In what appears to be his second New York Times profile in the span of a year, Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder, Facebook board member and venture capitalist, defends his support for President Donald Trump, saying that although Trump hadn't yet followed through with everything he'd promised (notably Trump has made no effort to reduce American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan) he's still been way better than Clinton or a moderate Republican would've been.
Thiel, who recently decided to move his company and his primary place of residence to Los Angeles to avoid the "groupthink" in Silicon Valley, told the Times that he's support for the president is undiminished, and that he still has access to Trump, whom he famously impressed with his speech at the Republican National Convention, "any time I want."
The investor said he had last spoken to the president "a few months ago."
"We don't talk that often but i have access to him any time I want," Thiel said.
The Trump whom Mr. Thiel touted at the Republican convention was a candidate who would "end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country," move us past "fake culture wars" and start projects the equivalent of the Apollo space program. That does not seem ot be the president he got.
"There are all these ways that things have fallen short," Mr. Thiel said. But he said he had no regrets about his endorsement. "It's still better than Hillary Clinton or the Republican zombies," he said, referring to the other candidates.
Thiel said he isn't planning on leaving Facebook's board, and that he has no plans to quit. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg hasn't asked Thiel to resign, adding that the anger being turned on Facebook today is reminiscent of the anger that bubbled up during the campaign - it's an anger directed at what Thiel called "tech arrogance."
He added that the Trump campaign slogan - "Make America Great Again" - was one of the greatest political slogans ever.
"Remember when Trump said the election was going to be rigged" People said that was crazy 0 'How dare you question the integrity of the electoral process?' That was the view of most of the people working at Facebook, too," he said. "They did not think things were so hackable. It was a mistake, but an understandable mistake." Facebook declined to comment.
"The Trump campaign slogan, 'Make America Great Again,' was perhaps the single most offensive thing you could say to Silicon Valley," he said "Silicon Valley says the future is going to be better than the past. That is the propaganda, if you will."
Typically, it benefits society when companies have priorities aside from just earning money, Thiel said. But in Silicon Valley, the do-gooder instinct has run amok, and is arguably doing more harm than good now.
"Having some ambition that transcends just making money is a critical thing for a company," he said. "But there is some point where it gets crazy and self-delusional." He added that the companies are probably in some trouble - maybe it's a little, maybe it's a lot." The prospect of government regulation looms.
Circling back to his recent move to Los Angeles, Thiel once again employed this too-much-of-a-good-thing logic.
"Networks effects are very positive things, but there's a tipping point where they fall over into the madness of crowds," he said.
When asked about his pursuit of Gawker, Thiel defended his financing of Hulk Hogan's lethal lawsuit against the company. When asked if it's true that he's still trying to get Gawker's archives removed from the Internet, he answered that this isn't his goal - he's simply trying to help Hogan recover all of his award.
"I don't want the archives. I don't think it makes sense to destroy them. Preserve them, study them instead."