- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Dallas restaurant owner has apologized to customers after Donald Trump Jr. and Sen. Ted Cruz posed for a photo inside his restaurant with a cake bearing Barack Obama’s image, which some critics deemed racist.

Mr. Trump Jr. posted a photo on Instagram Sunday showing him and Mr. Cruz posing with a cookie cake decorated with a portrait of the former president, similar to the famous “Hope” posters designed by artist Shepard Fairey.

“With friends like these,” President Trump’s oldest son wrote, “some good friends decided that while my birthday is not for 2 weeks that they would get me an early 40th birthday cake. And what birthday is complete without an Obama cake? I figured it was so good that I would have to share it with Ted.”

The photo was immediately met with backlash, with some users calling it racist, classless and downright “stupid.” Neither Mr. Trump Jr. nor Mr. Cruz have responded to the criticism.

Stephan Courseau, owner of French restaurant Le Bilboquet near Highland Park, where the photo was apparently taken, denounced the gesture and said Mr. Trump Jr. and Mr. Cruz used his restaurant to “spread hatred.”

“Let me be clear, I share your indignation without any reservation,” Mr. Courseau wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post, obtained by Eater. “Both Donald Trump Jr. and Ted Cruz were attending a birthday celebration of one of our regular patrons who rented out our venue for a private event. The party was not for either one of them nor was it any kind of partisan rally.”

Mr. Courseau explained that a person unaffiliated with the restaurant brought the cake in for Mr. Trump Jr., and that he was not working at the time and was unable to “intervene in the unfortunate circumstances that unfolded.”

“We at Le Bilboquet feel betrayed and sad,” he wrote. “Restaurant business is about creating a hospitable environment for all, a non-partisan, non-politicized, nondiscriminatory and respectful environment. The fact that guests decided to use our restaurant as a platform to promote, disrespect, and spread hatred goes against everything we stand for. On a personal note, I am French and my wife is Mexican. We both believe in universal values of love, respect and tolerance. … I am truly sorry that such distasteful events happened at our venue and that these circumstances brought me to write this statement today.”

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