PayPal co-founder and tech financier Peter Thiel – declaring at the Republican National Convention that he was "proud to be gay" – warned Thursday against allowing "fake culture wars" to "distract" the nation from "our economic decline."
The Silicon Valley financier had delegates cheering on the last night of the Cleveland convention not only for his gay pride proclamation, but that he "proud to be a Republican, but most of all, I am proud to be an American."
"Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom," Thiel said, referring to the debate over laws restricting the use of bathrooms by transgender people.
"This a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?" he said to applause from delegates.
"Of course, every American has a unique identity," he added.
"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."
it's believed Thiel's declaration was a first at an RNC convention,
But he's not the first gay person to speak at a GOP convention; former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe spoke at the 2000 convention, though he didn't acknowledge his homosexuality, NPR reports.
Earlier this year, Thiel made headlines as the sponsor of Hulk Hogan's lawsuit
against news and gossip site Gawker, which outed Thiel as gay in 2007.
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