It was one of the big moments from the last Democratic debate. Elizabeth Warren took note of a Pete Buttigieg fundraiser and declared, "Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States." Now, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, one of the attendees is pushing back. Bill Wehrle is VP of a health care company in San Francisco, but he's not a billionaire. In fact, he's not even a millionaire: "Oh, how I wish." Some of the other attendees at the Hall winery event in St. Helena, Calif., were a former flight attendant, a local city councilwoman, a young Georgetown student there with her dad, and a dean from a community college system. Yes, they were served nice wine that goes for $185 per bottle ("far more than I've ever paid in my life," writes Wehrle), but it was nowhere near the $900 figure mentioned by Warren.
"Of the roughly 50 folks in attendance, plenty were people of means, and certainly all of us who were able to go to an event like that should consider ourselves lucky," writes Wehrle. But the idea that it was "billionaires in wine caves" gathering to pick a president is a joke, even if winery owners Craig and Kathryn Hall are themselves billionaires. The cost to attend? Donors were asked to contribute the maximum individual limit of $2,800, and Wehrle had been contributing to Buttigieg's cause since May. "It's not every day in America that a gay man has a realistic chance of becoming president, so yes, my partner and I probably qualify as enthusiastic." In short, this sinister-sounding gathering was anything but. "Surely Democrats can find more important things to debate in the United States of America at this dark hour," writes Wehrle. Read the full column. (Read more Pete Buttigieg 2020 stories.)