PayPal cofounder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel has been named to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.
Thiel, who contributed $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign in its final days, also spoke at the Republican National Convention, where he told the crowd he’s “proud to be gay.”
His support of Trump has been interpreted by some as a sign of the president-elect’s gay friendliness. Though it comes despite Trump’s anti-LGBTQ stances, such as supporting FADA and North Carolina‘s HB2, and the many sexual assault allegations against him, which currently stands at around a dozen women.
Rather, Thiel said in the week before the election that he expects Trump to be “expansive” with regard to gay rights, the Washington Blade reports.
“I do think that he represents a sea change for the Republican Party of Bush 43,” Thiel said. “Just think about the way Bush 43 was speaking negatively about gay marriage at every single campaign event in the 2004 election. It’s something where Trump has — everything he indicated is that he would be quite expansive on gay rights.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Thiel said that while he doesn’t expect to have a formal role within the administration, he does feel he has a voice.
“A page in the book of history has turned, and there is an opening to think about some of our problems from a new perspective,” Thiel said. “I’ll try to help the president in any way I can.”
In his speech at the Republican National Convention, Thiel said he believes the debate over transgender bathroom access is a distraction.
“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom,” he said. “This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?”
Also named to Trump’s 16-member transition team were vice president-elect Mike Pence (as chair), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ben Carson, former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and hate group leader Kenneth Blackwell.