- Billionaire Oracle chairman Larry Ellison plans to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, The Desert Sun’s Sam Metz reported Wednesday.
- A group of Oracle employees launched a Change.org petition calling for the event’s cancellation, saying, “Ellison’s support of Donald Trump does not affirm Oracle’s core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct.”
- Tickets for the event, which will be held on Ellison’s estate in Rancho Mirage, California, cost up to $250,000, according to The Desert Sun.
- Billionaires from other industries including Home Depot cofounder Bernie Marcus and real-estate developer Stephen Ross faced public outrage and boycotts of their companies in 2019, following reports of their donations to the president.
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Billionaire Oracle chairman Larry Ellison is slated to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump – and his employees are not happy about it.
“[The culture] encourages us to be apolitical,” Oracle copywriter Monica McClure told Gizmodo. “It’s an old company. It’s not like a start-up where we’re being encouraged to discuss our ideas and have healthy debates about politics. So it struck me as a pretty brazen political move on Larry’s behalf that contrasts with the culture of leaving your politics at the door.”
McClure is the author of a Change.org petition calling for the fundraising event’s cancellation. At the time of publication, it has 223 signatures.
The fundraiser in question is set to be held on February 19 at Ellison’s estate in Rancho Mirage, California, according to a copy of an invitation seen by The Desert Sun reporter Sam Metz. For $100,000, Trump’s supporters will get to play golf with the president and pose for a photo with him, The Desert Sun reported. For $250,000, donors will get to take part in a round table discussion with the president in addition to the golf outing and photoshoot. The event’s invitation states that the proceeds will be used to support the Republican National Convention and state GOP chapters, in addition to funding Trump’s reelection bid.
A representative for Ellison at Oracle declined Business Insider's request for comment on the fundraiser, Ellison's political beliefs, or the petition.
Ellison's show of support for the president comes as anti-billionaire sentiment is increasingly widespread among Democrats. Left-wing Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have both been outspoken in their criticism of America's wealthiest people and Buttigieg's apparent solicitousness of them. Warren sells "billionaire tears" mugs and hosts a wealth tax calculator on her campaign website, which also takes thinly-veiled swipes at Bill Gates and Leon Cooperman. And her tough rhetoric has instilled fear in many billionaires, former Goldman Sachs partner and hedge-fund manager Michael Novogratz told Bloomberg.
Ellison's public display of support for Trump is rare among Silicon Valley billionaires, but not unprecedented
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel publicly backed Trump before the election, even taking the stage at the Republican National Convention in July 2016, Business Insider reported at the time.
Billionaires from other industries, including Home Depot cofounder Bernie Marcus and real-estate developer Stephen Ross, faced public outrage and boycotts of their companies in 2019, following reports of their donations to the president.
Several of Ellison's peers donated to former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg received campaign donations from 40 billionaires or their spouses, including the wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman. Buttigieg has repeatably come under fire for his billionaire backers, most notably from fellow primary frontrunner Sanders.
Ellison built a multibillion-dollar fortune after founding software giant Oracle, Business Insider previously reported. Ellison stepped down as Oracle's chief executive in 2014 but remains the company's chairman. He also holds a seat on Tesla's board of directors, and a reputation as an international playboy. Ellison is the fifth-richest man in the country, with a net worth $69.1 billion, Forbes estimates.
At least $9.5 million of Ellison's fortune has gone to federal political candidates and political action committees since 1993, a review of Federal Election Commission documents by The Desert Sun found. Ellison supported Sen. Marco Rubio over Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, but seems to have since thrown his weight behind the president.