Peter Thiel shares his thoughts on Ron DeSantis

  • Thiel said Republicans need to do more than point out problems in liberal states like California.
  • Of all the GOP governors, DeSantis was the one who got it right, Thiel said.
  • But he added that he was worried about soaring house prices in the Sunshine State.

AVENTURA, Florida — Billionaire Investor Pierre Thiel On Sunday, he said he was concerned Republicans were focusing too much on bashing liberal states such as California when they should instead be offering a “positive agenda” for the party’s future.

In a speech to the National Conference on Conservatism, Thiel painted a bleak picture of his home state of California and said that at least one governor was considering alternative policymaking in a good way: Ron DeSantis, of Florida.

“DeSantis in Florida is probably the best of the governors in terms of providing a real alternative to California,” Thiel said, addressing a crowd of attendees at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort.

But Thiel also had a major warning, saying he was worried about the high cost of housing in Florida. Thiel said he bought an $18 million house in Miami in 2020 that was now worth around $35 million. A test for state policies, he said, would be whether housing prices fall.

“The fact that real estate in Florida or Texas has gone down in the last two or three years doesn’t prove that you’re succeeding and building a better model than California,” he said. “I’m afraid this is proof that you’re becoming like California.”

Housing prices are among the top issues Democrats are weaponizing against DeSantis as he seeks re-election in November. The state faced a influx of inhabitants since the COVID-19 pandemic, which has contributed to rising costs.

DeSantis pushed through many policies as governor that drew ire from the left, including policies on abortion, voting rights and limiting how race, gender and sexuality are discussed in the schools.

DeSantis also faced his fair share of fights with California. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom criticized the governor and broadcast ads attack him in Florida. The dispute has led to speculation that the two could potentially face each other in the 2024 presidential race if they both decide to run for their respective parties’ nominations.

Thiel co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, the company now known as Meta. He was one of former President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters and has criticized Silicon Valleymoving to Los Angeles in 2018.

On Sunday, Thiel said during his remarks that his “gut feeling” told him Republicans’ “nihilistic denial” wouldn’t be enough to create an alternative vision of growth.

“The temptation on our side will always be that all we have to do is say we’re not in California,” he said. “It’s just such an ugly picture, homeless poop, people pooping everywhere, it’s the ridiculous rat-infested apartments that don’t work anymore, it’s the waking madness, there’s so much that it feels like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s so easy, so ridiculous to report.”

The question Republicans should be asking, he said, was, “How can we concretely deliver a vision of the 21st century that’s better than California?”

Bashing California “might be enough to win midterm in 22,” Thiel said, “It might be enough to win in 24. But we want to have a more positive view of the program, something like that to be credible.”

Thiel raised concerns about the 2022 cycle, saying Republicans weren’t doing as well as they did during the Tea Party wave in 2010, or in 1994 when then-minority whip Newt Gingrich present the GOP agenda in the form of the Deal for America.

Thiel did not name specific senators, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not offer a platform for the party until the 2022 midterms, while National Republican Senate Committee Chairman Rick Scott from Florida, has, in the form of an “11 Point Plan to Save America”.

Several new articles have indicated that there is a fault Between both GOP leaders. But Scott, in a letter to supporters, accused the media to try to “divide and defeat the Republicans”.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, broke Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom's record in California.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, broke Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s record in California.

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images


DeSantis did not receive a campaign donation from Thiel, records show

As of May 2022, Thiel had an estimated net worth of $7.19 billion and was ranked 297th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Although Thiel praised DeSantis on Sunday, he did not give to the governor’s re-election efforts, according to a information document from his political action committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, and campaign finance disclosures from the state Division of Elections. The DeSantis campaign declined to comment on campaign donations.

DeSantis became one of America’s most famous Republicans and garnered more than $140 million for his re-election bid, an extraordinary sum for a governor’s race. Money puts it on the right track to break a national fundraising record.

GOP Senate candidates and Thiel’s proteges Blake Masters and JD Vance each received $15 million. Thiel has been also one of the Trumps biggest donors when it ran in 2016, and this cycle donated to at least 14 others House and Senate candidates aligned with MAGA. Thiel, who is openly gay, has also donated to politicians who have supported anti-LGBTQ rights policies.

Asked by Insider at NatCon if Thiel should donate to DeSantis’ campaign, Masters replied, “Sure.”

In mid-August, DeSantis campaigned with Masters and GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona. Masters said he has yet to meet DeSantis at the conference — the governor isn’t expected to speak until Sunday night.

“I think he’s great,” Masters said when asked about the impact DeSantis has had on the Republican Party. But Masters didn’t give a straight answer on whether he thinks DeSantis should run for president in 2024.

“We’ll see what he chooses to do,” Masters said.

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