WASHINGTON ― Billionaire Peter Thiel called a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday to tell the Washington press corps why people support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“We’re voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed,” Thiel said.
The eccentric Silicon Valley mogul identified himself as a Trump supporter earlier this year. He is also known for having secretly funded a lawsuit that bankrupted the news website Gawker over publishing a Hulk Hogan sex tape. Gawker had needled Thiel in the past.
“If you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system,” he said Monday, describing Gawker as a “singularly sociopathic bully.”
Thiel characterized members of the media as being cloistered in wealthy urban areas that aren’t suffering the economic malaise that prevails everywhere else in the U.S. People support Trump, he said, because he questions free trade and is less of a warmonger than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“It’s because of the big things that Trump gets right,” Thiel said. “For example, free trade has not worked out for all of America.”
People recognize that Trump’s call to build a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico is a metaphor for being tougher on immigration, Thiel said, and criticized the media for taking the GOP nominee literally.
“What they hear is, ‘We’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy,’” Thiel said. (Trump has been adamant that he wants to build a physical, beautiful wall.)
As for Trump’s derogatory comments about women and his sexual assault boasts, Thiel said that’s not what Trump supporters want.
“I don’t agree with everything Donald Trump has said and done, and I don’t think the millions of people voting for him do either,” he said. He went on to say Trump would deliver “a much-needed dose of humility in our politics.”
The billionaire also said he is not currently funding lawsuits against any journalists.