President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly alienated Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire who was one of the Republican’s few supporters in Silicon Valley.
Thiel, who made his fortune as co-founder of PayPal and one of Facebook’s earliest investors, has been ‘s***-talking’ the president over what he views as his botched management of the coronavirus crisis, sources close to the billionaire venture capitalist have told The Daily Beast.
The tech magnate also has not donated significant sums of money to Trump’s re-election effort even though he publicly stated in 2018 that he supports the president in his bid for another term in the White House.
One member of the president’s inner circle told The Daily Beast that Thiel has ‘ghosted’ Trump associates.
President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been met with disapproval by Peter Thiel, who was one of the few Silicon Valley figures to support his candidacy in 2016. Thiel is seen right with then-President-elect Trump and then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence in New York in December 2016
Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump. He is seen above at the convention in Cleveland in July 2016
Thiel has also reportedly criticized Trump in private conversations with confidants in recent months.
Instead of donating money to the president, Thiel is now said to be considering limiting his financial support to other prominent Republicans like Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri.
In 2017, Thiel donated $5,400 to Hawley’s campaign, which is the most allowable by law, according to The Daily Beast.
When a Trump campaign official was asked if Thiel had engaged the president’s team on any meaningful initiatives for the 2020 re-election effort, they replied: ‘He ghosted us.
‘If anything [new] has happened, I haven’t heard about it.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Thiel, the White House, and the Trump campaign for comment.
This isn’t the first time that Thiel has reportedly expressed reservations about Trump.
In August 2017, just seven months after the president took office, Thiel told confidants that the administration was ‘incompetent’ and that he feared Trump’s presidency would ‘end in disaster,’ according to BuzzFeed News.
Thiel’s chilliness toward Trump stands in sharp contrast to the billionaire entrepreneur’s enthusiastic embrace of the president that stretched even before he won the election in 2016.
He was virtually alone among tech giants in supporting Trump, whose anti-immigration rhetoric was at odds with views widely held by Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, and others.
Thiel, whose net worth is valued by Forbes at $2.3billion, even spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in the summer of 2016.
Thiel’s data-mining venture, Palantir, has benefited from billions of dollars in government contracts.
Thiel was reportedly frustrated by the president’s appearances at his White House coronavirus briefings. Trump is seen center alongside Dr. Deborah Birx (left) and Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) at the White House on Friday
In March, Palantir won an $80million contract to build a logistics management system for the US Navy’s warships and aircraft, according to The Washington Post.
In February, Palantir won an $823million contract to provide software to the Pentagon.
The firm has longstanding ties to some of the country’s most feared intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Palantir is also working with the Trump administration during the current pandemic to help the government build a ‘single source’ database that would help mitigate the effects of the spread of the coronavirus, according to The Daily Beast.
The ‘Protect Now’ platform unveiled by the Department of Health and Human Services uses data from across federal, state, and local governments as well as health care facilities and colleges in order to help the administration to better ‘mitigate and prevent spread’ of COVID-19.
Despite the ties between Thiel and the administration, however, the billionaire was reportedly ‘frustrated’ with the president’s performance, particularly during his coronavirus briefings.
Trump’s briefings raised questions about the president’s ability to lead the country during a time of crisis, particularly after the sessions descended into tense back-and-forth exchanges with the press.
The president also gave conflicted messaging about following social distancing guidelines while urging supporters to ‘liberate’ states that imposed lockdowns in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Trump also has touted a drug used to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine, as a possible cure for COVID-19, though this claim has been refuted by medical experts.
The president also drew widespread ridicule when he suggested that bleach or disinfectant cleaner can be used to rid the body of the virus. Trump later insisted he was being sarcastic.
As of Sunday, more than 1.5 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19. The national death toll is also approaching 90,000.
The administration is facing criticism after reports surfaced indicating that the president ignored dire warnings from top officials about the approaching pandemic.
Trump has denied the reports.
The crisis has left the economy in the worst shape it’s been in since the Great Depression with tens of millions of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.