spoke over her. The attorney said her question had to be “procedural,” a question that would pertain to a procedure or procedures.
Mid sentence, the mayor called her question out of order. Cabrera argued that her question was not a procedural question, rather a question of debate.
Councilman Pete Cabrera then proceeded to call the motion to give Trump a key, Ruiz seconded it, and it was passed.
Trump said on Thursday that he does not understand why Fraga voted against the measure.
“All she ever does is tell me what a great job I did at Trump National Doral, that nobody else could have done a job like this.” Trump said.
Fraga explained that it was “nothing personal against Mr. Trump.”
“He did a great job with the resort. I don’t discourage investments in the city, I encourage them,” she said. “He’s just another business owner investing in to his business. I just wish he would have had a little bit more consideration for our residents.”