Billionaire Jennifer Pritzker Stops Supporting Trump After Coming Out As Trans
Billionaire Jennifer Pritzker never saw eye-to-eye with her family when it came to politics. The ultra-wealthy Pritzker clan are almost all socially liberal Democrats, but Pritzker was a staunch Republican donor and supporter of President Trump — until she came out as a transgender woman.
A Vanity Fair feature delved into Pritzker’s history, following her shift from an “exceptionally private” colonel in the United States Army to publicly condemning Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military.
Jennifer Pritzker, born James Nicholas Pritzker, is the great-grandchild of Naphtali ben Yakov Pritzker, a Jewish immigrant who arrived in Chicago from Ukraine. He eventually became a successful lawyer and investor; now his descendants are America’s seventh-richest family.
When Pritzker announced her transition in 2013, becoming perhaps the only transgender billionaire in the world, her family handled it fine — they were more concerned with her political stance.
“For the Pritzkers her transitioning wasn’t that eventful. They’re all cool with it. It’s like, pass the salt,” a family friend told Vanity Fair. “Her Republicanism—that’s more difficult for them.”
She had been a megadonor for the GOP, helping the campaigns of John McCain, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Trump, whom she revealed she voted for.
When the president said he planned to reverse an Obama-era rule allowing transgender people in the military, Pritzker spoke out. She wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, where she called the decision a “huge step backward.” In a piece for The Washington Post, she criticized both Trump and the Republican Party, suggesting that she would stop donating.
“I have hoped the Republican Party would reform from within and end its assault on the LGBTQ community. Yet the party continues to champion policies that marginalize me out of existence, define me as an eccentric character,” she wrote. “I ask Republicans to prioritize policies that improve our country for all Americans. When the GOP asks me to deliver six- or seven-figure contributions for the 2020 elections, my first response will be: why should I contribute to my own destruction?”
Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher