A Sunday report from The Daily Beast claims that billionaire Peter Thiel, who the publication calls one of Donald Trump‘s “most important backers,” has slammed the president for his coronavirus response behind closed doors.
According to The Daily Beast, several people familiar with the situation claim that Thiel has privately criticized the president and said his disaffection stems from Trump’s COVID-19 response. One person allegedly said that Thiel has been “sh*t-talking” Trump over what he sees as a botched response to the pandemic.
Another reportedly said Thiel is “clearly very frustrated” with Trump’s public appearances; in particular, his performance at White House press briefings.
One senior 2020 Trump campaign source told The Daily Beast that Thiel has not been in recent contact with the campaign.
“He ghosted us. If anything [new] has happened, I haven’t heard about it.”
Per The Daily Beast, Thiel’s apparent decision to pull back is not surprising to those close to him.
“To those who know the tech investor, his softening on his pro-Trump position doesn’t come as a shock, as he is known to be mercurial with his support for political figures, according to two people familiar with Thiel’s public relations and personal calculus.”
Although Thiel spoke at the Republican Party’s 2016 convention and was once a “proud” supporter of the president, he is seldom seen publicly supporting Trump in 2020. While Thiel said he supported Trump’s re-election a year and a half ago, he has not donated money to the re-election campaign or Republican National Committee since 2018, and it’s unclear if he plans to in the coming months.
However, as The Daily Beast notes, May is when Thiel typically begins donating to political candidates he supports.
Despite Thiel’s alleged issues with Trump’s handling of coronavirus, Palantir Technologies, which he co-founded, has reportedly seen a significant increase in its government contracts. Notably, the company recently inked a $800 million data-management contract with the Pentagon, as well as a $7.5 million deal with to work on a platform for the Department of Health and Human Services.
As reported by Vanity Fair, the latter project will help the government track coronavirus, although it’s unclear what data is being collected and how it’s being used. According to The Daily Beast’s Erin Banco and Spencer Ackerman, the information will play a role in the reopening of the American economy.
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump allegedly dined with Thiel and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in October of 2019. Although it’s unclear what was discussed at the meeting, which was held in secret, Facebook allegedly attempted to downplay the significance of the meeting.