A Gay-Friendly Campaign Fundraiser?
If you’re a fan of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) or the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM), you may have attended a fundraiser at Andy Nunemaker’s posh playboy mansion on the city’s Upper East Side. Or, perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to attend one of his (in)famous pool parties. Nunemaker, a high-profile gay Milwaukee business leader, is also the MSO board president and sits on the MAM board. His latest bash, to be held Tuesday, Oct. 4, is a fundraiser for none other than presidential candidate Donald Trump. You can attend for just $250 or, if you’re flush, you can spend $1,000 and have your photo taken with the host’s special guest, Donald Trump Jr. I’ve heard you’ll have a choice of backgrounds: Safari, Skittles or a step and repeat Pepe the Frog. Don Jr., a self-confessed “closet redneck,” once famously said he wished all guys were gay so he could have more women. So I guess he’s gay friendly as far as that goes. Anyway, apparently, the pre-party revenue projection is a whopping $100,000!
Nunemaker cited his admittedly controversial support for Trump as founded in his belief that the candidate will deliver on Paul Ryan’s budget agenda and, of course, his promise to support LGBT rights. Now, the Ryan budget, to distill the details, basically curtails spending on silly superfluous things like the ACA, Medicare and Social Security and makes big tax cuts. Everybody gets excited over the sound of “tax cuts”…it’s sort of like saying “TREAT!” to your pet Dachshund when her ears perk up and she does that cute little dance.
But, seriously, just as important as trickle-down tax cuts for the rich and famous is the Donald’s embrace of LGBT rights. Republican gays were absolutely giddy when Trump haltingly uttered “LGBTQ” (perhaps for the first time) and paraded out a billionaire gay oligarch at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And, on marriage equality, while his surrogate Sheriff David Clarke called for “pitchforks and torches” in response, Trump merely vowed to appoint SCOTUS judges who’d reverse it. That was nice. Still, I know what you’re thinking. And, indeed, Andy’s announcement succeeded in flummoxing many of his more than 4,500 Facebook friends…the gay ones anyway…who immediately decried the Milwaukee magnate’s hypocrisy. Granted some only used those little emojis of disapproval rather than write a critical commentary, but flummoxed they were nonetheless. Maybe it’s the anti-LGBT Republican platform or Trump’s VP pick, the homophobic zealot Mike Pence. It could also be his endorsement by not-so-gay-friendly Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Value Voter evangelicals. Then there’s the Trump bromance with Vladimir Putin, who presides over the Russian Federation and its anti-LGBT pogrom. Most recently, there was that awkward and unfortunate headline “Trump Taps Santorum to Head Catholic Advisory Group.” (I know that sounds like another Trump back-pedal because he did promise he’d protect LGBTs against a “vicious ideology” but I think he meant Islam.)
One of Nunemaker’s social media defenders complimented his “courage” and many gave him a thumbs-up. Although I’m not so sure it’s about courage, I suppose being a gay Republican does require some certain fortitude. Or, perhaps, it’s a nothing-to-lose attitude because, if you’re LGBT and fabulously wealthy, you don’t.