ROANOKE, Va. ― When it gets hot on the hustings, some politicians take off their jackets and roll up their sleeves. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump complains.
“See how hot it is? Everyone’s sweating and soaking wet,” Trump said Monday as he delivered a 45-minute speech inside a packed ballroom at The Hotel Roanoke. “I wouldn’t pay the hotel.”
It was nearly 100 degrees outside the hotel, where hundreds of people were left standing in the sun while police handed out bottles of water. Compared to that, it was blessedly cool inside.
Still, Trump accused the hosting hotel of deliberately turning down the air conditioning.
“They turn the air conditioning down because they save money, so then I would not pay them,” Trump said, his face glistening with sweat. “You oughta try turning on the air conditioning, or we’re not going to get you paid.”
It’s not clear if Trump was actually threatening not to pay The Hotel Roanoke or if he was just using the experience as a theoretical example of his ability to get amazing deals. Either way, Trump is legendary for not paying his creditors, whether by stiffing them in bankruptcy court or simply refusing to pay for services rendered. Just last week, a judge ordered a Trump golf course in Florida to pay the legal fees for a paint company it had refused to pay in full.
Trump said Monday that he pays his bills “so fast” when a contractor does good work, but that he felt like he was in a sauna.
“Just so you know, I’m really good at this business,” Trump said. “You make a lot more money if you own a hotel and you let people suffer and don’t turn on air conditioning. You make a lot more money, you would be surprised how much it costs.”
Before moving on with his speech, Trump concluded his tangent by saying “the people that own this hotel should be ashamed of themselves.”
In a statement to a local TV station, the hotel denied it had turned down the AC.
“The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center’s HVAC system was on and working properly throughout the event to provide a comfortable environment for all in attendance,” the company said, adding that the doors had been open for two hours so guests could get in. “Hotel staff did everything possible to keep guests comfortable and accommodated, both inside and out.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.