Far-right tech billionaire and Gawker Media arch-enemy Peter Thiel was probably the most highly anticipated speaker at the Republican National Convention.
He’s a legitimately successful guy! He sits on Facebook’s board! What reason could he possibly have for besmirching his name in decidedly anti-Trump Silicon Valley?
As it turned out, he didn’t say much that we didn’t already expect him to say. He made as enthusiastically milquetoast a pro-Trump argument as he could have. Still, the milquetoast Trump case includes calling LGBT civil liberties a "distraction" from real issues. Shortly after he said this, Thiel declared himself "proud to be gay."
"Fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline," Thiel said. "Nobody in this race is being honest about it, except Donald Trump."
"Drive out to Sacramento, or even just across the bridge to Oakland, & you won’t see the same prosperity" as in Silicon Valley - Peter Thiel— Steve Rhodes (@tigerbeat) July 22, 2016
Thiel avoided talking too much about his professional career, and he only brought up Silicon Valley to highlight its geographic proximity to Oakland and Sacramento, which he said did not have the "same prosperity" as the rest of the Valley.
According to the housing marketplace Zumper, Oakland is the fourth-most expensive real estate market in the country, and Sacramento is the thirtieth.
Nick Denton, the founder and CEO of Gawker Media (which Thiel has been attempting to destroy through a $10 million stealth legal campaign over the last decade), told Recode that Thiel did a good job of turning his usual shtick down a few notches.
Smart, moderate by comparison with other speakers, almost as if he's playing politics, editing himself, toning down the frankness, playing to the Valley as well as to the Trumpists. Let's hope he ventures a few more dangerous and interesting ideas at the Nietzschean summit next month. (See Towleroad.)
Arguably the biggest political point that Trump scored with putting Thiel onstage is that he gets to take credit for having the first-ever openly gay RNC speaker. A lot of people in the audience cheered when Thiel got to talking about that part.
Others did not.
Additional reporting by Peter Kafka.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.