Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos weighed in on the controversy surrounding billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel’s support of Donald Trump during an interview at Vanity Fair’s conference on Thursday.
“Peter Thiel is a contrarian,” he told the crowd. “And you have to remember that contrarians are usually wrong.”
Bezos has been vocal about his opposition to the idea of a Trump presidency — including suggesting that he can send the candidate to space with his rocket company Blue Origin — and his comment about Thiel was in response to a question about the PayPal cofounder’s recent $1.25 million donation to Trump and position on Facebook’s board.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote an internal memo to employees explaining that Thiel won’t be kicked off the company’s board because “we care about diversity.”
While Bezos and Zuckerberg have both been clear about their differences with Thiel’s political leanings, Bezos said he wouldn’t kick Thiel off Amazon’s board either if he were put in Facebook’s position.
“It’s way too divisive to say if you have an opinion, you can’t sit on my board,” Bezos said on Thursday. “That makes no sense.”
Bezos did express contrition, though, over not taking Trump’s early threats to the Washington Post seriously enough when he first started making them. When Trump attacked the Post’s reporting on his taxes, Bezos jokingly tweeted that he would reserve him a seat on the next Blue Origin rocket, and included the hashtag “#sendDonaldtospace”
Now, he says, he wish he had taken Trump’s opposition more seriously from the beginning.
“One of the things that makes this country as amazing as it is, we are allowed to criticise and scrutinize our elected leaders. There are other countries where if you criticise the elected leader you may go to jail, or worse, disappear.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.