Northwest hotelier, listed as Trump campaign official, doesn’t back nominee
August 7, 2016
Gordon Sondland, a prominent Portland hotelier listed as a lead sponsor for a Donald Trump fundraiser this month, does not support the Republican presidential nominee and won’t be “hosting or attending any fundraisers” in the Northwest, a spokeswoman told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Sunday afternoon.
That revelation comes after Sondland’s name surfaced on an invitation to an Aug. 30 fundraiser in Seattle. On July 1, Sondland was announced by the Republican Party as the Trump campaign’s state finance victory chair for Oregon.
The invitation, obtained by the Seattle Times, also included Sondland’s Portland-based business associate, Bashar Wali. Both men are withholding support from Trump, spokeswoman Kate Buska said in a statement.
Wali is the president of Provenance Hotels, which Sondland founded and runs as chief executive. The company has hotel interests across the country, including five in Portland: Hotel Lucia, Hotel deLuxe, Sentinel, the Benson and the Westin Portland.
The turnabout is notable given Sondland’s longstanding support for Republican candidates. Buska said Trump’s ongoing feud with the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, played a role in Sondland’s and Wali’s decisions. She noted Wali is “a Muslim American who emigrated to this country from Syria.”
“In light of Mr. Trump’s treatment of the Khan family and the fact his constantly evolving positions diverge from their personal beliefs and values on so many levels,” Buska wrote, “neither Mr. Sondland or Mr. Wali can support this candidacy.”
The invitation to the Seattle fundraiser also listed Portland investor Peter Stott. It’s unclear how this will affect the fundraiser or talk, as reported by Willamette Week, that Trump’s campaign has also been planning an event in Portland.
Messages left with Trump’s campaign directors in Washington and Oregon, Vancouver-area state Sen. Don Benton and Eugene-area attorney Jacob Daniels, were not immediately returned Sunday night.
Read Buska’s full statement:
Mr. Sondland is a first generation American whose parents were forced to flee Germany during the years leading up to World War II and Mr. Wali is a Muslim American who emigrated to this country from Syria. They are both acutely aware of the sacrifices people make to become citizens of our country and grateful to the men and women of our military who serve our country and protect our liberties.
In past election cycles, Mr. Sondland has been supportive of the Republican party’s nominees for President. However, in light of Mr. Trump’s treatment of the Khan family and the fact his constantly evolving positions diverge from their personal beliefs and values on so many levels, neither Mr. Sondland or Mr. Wali can support this candidacy.
Mr. Sondland and Mr. Wali will not be hosting or attending any fundraisers for the Trump campaign in Seattle or Portland.
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to clarify this issue.