CLEVELAND, Ohio — The co-founder of PayPal spoke at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, declaring to those gathered that he is “proud to be gay” and Republican, which drew applause from some in the crowd.
Billionaire Peter Thiel, who also sits on the board of Facebook, referenced during his speech a variety of issues that he feels should be priorities in American government.
“[T]oday our government is broken,” he said. “Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can’t even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all. That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.”
He proceeded to explain his belief that these matters have been buried by culture wars that he finds to be petty and trivial.
“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union, and we won. We are [now] told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?” he said, as some in the crowd stood and cheered.
As previously reported, PayPal is one of nearly 70 corporations that have signed on to a legal brief challenging North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” The company also canceled its expansion plans in the state out of its objection to the law.
“Of course, every American has a unique identity,” Thiel continued in his speech. “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American.”
After the crowd again cheered, with some chanting “USA,” Thiel asserted that some cultural issues are simply manufactured problems and distractions from more important matters.
“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,” he said. “And nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”
Gregory Angelo, president of the homosexual group Log Cabin Republicans, told NBC News prior to Thiel’s speech that he was pleased Thiel would be addressing the crowd.
“The theme [on Thursday] is ‘Make America One Again.’ I don’t think it’s an accident that they’re having an openly gay conservative addressing the convention on a night that is espousing that theme.”
Donald Trump likewise addressed homosexuality in his acceptance speech, telling those gathered that he would work to protect homosexuals if elected.
“As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump declared, being met with applause.
“And, I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said,” he said in response.
As previously reported, Trump declared at a fundraiser last month that he is the best candidate for the “gay community.”
“So you tell me, who’s better for the gay community, and who’s better for women than Donald Trump? Believe me!” he said.
In February, he also replied in the affirmative when asked by a lesbian reporter if the nation can expect “more forward motion” on homosexual issues if elected president.