Tech investment kingpin Peter Thiel has been one of the few Silicon Valley heavyweights to openly support President Donald Trump, but behind closed doors has referred to the current administration as “incompetent,” according to BuzzFeed News.
Regarding the Trump White House, Thiel said to a friend in January, according to the report: “There is a 50 percent chance this whole thing ends in disaster.” But his private comments belie his public support for the 45th president.
Thiel attended Trump’s inauguration in January, and recently said the president was off to a “terrific start” during a tech roundtable hosted by the White House. He famously backed Trump in his speech at the Republican National Convention last year, saying “nobody in this race is being honest” about America’s wavering economy “except Donald Trump.”
After co-founding PayPal in 1999, Thiel shrewdly parlayed his fortune into investments in Facebook and SpaceX. Now, some in his inner circle see his support for Trump as another calculated bet. “He saw an opportunity to help somebody, who was not a sure thing, and get in on the ground floor,” said a friend of Thiel to BuzzFeed.
His optimism for Trump has since waned, with Thiel questioning whether Trump would win a reelection bid in 2020. Still, Thiel has not publicly walked back his support for the President, even though he didn’t deny the veracity of the report.
“The night he won the election, I said President Trump would face an awesomely difficult task,” Thiel said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “Today it’s clear that resistance to change in Washington, D.C. has been even fiercer than I anticipated. We still need change. I support President Trump in his ongoing fight to achieve it.”
Thiel did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.