You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Peter Thiel Tells Republican Convention that America Needs a Tech Upgrade His support of Trump has been both a source of curiosity and the butt of jokes in Silicon Valley.

By Reuters

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on Reuters

Reuters | Jonathan Ernst
Peter Thiel

Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel, the only big-name supporter of Donald Trump from the country's technology hub, spoke on Thursday at the Republican National Convention to urge the country to discard petty cultural battles and turn its attention to solving the United States' economic decline.

Thiel offered a full-throated endorsement of Trump, echoing the Republican candidate's themes of economic decline while lambasting economic and foreign policies that have allowed the country to get embroiled in "stupid wars."

"Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can't even fly in the rain," Thiel said on the final evening of the four-day convention in Cleveland.

"Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East."

A co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook Inc. who sits on that company's board of directors, Thiel is well-known for contrarian and even eccentric views: a Libertarian who supports gay rights and legalizing marijuana, and who has proposed floating cities beyond the government's reach while encouraging students to drop out of college and start companies.

His support of Trump has been both a source of curiosity and the butt of jokes in Silicon Valley, where Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-trade positions are regarded with horror. Many tech executives lean Democratic, and prominent Republican tech executives such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman have also rejected Trump.

Thiel, who is gay, was expected to address gay rights in front of a political party whose platform rejects gay marriage and gay rights in general. He stopped short of such an appeal, however, addressing his sexuality only when saying: "I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American."

He is only the second openly gay man to address the Republican National Convention, CNN reported.

"When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union, and we won," Thiel said. "Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?"

Thiel said his support for Trump was based on the belief that the candidate could address the country's economic decline. He cited the space program and other government technology achievements as examples of what has been lost.

Thiel drew parallels between himself and Trump each as a "builder."

His family emigrated from Germany when Thiel was one year old, and arrived in Cleveland -- the city hosting this week's convention. When Thiel pointed that out, he got loud applause.

Back then, Thiel said, "Opportunity was everywhere."

"In 1968, the world's high-tech capital wasn't just one city. All of America was high-tech."

(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Jonathan Oatis)

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Making a Change

Learn to Play Guitar Even if You Have No Previous Training for Just $20

Start with the beginner's crash course and learn how to play guitar in no time.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Here's One Thing Americans Would Take a Pay Cut For — Besides Remote Work

An Empower survey found a high percentage of respondents would take a pay cut for better retirement benefits and remote work options.