President-elect Donald Trump only had one high-profile supporter in Silicon Valley during the 2016 presidential campaign: Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder, Facebook director, and legendary venture investor.
And yet, Thiel is notoriously private, keeping much of his true rationale for supporting Trump to himself, even as he faced steep criticism from his colleagues in the technology community for his role in the election, and more recently, as part of Trump’s transition team.
Now, in a must-read new interview with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Thiel speaks candidly and clearly about how he views the world, nine days out from Trump’s inauguration. The entire interview is well worth your time, as a look inside the mind of Trump’s biggest advocate in Silicon Valley, but here are the 7 most revealing sentences:
- On reconciling being gay with the perception that Trump’s administration will pursue an anti-LGBT agenda: “You know, maybe I should be worried but I’m not that worried about it,” Thiel tells the Times. “I don’t know. People know too many gay people. There are just all these ways I think stuff has just shifted. For speaking at the Republican convention, I got attacked way more by liberal gay people than by conservative Christian people.
- On the concerns that Trump might provoke a war with his Twitter account: “A Twitter war is not a real war.”
- On the infamously vulgar Billy Bush tape: “On the one hand, the tape was clearly offensive and inappropriate. At the same time, I worry there’s a part of Silicon Valley that is hyper-politically correct about sex. One of my friends has a theory that the rest of the country tolerates Silicon Valley because people there just don’t have that much sex. They’re not having that much fun.”
- On whether Russia is behind the hacks on the Democratic National Committee: “There’s a strong circumstantial case that Russia did this thing. On the other hand, I was totally convinced that there were W.M.D.s in Iraq in 2002, 2003.”
- On Twitter’s role in the election: “I think the crazy thing is, at a place like Twitter, they were all working for Trump this whole year even though they thought they were working for Sanders.”
- On Hillary Clinton’s weakness: “”If you’re too optimistic, it sounds like you’re out of touch,” Thiel tells Dowd. “The Republicans needed a far more pessimistic candidate. Somehow, what was unusual about Trump is, he was very pessimistic but it still had an energizing aspect to it.”
- On whether or not he’ll regret his role in Trump’s election: “I always have very low expectations, so I’m rarely disappointed,” he says.