Tom Cotton at the Rosewood

Theodore Schleifer
July 27, 2021

Tom Cotton, a possible 2024 presidential contender, is coming to Silicon Valley to pass the hat. Tickets are $2,500 or $5,000 a seat. “Seating extremely limited,” according to the invite.

Cotton does have some Silicon Valley appeal as the Republican Party’s leading anti-China hawk (second perhaps to the former president) in an industry that is home to pockets of intense Sino-skepticism. And yet there is indeed an inherent irony to the specter of Cotton, who is one of the G.O.P.’s loudest critics of the likes of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, sitting down to dine with a cohort that is almost sure to feature some potential benefactors at least associated with the tech giants. This rendezvous is all the funnier given that the site is the Rosewood, which is the closest thing that Silicon Valley has to a Capitol Building—a consummate insider’s club within walking distance from Andreessen Horowitz on Sand Hill Road, a watering hole for striving V-necked V.C.s by day and striving cougars by night.

It seemed unlikely that a morning fundraiser would be the only thing on Cotton’s calendar if he was flying all the way to this time zone. I wondered: is he in town, perhaps, to once again bash Gavin Newsom, who will face a recall election just a few weeks after the fundraiser, before the window closes for scoring those headlines? Or maybe Cotton wants to meet with Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor who cut him a max-out check last year and still spends some time in the Bay Area?

Cotton’s team didn’t return a request for comment, but I made some other calls. Thiel isn’t involved with the trip, I’m told. But in addition to the breakfast fundraiser, Cotton has a luncheon in San Francisco, and then an evening blowout event in Incline Village (less generously known as Income Village), just across the Nevada border on Lake Tahoe. Should raise a pretty penny.

And here’s a 2024 tea leaf: A special guest at that final evening Cotton event? None other than Silicon Valley favorite Ron DeSantis. It’s not every day that you see one possible presidential candidate actively fundraising for a likely rival.