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Cornerstone Xero investor Peter Thiel donating $US1.25 million to Trump

Xero investor continues down his contrarian path.

Sun, 16 Oct 2016

Tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel is donating $US1.25 million to Donald Trump, according to the New York Times (the Republican nominee needs it. According to the Times, he raised $US75 million in October to the Clinton campaign's $US150 million).

Mr Thiel — a founding investor in PayPal, the first outsider to put money into Facebook and a current major shareholder in Xero — raised eyebrows when he put his hand up to be a Trump delegate for California at the July Republican convention.

The move put the billionaire in the lonely position of being the only major Silicon Valley figure to support the decisive Republican nominee. Calls by Mr Trump for Apple to hand over its encryption keys to the state, and bring low-skilled, low-margin hardware assembly jobs back to the US have many in the tech sector up in arms.

But true to his contrarian form, Mr Thiel is doubling down rather than backing after the most recent Trump controversies (the latest being the New Yorker's insane call for drug-testing before the third debate).

So how did the openly gay Mr Thiel come to join Camp Trump, home of so much intolerant rhetoric and hate-chants at its rallies?

According to the Guardian, the entrepreneur is "very hawkish on immigration" and has previously donated $US1 million to Numbers USA, a group that lobbies for reduced intake.

It has been noted that there's some irony in Mr Trump lobbying for restrictions on immigration, given he is the grandson of an immigrant (albeit of course, not a black or Latino one).

The same could be said of Mr Thiel only more so, given he was born in West Germany, making him the latest in a long list of immigrants who have contributed to US domination of the tech industry that includes Andy Grove (Intel), Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX) and Sergey Brin (Google), among many others.

And that's not to mention the children of immigrants such as the Syrian Abdul Jandali, who foisted the layabout Steve Jobs on the Californian education system.

At a speech during the July Republican convention, Mr Thiel struck something of a first, telling the audience he was proud to be gay, but elsewhere covered the familiar populist territory mined by everyone from Bernie Sanders to Mr Trump this electoral cycle, saying "Across the country, wages are flat. Americans get paid less today than 10 years ago. But health care and college tuition cost more every year. Meanwhile, Wall Street bankers inflate bubbles in everything from government bonds to Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees. Our economy is broken. If you’re watching me right now, you understand this better than any politician in Washington DC.”

Outside of politics, Mr Thiel has also caused controversy (and perhaps set Mr Trump's heart a flutter) by bankrolling a lawsuit that forced media site Gawker out of business. 

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Cornerstone Xero investor Peter Thiel donating $US1.25 million to Trump