BY CHRIS JOHNSON | The hedge fund manager and entrepreneur who declared he’s “proud to be gay” at the Republican National Convention plans to donate $1.25 million to aid Donald Trump in his presidential bid.
Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and board member of Facebook, will make the $1.25 million donation to Trump through a combination of direct contributions to the candidate’s campaign and Super PACs.
The New York Times was first to report the news. A spokesperson for Thiel confirmed for the Washington Blade the entrepreneur’s plan to make the donation. The Blade has placed a request in with the Trump campaign seeking comment.
In addition to declaring he’s gay at the Republican National Convention, Thiel decried stagnant wages, rising health care and climbing college tuition costs, arguing the Trump is the right candidate to fix the problems.
“Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East,” Thiel said. “We don’t need to see Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it’s a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Thiel during this election cycle has also donated to Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the Republican Party of California and Paul Babeu, the gay Arizona sheriff running to represent Arizona’s 1st congressional district.
Thiel also said during the speech he doesn’t agree with everything in the Republican party platform, considered the most anti-LGBT in history, and denounced debate about “who gets to use which bathroom.” It wasn’t clear whether he was being critical of LGBT advocates for seeking to protect transgender people against discrimination in bathroom use or whether he was speaking out against laws barring them from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity.
The news outlet Gawker outed Thiel as gay in 2007. In May 2016, he confirmed in an interview with The New York Times he paid $10 million in legal expenses to finance several lawsuits, including one by Terra Bollea, or “Hulk Hogan,” for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and infringement of personality rights. Gawker published a sex tape of Bollea with a married woman. As a result of the lawsuit, the jury awarded Bollea $140 million and Gawker announced it was permanently shutting its doors.
Eric Mackey, a PayPal spokesperson, underscored Thiel is no longer affiliated with the company, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay, when asked by the Washington Blade if PayPal would denounce the donation.
“Peter Thiel was one of PayPal’s founders, but he is no longer associated with the company in any way,” Mackey said. “We cannot comment on his personal or professional views or affiliations.”
— Special to The Pride Los Angeles from the National Gay Media Association and The Washington Blade