According to two sources close to the businessman, tech billionaire and Republican megadonor Peter Thiel, an early supporter of former President Donald Trump who eventually broke with him, has told colleagues that he does not intend to give to any political candidates in 2024.
Thiel is dissatisfied with the Republican Party’s emphasis on contentious cultural issues in the United States, according to one of the individuals, a business partner, citing abortion and limitations on which toilets transgender children may use in schools as two examples.
Thiel came to this conclusion by late 2022, the sources said. He believes Republicans are making a mistake in focusing on cultural flashpoints and should be more concerned with spurring U.S. innovation – a major issue for him – and competing with China, the business associate said.
Thiel’s plans for the Republican primary and general election have not been previously reported. Online news site Puck previously reported Thiel was most likely either to support Trump or sit out the primary. Thiel declined a Reuters request for an interview.
When Thiel spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention, he had more hope that the party would concentrate on economic issues, his business associate said.
“I am proud to be gay,” Thiel said on stage. “But most of all I am proud to be an American. I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform, but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”
Four political sources also told Reuters that Thiel is taking a step back from U.S. politics. Thiel, who diverged from his Silicon Valley peers with his embrace of conservative causes, identifies as a supporter of libertarianism, a political philosophy that stresses the importance of individual freedoms.