Tech tycoon and prominent Republican donor Peter Thiel, who previously supported former President Donald Trump before distancing himself, has reportedly informed his associates that he does not plan to donate to political candidates in the 2024 elections, according to two individuals close to Thiel.
Thiel is said to be displeased with the Republican Party’s focus on contentious cultural issues in the United States, such as abortion and limitations on bathroom access for transgender students, as noted by one of the sources, a business associate.
By late 2022, Thiel had reportedly reached the conclusion that Republicans should shift their focus from cultural conflicts to promoting U.S. innovation and competing with China, two subjects of great importance to him, as stated by the business associate.
The online news site Puck had earlier reported that Thiel would either support Trump or refrain from participating in the primary. Thiel declined a request for an interview with Reuters.
Thiel’s speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention reflected his optimism that the party would prioritize economic matters, according to his business associate.
Thiel, a self-identified libertarian who holds a contrasting political stance from many of his Silicon Valley peers, is also said to be withdrawing from U.S. politics, as indicated by four political sources.
The German-born entrepreneur, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir and was an early investor in Facebook, has an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion. Since 2000, Thiel has contributed approximately $50 million to state and federal political candidates and campaigns. OpenSecrets, a non-profit organization, ranked him as the 10th largest individual donor to either party during the 2022 midterm congressional elections.
Thiel’s decision highlights the Republican Party’s rightward shift on social issues, which is causing unease among some prominent, business-focused donors.
A few major donors have expressed reluctance to support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate, due to his signing of a bill that bans most abortions after six weeks in Florida. However, none have indicated plans to abstain from the entire 2024 election cycle.
Thiel supported libertarian legislator Ron Paul in 2012 and contributed $1.25 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign efforts. Although Thiel did not financially support Trump’s re-election bid in 2020, he contributed over $35 million to 16 Republican candidates at the federal level during the 2022 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets. Twelve of those candidates emerged victorious.
Thiel could still change his mind regarding political contributions for the 2024 cycle. However, both sources familiar with his donation plans stated they have heard Thiel say on multiple occasions that he has withdrawn from U.S. politics.
One of the sources, who knows Thiel personally, suggested that Thiel might continue to support candidates who have worked for him, as he did in 2022. The business associate, however, was not aware of any special provisions for former employees.