Gay billionaire Peter Thiel is one of at least three openly gay Republicans named as Trump delegates. (Photo by Dan Taylor; courtesy Flickr)
Gay billionaire Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and board member of Facebook, is one of at least three openly gay Republicans picked by the campaign of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as delegates from California to the Republican National Convention.
Gay former Bush administration official and communications company owner Richard ‘Ric’ Grenell and former California Log Cabin Republicans Chairman and management consulting firm owner Charles Moran were also named by the Trump campaign as Trump delegates from California.
“The Trump campaign is making the right decision by actively including out LGBT delegates to participate in the convention,” said John Musella, the current chair of Log Cabin Republicans of California, an LGBT Republican group affiliated with the national Log Cabin Republicans organization.
“It’s a good sign for the future of the Republican Party,” Musella told the Washington Blade.
In a little-noticed development, the Trump campaign submitted the names of Thiel, Grenell, and Moran on May 9 to the California Secretary of State’s office as part of a list of more than 165 Trump delegate candidates. Most, including Thiel and Moran, were designated as delegates representing one of the state’s congressional districts.
If Trump wins in those districts in the state’s June 7 presidential primary, as expected, those named by the Trump campaign as delegate designees will become full-fledged delegates.
The Trump campaign designated Grenell as one of 10 statewide at-large delegates.
Musella said the Trump campaign invited him to become a delegate to represent Log Cabin Republicans of California, which is officially recognized by the California Republican Party. He said he had to decline the invitation because he is unable to attend the GOP convention in Cleveland.
According to Musella, the Trump campaign was considering naming gay Republican activist and former Carpinteria, Calif., City Council member Gregory Gandrud as an alternate delegate to represent the California Log Cabin group. Gandrud became the subject of news coverage in 2011 when he won election as the first openly gay member of the California Republican Party’s Board of Directors at the party’s annual convention.
Thiel’s LinkedIn page says he currently serves as managing partner of The Founders Fund, a company that provides venture capital and seed money to entrepreneurs. He also owns a separate company called Thiel Capital based in San Francisco.
Thiel didn’t immediately respond to a request by the Blade for comment on his selection as a Trump delegate.
Forbes magazine has reported that Thiel, a libertarian, was a large donor to 2012 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul and contributed money to Ted Cruz’s 2012 race for the U.S. Senate in Texas. He also contributed in 2015 to a political action committee raising money for the 2016 presidential candidacy of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Forbes reports.
Forbes reports that Thiel has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.
“It’s especially meaningful to have someone of Peter Thiel’s stature selected to be involved,” Musella told the Blade. “He’s a man who understands technology and business and what is needed in government and politics to make America a great place for entrepreneurs and innovators.”
Grenell served as spokesperson for the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. from 2001 to 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush. His website says he is the founding partner of Capitol Media Partners, a company that specializes in international strategic communications, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.
He also serves as a contributor to Fox News.
Moran’s LinkedIn page says he is principal owner of CTM Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in organizational management, fundraising for non-profit and political organizations and communications and media outreach.
He served as chair of Log Cabin Republicans of California from 2011 to August 2015.
According to Forbes, Thiel is one of the few Silicon Valley leaders who are backing Trump for president, with most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs speaking out loudly against Trump. Thiel’s fellow Facebook board member and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has come out against Trump’s candidacy.
And Keith Rabois, a friend and former colleague of Thiel’s at Facebook, has called Trump an “opportunistic liar,” Forbes reports.
Gregory Angelo, president of the national Log Cabin Republicans, told the Blade last month that his organization never endorses presidential candidates prior to the GOP convention. And although he said Log Cabin will seek out Trump’s positions on specific LGBT-related issues before deciding whether to endorse him, Angelo said Trump’s record on LGBT- and AIDS-related issues would make him the most LGBT-supportive Republican presidential candidate in U.S. history.
Donald Trump’s campaign has recruited at least three openly gay Republicans to serve as delegates. (Photo by andykatz; courtesy Bigstock)