/Trump dismisses calls to boycott Equinox and SoulCycle over fund-raiser

Trump dismisses calls to boycott Equinox and SoulCycle over fund-raiser


President Trump on Friday dismissed the calls for a boycott of SoulCycle and Equinox, luxury exercise chains owned by a conglomerate whose chairman was hosting a lucrative fund-raiser for the president’s reelection.

Trump spoke to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he was leaving to attend the closed-door luncheon at the Southampton, N.Y., home of Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins and chairman of the Related Companies, the parent company of SoulCycle and Equinox.

News of fundraiser spurred a backlash on social media, with some high-profile activists and celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen and Billy Eichner, urging customers to boycott the chains.

“Stephen Ross is a great friend of mine,” Trump said in response to a question about the boycott. “He’s a very successful guy. We were competitors but friends in real estate in New York in the old days. He’s a great guy. He is, by the way, probably more inclined to be a liberal, if you want to know the truth. But he likes me.”

Trump added that he was told tickets for the luncheon, which ranged from $100,000 to $250,000, were “totally sold out.”

On Wednesday, as the backlash surrounding the event intensified, Ross released a statement saying, “I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others, and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions.”

Both Equinox and SoulCycle released statements distancing the companies from the event and Ross himself.

“SoulCycle in no way endorses the political fundraising event being held later this week,” SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan said, adding: “Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of SoulCycle.”

Trump, for his part, thought the controversy was a good thing for his friend.

“I think it makes Steve much hotter,” he said. “The controversy makes Steve Ross hotter.”

RELATED: Trump kicks off his 2020 campaign in Florida

25 PHOTOS

Donald Trump kicks off his 2020 re-election campaign in Florida

See Gallery

President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd after speaking during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump, smiles as press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to supporters at a rally where Trump formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters at a rally where President Donald Trump formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Vice President Mike Pence, left, and wife Karen Pence greet supporters at a rally where President Donald Trump formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet supporters after formally announcing his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Donald Trump greets supporters after his speech where he formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Donald Trump, center, speaks to supporters where he formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump supporters shake their fists at the media as Trump formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

From left, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump and Eric Trump, senior adviser Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr., watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump arrives to speak at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives to speak at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump shakes hands with supporters after arriving at Miami International Airport in Miami, following his re-election kickoff rally in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

First lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump greet supporters at a rally to formally announce his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)




HIDE CAPTION

SHOW CAPTION

_____

Read more from Yahoo News:

Original Source