GOP Donors That Fought Evers’ Health Orders Catch COVID-19
Billionaire couple Dick and Liz Uihlein have tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Liz Uihlein called the pandemic “overhyped,” lobbied legislators to overturn Gov. Tony Evers’ public health restrictions and backed a petition to have Evers removed from office. A rare (and brief) interview with The Guardian on April 23 introduced Uihlein by stating:
A family friend accidentally linked the Uihleins to Wisconsin’s reopen protests in a separate Guardian interview.
The couple were tested for the coronavirus after saying they were around others who contracted the virus, according to an email sent to employees of Uline that was obtained by Patch.
Employees received an email Thursday from the Uihlein Family, owners of the $5.8 billion company and big donors to Republican causes, thanking them for their efforts and saying that the “White House called upon us twice with huge orders” this week.
The same day, a manager at one Uline call center sent a note to employees.
“After these long months, I thought we’d never get it. Well, Trump got it,” Uline president and CEO Liz Uihlein, 75, said in the email to employees. “If we had not been around people with COVID, we would not have been tested. We would have been back at Uline.” (No word on how employees reacted to that statement.)
The Uihleins reside in Lake Forest, Ill., but their company has a 200-acre headquarters across the border in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. According to the Patch article, “Some of Uline’s roughly 7,000 employees have expressed concerns that too few office and call center employees have been permitted to work from home without a strong case for a medical condition.”
The email also laid out the company’s pandemic absentee policy. “Employees who test positive will be allowed to return to work 10 days from the date their test was collected, if you don’t have any symptoms. If you don’t have any symptoms, you are expected to continue working.”
The Uihlein email said the couple will return to the office on Nov. 19.
The Center for Responsive Politics lists the Uihleins as the second largest donors to federal Republican candidates in this election cycle, following Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The couple contributed nearly $66 million exclusively to Republicans.
Dubbed the “most powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of” by the New York Times in 2018, they are further described in the same article:
In 2018, the couple bankrolled first Kevin Nicholson in the primary, and then Leah Vukmir (after criticizing her) once she became the Republican nominee running against Sen. Tammy Baldwin. They were also among the biggest supporters of former Gov. Scott Walker and former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
Dick Uihlein has supported candidates who fight to preserve access to assault weapons and is a critic of LGBTQ and transgender rights, notably supporting the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who said homosexuality should be illegal and was accused of sexual assault of multiple underage girls and lost his 2017 race for U.S. Senate.
Pence called the Uihleins “two incredible Americans,” at that event, praising “your leadership, your vision, your character” before stating that their company’s sales during the Trump administration “are up by 44%, profits are up 58%.”
Correction: A previous version of the story stated that the Uihlein’s were at the White House election night party. They have released a statement indicating they were not at the party.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
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