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Culture

Peter Thiel's Trump endorsement streams on YouTube

The Facebook board member and venture capitalist defends his political endorsement in an interview at the National Press Club.

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Tasos Katopodis, WireImage

After making waves for endorsing and donating to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Facebook board member and venture capitalist Peter Thiel live-streamed a defense of his actions on YouTube.

During an appearance Monday at the National Press Club, Thiel reiterated his support for the Republican presidential candidate, arguing the nominee had tapped into a wellspring of discontent across the country.

"What Trump represents isn't crazy," Thiel said. "It isn't going away."

Thiel's support of Trump puts him at odds with much of Silicon Valley. Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, pledged $20 million to help the election of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other members of her party. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman offered to donate up to $5 million if Trump released his tax returns, something the real estate mogul hasn't done.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Thiel's support of Trump after the venture capitalist came under fire for pledging $1.25 million to Trump's campaign.

Thiel, a Libertarian, acknowledged at the press club that Trump isn't a perfect candidate, but suggested the media often treats him unfairly.

"The media has always taken Trump literally, but not seriously," Thiel said, whereas supporters take him seriously but not literally.

Thiel was also asked about a lawsuit against the media site Gawker that he funded. The lawsuit ultimately resulted in Gawker's bankruptcy, raising questions as to whether wealthy individuals should fund such actions.

The Gawker case, Thiel said, was decided by the ethics of the publication. On multiple occasions Thiel has said he wasn't underwriting other legal cases against publications.

First published October 31 at 8:31 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:58 p.m. PT: Added background on Thiel's support of Trump and reaction to it in Silicon Valley.