Venture capitalist and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel took the stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, and in doing so, made history as he became the first openly gay man to discuss his sexuality from the RNC stage.
“Every American has a unique identity. 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 said, to much applause.
Thiel led into his comments by saying that when he was growing up, the “great debate” was about who was going to defeat the Soviets. Now, the great debate is about “who gets to use which bathroom.” Boos could momentarily be heard, but after a beat, Thiel pressed on: “This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?” While cheering could be heard, the camera panned to a crowd with a mixed reaction.
Peter Thiel, along with Max Levchin and Elon Musk, co-founded PayPal. He also served as its CEO. Thiel was also the first outside investor in Facebook and currently sits on its board of directors. He holds a 10.2% stake in the company, which he acquired in 2004 for $500,000. (Source)
Peter Thiel Makes History at RNC: Social Media Reacts
Social media reaction to Thiel’s commentary was, overall, pretty mixed, but people certainly had questions.
Also, I can't work miracles, but if you're gay and actually buy this crap, let's talk. (Unless you're Peter Thiel. Then I'd rather not.)
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) July 22, 2016
Peter Thiel: "WHO CARES about bathrooms?" well…. the republicans who passed the bills not letting people go where they want
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) July 22, 2016
Peter Thiel looked real worried about that…. https://t.co/dGRnL5Xknl
— I Hate The Media (@ihatethemedia) July 22, 2016
"LGBTQ Americans," says Trump, "or as they shall now be known, Thiel-Americans"
— Melissa Gira Grant (@melissagira) July 22, 2016
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) July 22, 2016
Did Perer Thiel, a gay man, really say "Who cares" about Trans inclusive bathrooms earlier today? #RNCinCLE
— Eliel Cruz (@elielcruz) July 22, 2016
Peter Thiel conveniently omits mentioning he wants to wipe @Gawker off the face of the Earth.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) July 22, 2016
Peter Thiel attacks Clinton for Libya, which Trump enthusiastically supported.
— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) July 22, 2016
Peter Thiel ain't no libertarian, not if he's endorsing Trump, who might be the most statist candidate in years. https://t.co/1QUHA5Fqp8
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) July 22, 2016
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) July 22, 2016
Peter Thiel was the best part of Night 4. Other than that, it was pretty routine speech content and the typical bizarre policy cocktail
— Capitalist Jack (@capitalist_jack) July 22, 2016
I'm delighted to learn that Peter Thiel supports a massive increase of government spending on science and technology programs
— dylan (@clrkd) July 22, 2016
with Peter Thiel in the camp, media ought to be *on watch* & make sure they are toeing an authority line https://t.co/oymDJKFwTe
— barb dybwad (@doctorparadox) July 22, 2016
Respect levels for Peter Thiel have fallen rock bottom. Though in many ways this seems reminiscent of Modi's election #RNCinCLE
— Nimish Oliapuram (@nimish_jose) July 22, 2016
Shame on @peterthiel
— Steven Wilson (@stvnwlsn_clt) July 22, 2016
After a speech from 'his homosexual', Peter Thiel. https://t.co/ONIGFRXh31
— Kelley Willis (@KelleyWillis) July 22, 2016
Wait what? Peter Thiel supports Trump?! pic.twitter.com/eydVr4SkSL
— Kasey Luck (@BoldnZestyBlog) July 22, 2016