Two close associates of Republican megadonor and tech billionaire Peter Thiel said he decided against funding any 2024 candidates due to his dissatisfaction with their policy focus.
The associates, who spoke with Reuters, said Thiel believes focusing on culture war issues is a mistake and that Republicans should be more focused on domestic innovation and competing with China.
US innovation is reportedly a top issue for Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook. While he donates to Republican candidates, he identifies as a libertarian and stresses personal freedoms.
Thiel previously touched on his thoughts during the 2016 Republican National Convention, when he backed former President Donald Trump due to his focus on economic issues.
“I am proud to be gay,” Thiel said at the time. “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.”
Thiel donated over $1 million to Trump’s election efforts, but he was reportedly put off by the chaos surrounding Trump’s presidency in its later years and declined to fund his reelection in 2020.
In 2022, Thiel played financial kingmaker, donating over $35 million to 16 federal-level Republican candidates. Twelve of his chosen candidates won their races.
Thiel could repeat his efforts to boost Republicans in 2024, but sources say he is more inclined to take a step back from politics altogether.
Several top Republican donors, who have all voiced anti-Trump sentiments, recently hesitated to support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as the most likely Trump alternative.
It was DeSantis’s signature on a six week abortion ban that reportedly sealed the deal for those donors, emphasizing how the party’s swing to the right on social issues is isolating business-focused large donors.