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July 22, 2016

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel rebels against Silicon Valley to endorse Trump at RNC 2016

News: Many in the technology industry believe Trump's policies would damage innovation.

By Alexander Sword

PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel rebelled against his colleagues in Silicon Valley as he endorsed Donald Trump for US President at the Republican National Convention. 

“Where I work in Silicon Valley, it's hard to see where America has gone wrong,” said Thiel.

“My industry has made a lot of progress in computers and in software, and, of course, it's made a lot of money.”

Harking back to the US Government’s high-tech achievements of the past, such as the Apollo missions and laying the foundations for the internet, the entrepreneur and investor said that Trump would be the “builder” who could rebuild America.

“When I moved to Cleveland, defence research was laying the foundations for the internet.,” Thiel said, referring to the ARPA spending on national network infrastructure that became the internet.

“The Apollo programme was just about to put a man on the moon—and it was Neil Armstrong, from right here in Ohio,” said Thiel.

He said that in the past, there hadn’t been one single high-tech capital, but that “all of America was high tech.”

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Thiel said that now the Government is “broken.”

“Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can't even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government's software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn't even work at all.”

“That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don't accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.”

Donald Trump, the former reality television star and real estate mogul, has now become the official Republican candidate for the Presidency of the US, set to face Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.

Thiel’s intervention comes in the wake of a scathing open letter on 14 July from many of Thiel’s Silicon Valley compatriots slamming Trump’s candidacy.

“We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation,” they wrote.

“His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy?—?and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.”

They slammed Trump’s stance on immigration, which they said would reduce the talent pool of the country, as well as his plans to shut down parts of the internet to combat terrorism.

The letter also suggested that a Trump administration would not provide the important investment role in the economy.

“Donald Trump articulates few policies beyond erratic and contradictory pronouncements.”

Amongst other names including MIT professors and former Government officials, it was signed by Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, Josh McFarland, Vice President of Product at Twitter, Aaron Levie, Co-Founder and CEO of Box and David Karp, Founder and CEO of Tumblr.

Apart from his statements on the internet, in which he argued parts of it should be ‘closed up’, Trump’s engagement with the technology industry has been relatively limited.

Trump called for consumers to boycott Apple products until the company gave up an unspecified "security number" that he believed they were withholding.

He provided further clarification on Twitter: "I use both iPhone & Samsung. If Apple doesn't give info to authorities on the terrorists I'll only be using Samsung until they give info."

Trump's grasp of the case appeared to be relatively limited, as Apple never refused to provide information to the security agency.

He has also mooted plans to force Apple to build their iPhones in the US.

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