Peter Thiel, the gay billionaire who spent a small fortune funding his protege Blake Masters’ failed Senate campaign in Arizona last year, has declared that he’s sworn off donating to Republican candidates in 2024.
Or maybe not.
According to a Reuters report, Thiel, who donated to Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 when almost no one else would, is fed up with the GOP’s focus on the culture war for his reluctance to open his wallet. The report cites an unnamed “business associate” who says that Thiel is upset with the party’s focus on abortion and transgender equality issues. Thiel reportedly thinks Republicans should be focused more on economic issues
There’s a lot of reason to doubt this particular spin on Thiel’s intentions. For one thing, Thiel has never shown any particular concern for the LGBTQ+ community before. As a primetime speaker at the 2016 Republican convention, Thiel didn’t condemn the party’s blossoming anti-trans bathroom efforts. He dismissed them as “a distraction” and said, “Who cares?”
Then there are the anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric that his hand-chosen candidates, Blake Masters and Ohio’s J.D. Vance, employed last year, facilitated by Thiel’s large donations. Both would repeal same-sex marriages.
Of course, you could also listen to Thiel himself. The man who is purported to have sworn off donating to candidates seems awfully fond of one of them, and it just so happens it’s the one who has gone all in on the culture wars.
“I think [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis would make a terrific president if he’s the Republican nominee. I will strongly support him in 2024,” Thiel said on a podcast last week.
Thiel did say that he thinks DeSantis is putting a wee bit too much emphasis on the culture war stuff. Not that it’s wrong, mind you. It’s that it’s – you guessed it – “a distraction.”
“The focus on identity politics, on the woke religion, you know, is probably a distraction from stagnation,” Thiel said. “It’s a distraction from economics.”
One thing is clear: Thiel won’t be joining the Trump bandwagon this time around. After helping Trump to the White House in 2016, he sat out Trump’s re-election campaign, apparently disillusioned by the administration’s dreadful handling of the pandemic.
Still, Thiel’s love for DeSantis has its limits. For all his wealth, Thiel says he won’t be relocating any of his business to Florida any time soon. The reason? It’s too expensive there.