Peter Thiel throwing his support behind presidential candidate Donald Trump is nothing new.
The Facebook investor and Founders Fund partner was a California delegate for Trump, and he spoke at the Republican National Convention in July.
But with the Republican candidate falling in the polls, thanks in part to the release of an 11-year-old “Access Hollywood” taped conversation in which Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women, Thiel stepped up his efforts. In mid-October, the billionaire tech investor and co-founder of PayPal pledged to donate $1.25 million to help fuel the Trump campaign.
Thiel’s actions drew criticism from many in the tech community, who have called for his removal from the board of Facebook and Y Combinator, where he’s a part-time adviser. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Thiel is staying, citing the importance of diversity of opinion at the company.
On Monday, Thiel again endorsed Trump when he spoke to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. Thiel acknowledged that Trump’s comments on the “Access Hollywood” video were “clearly offensive and inappropriate.”
But Thiel told the media that elite insiders were out of touch with ordinary Americans and that Trump was shaking up a system in need of change: “The truth is, no matter how crazy this election seems, it is less crazy than the condition of our country.”
Thiel then became a trending topic on social media.
Among those criticizing his remarks and support was Mark Suster, managing partner of Upfront Ventures and blogger at Both Sides of the Table.
Suster addressed Thiel in a blog on Tuesday when he wrote: “You don’t get to be ‘right’ about policy issues when you have been a race-baiting, misogynistic, intolerant demagogue. Trump is not a normal politician who can be rationalized.”
Below are select tweets in reference to Suster’s column and to Thiel’s address at the Press Club.
I’m not a politician. But neither is Donald Trump.
He is a builder, and it’s time to rebuild America.
— Peter Thiel (@Thiel3X) November 1, 2016
To be clear, most of us stopped working with Peter Thiel long before he supported Trump. But the Trump thing reminded us we got it right.
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) October 31, 2016
Peter Thiel may be the ultimate “hold your nose and vote” voter. Except more like “hold your nose and take my money” https://t.co/7h5AOaBc7M
— issie lapowsky (@issielapowsky) October 31, 2016
Peter Thiel: ‘What Trump represents isn’t crazy and it’s not going away’ https://t.co/5ceATqheWk
— CNBC (@CNBC) October 31, 2016
— The Week (@TheWeek) November 3, 2016
Mark Suster just put Peter Thiel in his place. Seriously worthy of your time. https://t.co/eWTgeWUZ6o
— Will Silverman (@WRSilverman) November 2, 2016
Mark Suster articulating well why Peter Thiel’s position is so abhorrent: https://t.co/m8VKDujvNI
— Einar Vollset (@einarvollset) November 1, 2016
Ben. I didn’t say Thiel doesn’t get his say. I’m saying he supported a race-baiting demagogue & it’s also my right to call him out for it https://t.co/cxTqog4VVb
— Mark Suster (@msuster) October 31, 2016
What I’ve learned from this so far is that Thiel is even more of a supporter of some of Trump’s more extreme positions that I thought.
— Arlan (@ArlanWasHere) October 31, 2016
Peter Thiel delivers his speech on the U.S. presidential election at the National Press Club in Washington on Oct. 31, 2016. Photo courtesy Reuters/Gary Cameron