Peter Thiel to be a California delegate for Donald Trump

Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and longtime tech investor, will be a California delegate for presidential hopeful Donald Trump at the Republican Convention, the Sacramento Bee reported.

It is unclear if Thiel’s appearance on the list of Trump’s 172 Golden State delegates who will be heading to Cleveland this summer means he is also going to support Trump’s campaign.

But if so, Thiel would be the most prominent tech notable to back Trump, who has been critical of the industry. A spokesman for Thiel declined to comment.

Co-founder of both PayPal and Palantir, Thiel is an openly gay man, who has supported gay rights. He has also backed pro-marijuana state ballot initiatives.

Beyond his tech and business savvy, what Thiel is also known for is giving money to politicians and their backers — a lot of it. His favored candidates tend to be a mixture of libertarians and Republicans.

Thiel donated $2.6 million to a Ron Paul super PAC in 2012.  Last year, he gave $2 million to Carly for America, also a super PAC, according to OpenSecrets. He also supported Meg Whitman’s 2010 bid for governor for California and Ted Cruz‘s 2012 Senate campaign.

Fiorina, who was tapped to be Cruz’s running mate, and Whitman have been particularly critical of Trump.

Thiel’s name on the delegate list raises the possibility that Trump might have a supporter who isn’t afraid to write checks. That is timely given that this week, Trump said he will seek help from the Republican party to raise funds for his presidential campaign.

Thiel, who according to Forbes’ real-time net worth tracker is worth $2.7 billion, was also an early Facebook investor. Last week, Thiel unloaded more than 857,000 Facebook shares worth about $100 million, according to a securities filing.

Thiel’s views are, as Quartz puts it, “the extreme end of Silicon Valley’s peculiar mix of anti-establishment ethos and elitism.”

His Thiel Fellowship give fellowships to young people to drop out of college and pursue their interests. He backed for awhile the Seasteading Institute, which would have created a manmade island free of government interference.

If Thiel does support Trump’s campaign, it might signal that there are others in the Valley who will follow. Who might be next?

Photo: Peter Thiel. (John Green/ Bay Area News Group)


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  • Mark Metzler

    The Republicans selected Trump…not because they liked him, but because none of the other candidates had a chance to win. Kasich was largely unknown, and Cruz would have never appealed to any constituency, other than secluded, racist, fundamentalists, flat-earthers in remote southern states.

    But Trump has such demagogic powers, that he can make up anything ‘on the fly’, and nobody cares, or even remembers that what he said was illogical, because of his super-star glitz and bravado.

    All the Republicans want, is someone who can capture the White house, so they can immediately dismantle social security and medicare….so the rich like Thiel, no longer have to pay their fair share of taxes, to compensate for all the money that was blown, on the unending war in Iraq.