Billionaire entrepreneur and prominent Trump megadonor Peter Thiel had high praise for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on a Wednesday podcast episode.
Journalist Bari Weiss interviewed Thiel on The Free Press’ “Honestly” podcast. “I think DeSantis would make a terrific president if he’s the Republican nominee. I will strongly support him in 2024,” Thiel said 19 minutes into the interview.
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“I think @RonDeSantisFL would make a terrific president if he’s the Republican nominee. I will strongly support him in 2024.”
— Brian Anderson (@AZBrianAnderson) May 3, 2023
“But I do worry that focusing on the woke issue as ground zero is not quite enough,” he continued. Thiel spoke about how moving his offices from California to Florida would be “a tough thing to do at this point,” citing Florida’s rising real estate prices and higher interest rates. (RELATED: DeSantis Is Wrapping Up His Conservative Legislative Agenda, Closing In On Expected Presidential Bid, Sources Say)
“That kind of an economic cost is probably not enough to offset all the ‘wokeness’ in the world or even the taxes. And so it’s a really hard problem to solve. Like, what do you do about these runaway rents, these runaway housing costs, that’s a super hard problem to solve, I have no idea how to solve that. I understand why DeSantis doesn’t talk about that but it surely is a bigger problem.”
DeSantis is widely expected to challenge former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He will likely announce his presidential campaign when Florida’s legislative session wraps up in mid-May.
He did not fund Trump’s 2020 campaign, but he got back into Republican politics by backing 16 GOP candidates in the 2022 midterms, according to The New York Times. Thiel spent $35 million on Republicans in the 2022 election cycle, making him one of the party’s largest donors, according to nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.
The eccentric billionaire provided $10 million each to GOP senate candidates Blake Masters in Arizona and J.D. Vance in Ohio, both former employees. Vance defeated Democratic challenger Tim Ryan and Masters lost to incumbent Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly in November. (RELATED: Don’t Blame Trump For Midterm Losses, JD Vance Says)
Reuters: Peter Thiel, Republican megadonor, won’t fund candidates in 2024 https://t.co/EFmMGQ9jhC
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) April 26, 2023
He told associates he will not be funding candidates in the 2024 election cycle, Reuters reported in April, citing two people close to Thiel. They said Thiel was dissatisfied with the Republican party’s emphasis on the culture war instead of economic issues. An openly gay man, Thiel previously backed other conservative business ventures and pro-Trump activist organizations.
Thiel first rose to prominence in Silicon Valley as a co-founder of PayPal. After he left PayPal, Thiel founded data analytics firm Palantir and became a prolific venture capitalist. He was the first outside investor in Facebook and his net worth exceeds $4 billion, based on Forbes estimates.