- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2020

One of President Trump’s few major Silicon Valley backers in the 2016 campaign reportedly expects to abandon him in 2020.

According to a Thursday evening report in the Wall Street Journal, venture capitalist Peter Thiel likely will sit out the race this time around because he sees the chance of a Trump victory as slim.

The Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter” reported that Mr. Thiel “has soured” on the president’s prospects in recent weeks because of the state of the economy and expected double-digit unemployment in November.

Mr. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal Holdings, spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2016, calling Mr. Trump the ideal man to rebuild the economy, He also donated $1.25 million to the Trump campaign and related groups.

But he hasn’t given any money to Trump groups this year and, according to the Journal’s sources, does not plan to do so.

Now, according to “one person who speaks to Mr. Thiel about politics,” he describes the Trump campaign as the “S.S. Minnow,” from the shipwreck TV show “Gilligan’s Island.”

Nevertheless, the Journal reported, Mr. Thiel considered Democrat Joseph R. Biden as too much of a liberal retread to support and does not plan to switch or publicly break with Mr. Trump.

He also hasn’t ruled out an unenthusiastic vote for Mr. Trump, the Journal reported.

The billionaire who publicly abandoned Silicon Valley as an intolerant den of groupthink is likely instead, “people familiar with the matter” told the Journal, to donate big to Republican House and Senate candidates to keep at least part of the government in GOP hands.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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