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PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s anticipated speech on Thursday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland earned him a thunderous applause from Republicans in attendance. His message, however, got a different reaction from his Silicon Valley followers.
A luminary in tech and business, Thiel’s message that implied that his industry may be wrong in opposing a particular candidate, has struck a chord in Silicon Valley, CNN reported.
“My industry has made a lot of progress in computers and in software — and of course it’s made a lot of money. But Silicon Valley is a small place,” Thiel said in his speech. “Drive out to Sacramento or even across the bridge to Oakland and you won’t see the same prosperity.”
The billionaire venture capitalist and philanthropist further explained why a “builder” like Trump is better equipped to “rebuild America” than Hillary Clinton, whom he described as “incompetent.”
Another highlight of his speech, was his pronouncement of him being “proud to be gay,” which was received with a standing ovation. His speech was immediately followed by the recently proclaimed presidential bet Donald Trump.
In his speech, Trump expressed his support for the LGBTQ community by citing the recent attack at an Orlando gay nightclub that killed 49 people. “As president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
Thiel’s high profile endorsement of the Republican nominee has left many tech industry insiders baffled. Trump has been a very vocal critic of many Silicon Valley leaders.
“Peter doesn’t speak for me. Doesn’t speak for 150+ of my peers. And doesn’t speak for most of tech community,” tweeted Hunter Walk, a former YouTube executive.
….so Peter doesn’t speak for me. Doesn’t speak for 150+ of my peers. And doesn’t speak for most of tech community https://t.co/Bc6EmSNjyx
— Hunter Walk (@hunterwalk) July 22, 2016
Venture capitalist Marc Andressen, gave his two cents as well:
This is the thing I most don’t understand. Peter really does believe Trump is anti-war. https://t.co/uN53stqD95
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) July 22, 2016
“If there’s any one principle Peter has, it’s going against the conventional grain,” Joe Green, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur told CNN. “The universal consensus in Silicon Valley is Donald Trump is bad for the country in many ways. I didn’t hear him argue why that’s not true.”
Green pointed out that while Thiel’s announcement about himself a proud gay Republican was “great,” it did not go well with Trump’s usual “race-bating, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim” rhetoric.
Product Hunt social editor Niv Dror, who praised parts of Peter’s speech as “inspiring and powerful” was admittedly disappointed with his choice of candidate. “Hearing him endorse Trump as the nominee, though, feels disconnected from what Silicon Valley believes in.”