The tech industry has expressed its disdain for Donald Trump on numerous occasions, but PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is one of the few within the sector to support the Republican. Now, the Facebook investor is throwing his considerable financial backing behind Trump by donating $1.25 million to his campaign.
As Trump comes under more fire for his past comments and behavior toward women, Thiel has been uncharacteristically quiet when it comes to defending the property magnate. There were even suggestions that he may have decided to end his support for Trump, but a New York Times report suggests otherwise. Citing “a person close to the investor,” the publication states the money will be donated “through a combination of super PAC donations and funds given directly to [Trump’s] campaign.”
Despite endorsing Trump when he was a speaker at the Republican National Convention earlier this year, Thiel said he had no plans to donate any of his $2.7 billion net worth to the presidential candidate's campaign. But it appears that the recent scandal has encouraged him to show his support by reaching for the chequebook.
Many in the tech world have reacted angrily to the news of the donation. There have been calls for start-up incubator Y Combinator, where Thiel is a part-time partner, to cut ties with the billionaire. Company president Sam Altman said he is “not going to fire someone for supporting a major party nominee,” and that doing so would be a “dangerous road to start down.”
3) Thiel is a high profile supporter of Trump. I disagree with this. YC is not going to fire someone for supporting a major party nominee.— Sam Altman (@sama) October 17, 2016
As noted by Re/Code, Crowdpac says that the tech industry has donated almost $8 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the largest amount - $335,000 – coming from Google, while Trump had received just $300,000 before Thiel’s gift.
While not giving to the Clinton campaign directly, Facebook and Asana co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna, pledged $20 million to several organizations supporting the Democratic candidate last month, including the Hillary Victory Fund.