Peter Thiel, gay billionaire co-founder of PayPal and early Facebook investor, was also a passionate supporter of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The tech titan famously spoke at the Republican National Convention, telling the audience, who had just cheered the passage of a staunchly anti-LGBTQ platform, “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American.”
Thiel’s tepid support for LGBTQ rights were replaced at the 2016 RNC with his conservative capitalist principles, as he stated, “Now we are told the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?”
Perhaps Thiel is a reluctantly out gay man, likely still holding deep resentment against Gawker Media and founder Nick Denton for outing him in 2007. The headline read: “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” Years later, Thiel financed Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit (Bollea vs. Gawker) against the tech company. Gawker later filed for bankruptcy.
The warm and giddy feeling that Thiel said he felt after the RNC, however, does appear to be fading. Publicly, Thiel has continued supporting the president, including telling Trump on a visit to the White House last June that he was, “off to a terrific start.” In private, however the story is very different. Sources close to Thiel have told Buzzfeed that the Silicon Valley tycoon is beginning to lose faith in the president, acknowledging that, “There is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster,” and even calling the administration, “incompetent.”
Buzzfeed also confirmed that a spokesperson for Thiel did not deny the quotes attributed to the tech mogul’s waning confidence against Trump, including Thiel’s questioning the president’s ability to get reelected. This exodus from the only out gay man who served on Trump’s presidential transition team, is another hard hit for a White House seeing a growing trend of politicians and previous supporters begin to curb their support.
Thiel may still hold firmly to the conservative ideology that he professed in his book Zero to One, calling for more monopolies, reduced competition and taxes, however, the billionaire may now be wishing that he had kept the $1.25 million donation to Trump’s campaign and spent it on another startup.