A prominent Portland company has severed its business with Provenance Hotels, the Portland-based chain founded by President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.
Artisanal ice cream maker Salt & Straw confirmed the move to OPB in a short statement:
“After much consideration, we have made a decision to end our wholesale business with Provenance Hotels. We are very thoughtful with our relationships and, after seven years, have determined it is best to go in a different direction.”
Salt & Straw’s owners would not say why or when they decided to pull out of boutique hotels such as Dossier, where customers could have small-batch ice cream delivered to their door.
The move comes to light during a political firestorm in Washington, D.C. – namely, the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump and the White House’s refusal to cooperate.
Sondland is a central figure in that firestorm. His dealings with Ukraine are of keen interest to lawmakers investigating whether Trump misused his office while pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Salt & Straw’s decision to sever ties with Provenance apparently came before Oregon Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer called Wednesday for people and businesses to boycott the hotel chain until Sondland cooperates with the impeachment inquiry.
Ellen Carmichael, a spokesperson for Provenance Hotels, said in a statement that a boycott would have no impact on national politics.
“We are saddened to have our Congressman Earl Blumenauer call for a boycott that would put the livelihoods of thousands of his own constituents in peril,” she wrote. “This attack on our employees is unwarranted.”
As for Salt & Straw, if its decision is rooted in current events, it won’t be the company’s first brush with politics. As vice president, Joe Biden famously stopped by Salt & Straw in 2014 and the rest was internet meme history.