Peter Thiel made a passionate argument Monday that the United States needs a Donald Trump presidency to correct the plight of the average American.
Thiel, a billionaire tech investor known for his contrarian nature, has stirred controversy in Silicon Valley with his endorsement of Trump.
Thiel pushed back against critics, arguing that the struggles of the common man are a signal of failed leadership in Washington. Thiel pointed to the fact that median wages for the average American have been flat for decades. He described the United States as a “broken system,” and noted that nearly half of Americans lacked the savings to pay a $400 bill in an emergency.
“Most Americans don’t live by the [Washington] Beltway or San Francisco Bay. Most have not been a part of that prosperity,” Thiel said. “What Trump represents isn’t crazy and it’s not going away.”
Thiel also distanced himself from Trump’s controversial remarks about women, calling them clearly offensive and inappropriate.
“I don’t agree with everything Donald Trump has said and done. I don’t think the other millions of people voting either do,” said Thiel, who has pledged $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign. “We’re voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed.”
Thiel argued that Trump is right on free trade and its impact on average Americans as factories and jobs have gone overseas. He criticized the country’s large trade deficit, and history of expensive wars such as Iraq.
The investor pointed to the Manhattan Project and Interstate Highway Systems as examples of when the U.S. government was more effective.
“This is the first time I’ve done something that’s conventional,” Thiel said of endorsing Trump. “It didn’t feel contrarian.”
Thiel also defended his role as the benefactor of Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media. The lawsuit forced Gawker into bankruptcy where it was purchased by Univision, which shut down the flagship site.
Thiel said he isn’t underwriting any other lawsuits against news organizations and dismissed the notion that his efforts set a dangerous precedent.
Instead, he stressed that the legal system is cost prohibitive for many.
“One of the striking things is if you’re middle class, if you’re upper middle class, if you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system. It costs too much.”
—Tom Kludt contributed to this report.