Prominent San Francisco Republicans hosted Donald Trump Jr. and former Fox News anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle in a swanky Nob Hill fundraiser for President Donald Trump, Wednesday night.
That cash corral in the heart of liberal California, high on a hill in foggy San Francisco, was ticketed at $35,000 per couple, according to a flyer advertising the event obtained by this columnist. Though the funding was slated to go to the Republican National Committee, the stated aim of the fundraiser is to bolster coffers to re-elect Trump.
Some of those Republicans had choice words for San Francisco.
Charlie Kirk, founder of conservative group Turning Point USA, exited the fundraiser following Don Jr. Kirk’s group has struggled with budding white nationalists within its ranks, according to the Huffington Post. Still, Kirk didn’t hide his disdain for The City by the Bay.
“It’s a beautiful city with a lot of problems,” Kirk continued, which he listed as “homelessness, for one, and failing public schools, for two.” When asked how he would solve The City’s homeless problem Kirk said, “stop electing Democrats.”
The fundraiser also comes shortly after presidential candidates newest fundraising totals were released.
Trump and the Republican National Committee raised oodles of money toward his re-election with $108 million in the second quarter of this year, according to Politico, which also sailed past fundraising totals from President Barack Obama for the same period of time in his re-election.
But it wouldn’t be a bank-breaking week for presidential candidates without a visit to national politicians’ frequent ATM, California. And though the cash total raised at Wednesday night’s San Francisco fundraiser isn’t immediately available, it was easy to see Tuesday that local Republicans delivered for the bronzed commander-in-chief.
The event was hosted by none other than DeDe Wilsey, the city socialite and long-time president of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco board, Debby Magowan, a part owner of the San Francisco Giants, real estate investor Carole McNeil, and Elizabeth and Clarke Swanson, of TV-dinner fame.
The invitation … pic.twitter.com/auoPypgHK5
— Joe Fitz Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) July 18, 2019
Above, the invitation for the “cocktail reception” with Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle.
Wilsey is also a well-known donor to local San Francisco Democrats, and spent more than $504,000 in the 2015 and 2016 election cycles, according to ethics records, though those records were not all available Wednesday night (frankly, the website was malfunctioning). Recipients of her donations include Mayor London Breed and a bevy of moderate-aligned politicians.
Wednesday night, those Democrats and Trump shared a common supporter in Wilsey.
Attendees to the funsraiser could pay $35,000 per couple for a “Team 100 Membership” and nab photos with Don Jr. for $15,000 per couple. Attendance alone was $1,000 per person.
Based on those ticket prices, the event’s reported attendance of roughly 50 (according to attendees), and using some back-of-the-napkin math, the Trumps raised anywhere between $50,000 and $910,000 — at least — here in San Francisco. That’s barring any extra donations beyond the listed ticket prices.
Though it was previously reported that Wilsey would host the event, it was still widely unknown where the fundraiser would take place. Midday Wednesday, reporters heard inklings it would take place on Washington Street, at Magowan’s home.
After watching the entrance at nearby Lafayette Park and seeing no activity, I netted a tip that it would actually take place at McNeil’s home, which public records indicated was on California Street.
I zipped over shortly after 6 p.m., and afterwards alerted folks through Twitter. Camera crews quickly followed.
Don Jr. and Guilfoyle waltzed out of the fundraiser at roughly 8 p.m. past a bevy of TV reporters, a Hoodline reporter and this columnist. We lobbed questions at them as they hopped into a champagne-colored SUV. Don Jr. offered nothing but a single handwave as cable cars rang out behind him.
“It’s wonderful to be back in San Francisco,” Guilfoyle said to reporters, also without stopping to answer questions.
DON APPEARS! pic.twitter.com/tMDxIVQPII
— Joe Fitz Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) July 18, 2019
Above, video fo Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle exiting the fundraiser, and an interview with Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA.
But some of the reportedly 50-or-so Bay Area attendees did stay to stop and chat outside 1001 California Street.
“It was fabulous,” said Joan Leone, the president of a 200-member group the Republican Women’s Club of San Francisco.
Don Jr. talked for “a very long time,” she said, though she and other attendees said he did not touch on San Francisco. And why did she attend the event? Simple, Leone told reporters.
“We love Donald Trump, we want him to win. How about my 401k? How about low unemployment? We all know what he’s done as president and we want four more years of that,” she said.
Gregory Mendez, who attended the event, told reporters outside that Trump is “a great president” because “taxes are great. Immigration, he’s doing as well as he can.”
Responding to Trump’s recent critiques of United States representatives known as “The Squad,” in which the president said those representatives — three of whom were born in the United States — should go back to the countries they came from, Mendez said, “people who are viciously critical of this great nation maybe should think about why they’re in this nation.”
While you’d imagine an event attended by Don Jr., especially to fundraise for his dad, would garner huge crowds of protesters in San Francisco, the location was largely kept secret — it was a tactic successful at keeping most protesters at bay.
But after word got out of the visit on Twitter, at least one protester arrived in time to give Don Jr. a piece of his mind.
Jordan B., who lives in Oakland and works in San Francisco, smiled wide as Don Jr. drove away.
He told me, excited as a kid in a candy store, “I got to call him a fucking fascist!”
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.