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Peter Thiel says Ron DeSantis would ‘make a terrific president’

A composite image of Peter Thiel, holding up cash, and Ron DeSantis, pointing while smiling.Peter Thiel and Ron DeSantis.

Marco Bello/Getty Images; Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Peter Thiel says Ron DeSantis would “make a terrific president.” 
  • “If he’s the Republican nominee, I will strongly support him in 2024,” Thiel said.
  • Thiel was, in 2016, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump.

GOP megadonor Peter Thiel thinks Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would “make a terrific president.” 

“If he’s the Republican nominee, I will strongly support him in 2024,” Thiel told podcast host Bari Weiss in an episode of the “Honestly” podcast on Wednesday. “But I do worry that focusing on the woke issue as ground zero is not quite enough.”

The war on “woke” has been one of DeSantis’ key talking points. The governor has promoted Florida as the state “where woke goes to die.” He’s also been entangled in a long-drawn battle against Disney and targeted drag queens in his fight against liberal ideas.

During the podcast, Thiel said he thinks “it’s necessary to defeat the woke mind virus,” but that there are also bigger issues that must be addressed, like runaway inflation. The “woke mind virus” refers to an oft-parroted GOP talking point about “woke” politics, an anti-liberal argument that Elon Musk has also trotted out.

Thiel’s support of DeSantis comes at a welcome time for the governor.

In April, GOP megadonor Thomas Peterffy said he wouldn’t give money to DeSantis over the governor’s stance on abortion and his book bans in Florida. And in April, a group of DeSantis donors slammed DeSantis and insulted him in a private chat group, per screenshots obtained by Rolling Stone.

DeSantis does still have his share of powerful backers. Robert Bigelow, a UFO-loving Las Vegas hotel mogul, vowed to “go without food” if that was necessary to fund DeSantis’ 2024 run.

DeSantis has not announced a 2024 presidential bid yet, but is viewed as the main Republican challenger to former President Donald Trump. Thiel was one of Trump’s most prominent donors in 2016 — and a vociferous Trump supporter — but he told The New York Times in 2018 that Trump had “fallen short” as president. 

Thiel did not elaborate in the podcast on whether he plans to give money to DeSantis in the 2024 election cycle.

However, two sources close to Thiel told Reuters last week that Thiel does not plan to donate to any political candidates in 2024 because he’s unhappy with the GOP’s stance on abortion and bathrooms for transgender students.

One Reuters source, a Thiel business associate, also said Thiel believes the GOP is wrongly focusing on culture wars and not addressing pressing concerns, like the America’s competitive edge against China. 

Representatives for DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider