Tech Insider Explains Why Some In Silicon Valley Are Turning To Trump

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Jun 15, 2024 - 12:10 PM

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock, Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO—Jacob Helberg didn’t start out as a big fan of former President Donald Trump.

In his 2021 book, “The Wires of War,” Mr. Helberg detailed his concerns about the former president, during and after his first administration when he was working on disinformation and foreign interference at Google.

“After Biden’s victory, millions of Americans—egged on by Trump—indulged in unwarranted conspiracy theories claiming that Trump had in fact won,” wrote Mr. Helberg, at that time the co-chair of the Brookings Institution’s China Strategy Initiative, when describing efforts in Silicon Valley to fight what he called “domestic disinformation.”

He was a bundler for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential run during the 2020 cycle.

Yet in recent weeks, Mr. Helberg, now an adviser to Palantir CEO Alex Karp, has come forward as a vocal supporter of former President Trump. In May, the Washington Post publicized his $1 million donation to the Trump campaign.

I am far from ruling out additional support for President Trump,” Mr. Helberg told The Epoch Times.

In 2020, many of President Joe Biden’s biggest supporters came from Big Tech. They included Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, and Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. Many tech millionaires and billionaires are supporting him again in 2024. Vinod Khosla, of Khosla Ventures, hosted a fundraiser for President Biden in May. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s former chief executive, held a reception for him, too.

This time, though, the former president seems to be gaining ground in the tech world, including through high-profile donations like Mr. Helberg’s.

The tech insider dismissed the recent guilty verdict against the former president in New York, saying the trial was “widely regarded as a sham.”

The conviction seemed more like a vengeful act,” Mr. Helberg said.

When asked why he had changed his mind about the former president, Mr. Helberg drew attention to the Obama administration’s approach to China—what he called “a policy of managed decline”—as well as the “woke wave of 2020,” which he said has come to dominate the party he once favored.

A Trend in Tech

While Mr. Helberg has been especially outspoken, he’s part of a larger movement in some parts of the tech world.

Current and former “Palantirians” like Mr. Helberg, as well as others connected to the world of defense tech, are among those backing the former president in an industry that is sometimes hostile to Republicans.

The Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on April 27, 2022. Billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, reached an agreement to purchase the social media platform for $44 billion. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

During the 2022 midterms, the vast majority of donations from employees of Twitter, now X, went to Democrats.

Compared to many other tech companies, Palantir is more evenly divided between the two main parties. An analysis from Open Secrets found that about 56 percent of Congressional donations associated with Palantir went to Democrats, while about 40 percent went to Republicans.

Anduril Industries was cofounded by a team from Palantir. Anduril cofounder Palmer Luckey, whose sister is married to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), has long been a prominent supporter of former President Trump and other Republican politicians. He co-hosted a sold-out fundraiser at which the former president spoke, in Newport Beach, California, on June 8.

Venture capitalist David Sacks, who previously backed the presidential campaigns of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., co-hosted a tech world Trump fundraiser of his own on June 6 alongside one of his “All In” podcast co-hosts, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya. In the past, Mr. Palihapitiya donated large sums to Democrats—for example, $1 million to the Senate Majority PAC.

On a May 31 episode of “All In,” he claimed that President Biden had not responded to an invitation to appear on that program. The White House has not responded to a request for confirmation of that claim.

“I’ve donated to Bobby Kennedy. I’ve donated to the Democrats massively. And I’ll donate to Donald Trump. And if there’s an opportunity to talk to President Biden and really understand where he’s at, I’d donate to him as well,” Mr. Palihapitiya said.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s ties to the tech world also include his running mate, Silicon Valley attorney Nicole Shanahan, who has also donated large sums to the campaign. The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, voiced support for Mr. Kennedy in 2023.

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