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Jessica Mathews

Why Peter Thiel won’t fund any of the 2024 presidential candidates

man in suit jacket (Credit: Stephanie Keith—Getty Images)

Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and venture capital firm Founders Fund, has branded himself as a Republican megadonor over the last decade.

He was a major donor to former President Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign in 2016 (and was appointed to Trump’s transition committee that same year). And last year, Thiel made $35.4 million in federal contributions—all to Republicans, according to OpenSecrets, making him among one of the 10 largest donors of 2022.

But now he’s taking a step back. In an interview with me, I asked him why. Here’s what he said:

Thiel, who has said little publicly of his plans until now, told Fortune in an interview that he will be “less involved” in the forthcoming presidential election, though he does intend to vote for the Republican candidate. And he confirmed for the first time an earlier report that, citing sources familiar with his thinking, he would not financially support any of the candidates.

Thiel said that while there were “a lot of different, complicated reasons” for his decision not to donate, he isn’t convinced that money matters at the presidential level. 

“They’ll get their message out or they will not get it out,” Thiel said. “They will convince people or they will not convince people. And an extra $1 million or $10 million does not make any difference.”

Following the interview, Thiel provided an additional statement to Fortune saying that he was “unpersuaded that this election will focus on the issue that matters most: ending our decades-long technological and economic stagnation.”

Thiel, who is known for cofounding PayPal and being Facebook’s earliest investor, wouldn’t specify which candidate he intends to vote for at this time. “I’ll vote for the Republican,” he said.

You can read the full story here.

In case you missed it…It’s only Wednesday and, well, it’s hard to keep up with everything going on. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading this week:

Is David Solomon Too Big a Jerk to Run Goldman Sachs?

Chamath Palihapitiya’s Venture Firm Offered to Sell Hundreds of Startup Stakes

Citadel Vets 69,000 Intern Applicants to Find Next Math Geniuses

TechCrunch acquires StrictlyVC, appoints Connie Loizos to lead

How Vivek Ramaswamy Made the Fortune Fueling His Presidential Run

And a shameless plug: Peter Thiel launched a student newspaper 36 years ago. It has since become one of the surest paths to success in Silicon Valley

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
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Joe Abrams curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

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