Report: Peter Thiel cutting Trump loose because of COVID-19 crisis

  • Peter Thiel is backing away from supporting Trump’s re-election campaign, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
  • Thiel has been Trump’s most high-profile ally in Silicon Valley.
  • Sources said Thiel thinks Trump’s re-election campaign is doomed to fail because of the economic damage done by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Donald Trump’s most vocal supporter in Silicon Valley, Peter Thiel, has reportedly lost faith that Trump can win the 2020 election.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal the Paypal cofounder has said he will not participate in this year’s re-election campaign like he did in 2016, because he thinks it’s increasingly unlikely Trump can win.

Although he may still vote for Trump, Thiel has not donated any money to the campaign thus far and doesn’t plan to, the sources said. He also doesn’t plan to speak at the Republican convention this year, they added.

Thiel’s comments were made during private conversations in recent weeks at his house in Hawaii, according to the Journal. Thiel cited the economic impact of the pandemic as a reason why Trump will struggle, as he believes the US will be in a deep recession with double-digit unemployment figures during campaigning.

One source said Thiel compared the Trump campaign to the “S.S. Minnow,” the boat from “Gilligan’s Island” that ends up stranded on the beach. Thiel said he will instead funnel his money into supporting Republican candidates for the House and the Senate, the source added.

Thiel did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment, and a spokesman for the Trump campaign said Thiel remains a Trump supporter.

Thiel is one of Trump’s closest allies in Silicon Valley. Thiel has attended private dinners between the president and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Thiel’s data analytics company Palantir has worked closely with the government. Palantir worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE, and in April it signed a $25 million contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to build a platform for tracking the spread of the coronavirus.

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