Pay Pal co-founder Peter Thiel will likely go down as one of the most memorable speeches at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Not only did Thiel manage a speech that was clear and positive towards the party holding the convention, it also managed to take on one of the more divisive aspects of the Republican platform in recent years.
Thiel is openly gay, so many wondered how the speech would address the issue and if it would be received by the convention crowd. It could not have gone much better:
“Now We are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?
“Of course, every American has a unique identity, I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American. 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.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 22, 2016
The RNC crowd gave Thiel a standing ovation for his speech and many of the pundits on cable news were surprised by the reaction, noting that it could be the kind of open door the party needs to change their position on the issue. Others online were split by his comments and also questioned his true reasons for supporting a party that is historically against same-sex activities:
Theil also spoke on the lack of progress in technology for the United States government, citing the nation’s nuclear arsenal being controlled by floppy disks and our many missteps with our fighter jet technology.
What can’t be denied is the savvy nature of the speech, especially compared to the bluster and controversy from the prior days.