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Politics

How I found Trump's controversial $10,000 portrait

A Univision anchor found the painting, purchased with charitable dollars, hanging in a restaurant at one of Trump’s resorts
21 Sep 2016 – 12:43 PM EDT

I'm standing in front of a four-foot-tall portrait of Donald J. Trump at the entrance of Champions Bar & Grill at the Trump National Doral Resort in Miami, Florida.

A lot of people have been looking for this painting.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been following David Fahrenthold's Washington Post reports, in which he outlined how the Trump Foundation had made purchases with donation money, including a signed football helmet, Trump's personal debts, and this very painting. The foundation bought the portrait before me for $10,000.

In his reporting, Fahrenthold mentioned two portraits: one measuring four feet, and the other six.

A traveler had seen the smaller portrait, and posted it in a photo on a TripAdvisor review of Trump's Doral hotel in February. That hotel is four blocks from Univision’s studios.

At 10:30 p.m. last night, right before I went on air, I reserved a room in that hotel using points from my personal credit card. I didn’t want to give Univision’s money to one of Trump’s businesses.

After bidding the audience goodnight, I left for the hotel.

I arrived at 12:15 a.m. A security guard asked me for my information. I told him I was a guest, checking in. In the lobby, I identified myself with my ID and was assigned to room 1211.

I hopped on a golf cart to get to the room. I thought the hotel map would help locate the portrait, but no. The golf resort is huge.

I started walking and found myself back in the main building. I asked a couple of janitors and maintenance about the portrait, one in English and another in Spanish.

“Do you know where the portrait of Donald Trump is?”

I was told it was in the Player's Lounge, but the door was locked. I searched the entire floor, but found nothing. Then I saw an open door.

It was the Champions Bar & Grill. The resort web site describes the bar as a place that combines modern sophistication with a casual touch: American food, serving ribs and a “Big Boy” burger.

A couple of workers were inside, but no customers. "Open or closed?" I asked. They said it was open.

And there was the painting.

I snapped some photos, and took in the surroundings.

It stands about four feet tall. A plaque on the right doesn’t mention the portrait, but instead states that the space holds a maximum of 262 people. It is a room shaped in a semi-circle with leather furniture.

I stood in front of the painting for five minutes trying to wrap my head around why a charity might spend $10,000 to hang such a work in a restaurant.

A Hispanic worker was sweeping and vacuuming.

I said goodnight and left.

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