SF Democratic Party chair David Campos is calling on the Shanti Project to rescind a scheduled lifetime achievement award for Dede Wilsey, but Wilsey claims she was not even at the Donald Trump fundraiser that Campos is complaining about.
Zillionaire socialite and ball gown enthusiast Dede Wilsey has not shrunk from the public eye (nor SFist’s fascination) since stepping down as Fine Arts Museums president in June. Just weeks after her resignation, she was listed as the co-host of a Trump 2020 fundraiser, and she’s now scheduled to be presented a lifetime achievement award at a black-tie gala benefiting the HIV treatment nonprofit Shanti Project. But the former should cancel out the latter, according to the ex-supervisor and now San Francisco Democratic Party chair David Campos. The Chronicle reports that Campos is calling for Wilsey’s award to be rescinded, and if it’s not, he’s calling on all Democrats to boycott the October event.
The local Democratic Party will vote on Campos’ resolution tonight, at a meeting that will already be contentious, as 48 Hills notes, given that the District 5 Vallie Brown/Dean Preston endorsement vote is on the agenda as well.
“The Democratic Party has to take a very clear stand that San Francisco is not going to honor or support anyone who is openly promoting Trump’s re-election,” Campos said, in reference to the July Trump fundraiser in Nob Hill.
But Wilsey, a registered Republican, claims she was not even there and did not give permission for her name to be used. “The invitation is incorrect, because I never intended to be in California this summer and could not host an event for anyone,” she tells the Chronicle.
“I’m not buying it,” Campos shot back. “Her son was appointed Trump’s ambassador to Hitler’s Austria. If you believe that happened without her raising any money for Trump, I have a bridge I can sell you.”
“Hitler’s Austria”? Okay, yes, Wilsey’s son Trevor Traina is Trump’s appointed ambassador to Austria, and it’s a fair assumption to charge that any of Trump’s ambassadors have their jobs for entirely corrupt and Trump-enriching reasons. But modern-day Austria is a parliamentary democracy, and it is hardly their fault that Hitler was born there and the country was annexed by the Nazis in 1938.
Further, the Shanti Project is furious at Campos over his proposal and just cranked out an angry press release this morning. “We will not rescind the award,” executive director Kaushik Roy. “Not only because it would be wrong, but because rescinding the award could possibly be seen by the IRS as Shanti punishing someone for making contributions to a political party. If this happened, IRS regulations mandate that we could lose our tax-exempt status,”
Meanwhile, 48 Hills has the full text of Campos’ proposed resolution. “One would think that as Trump and his Administration are locking up kids at the border, engaging in the mass deportation and separation of families, depriving members of the Transgender Community basic human rights, and fanning the flames of hatred and racism to the point of inspiring mass shootings of Latinos, that Shanti, an organization that is supposed to be about compassion, would refrain from making the political statement of honoring one of Trump’s enablers simply because she gives them money also,” Campos says in its preamble. “I sincerely hope that Shanti does the right thing here. After all, Trump’s hateful policies are literally targeting many of Shanti’s clients.”
In a somewhat related development, the award Wilsey is scheduled to receive was to be called the Nancy Pelosi Lifetime Achievement Award. The Bay Area Reporter found that Pelosi asked that her name be removed from the award, and Shanti has complied.
Image: Viva Vivanista via Flickr