Peter Thiel’s support of Donald Trump has been the subject of speculation and condemnation since rumors of his speech at the Republican National Convention first began to fly, and has only increased since Thiel agreed to donate $1.25 million to the Trump campaign.
Thiel plans to address the controversy, a spokesperson said, in an Oct. 31 speech in Washington, D.C. It will be the first time Thiel has publicly discussed his support of the GOP presidential candidate since the RNC, when he praised Trump as an economic leader. Thiel likened Trump to Silicon Valley leaders, calling him a “builder” and saying he would stamp out “incompetence” in government.
Although Thiel and Trump appear aligned on a number of issues, the PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor also vaguely distanced himself from some of Trump’s views, saying, “I don’t pretend to agree with every plan in our party’s platform.”
It’s possible that Thiel will use his speech as an opportunity to clarify which exact plans he agrees with, and which he opposes — or to double down on his support for Trump in a final push before Election Day.
Thiel’s beliefs have been a subject of debate, with activists calling for Facebook and Y Combinator to distance their organizations from him. Ellen Pao of Project Include said her organization, which promotes diversity in the tech industry, would sever ties with Y Combinator if it did not remove Thiel as a part-time partner. Y Combinator president Sam Altman said he opposes Trump but that Thiel’s views represent an important diversity of opinion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also reportedly sticking by his early investor and long-time board member.