Controversial tech billionaire Peter Theil--always a Libertarian at heart but of late a staunch supporter of Donald Trump--is now rumored to be shrugging off the man who was to “Make America Great Again”.
And it’s all about the economy, which Theil purportedly thinks will now lose Trump the elections in November.
The story broke with the Wall Street Journal, which noted on Thursday that while Theil may still end up voting for Trump, he’s not all in and he has doubts Trump will win re-election.
The report, based on unnamed sources, says that Theil has told his friends and associates that he will not be involved in the presidential campaign this year, after donating some $1.25 million to the 2016 campaign.
Nor will he be speaking at the Republican National Convention in late August in support of Trump, which he also did in 2016.
Why does Theil think Trump will lose? Reportedly because of his poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis and the concomitant economic disaster.
Thiel reportedly projects that the economy will be in a deep recession in November, and that Trump will be at such a disadvantage that victory seems remote.
WSJ cited one anonymous source described only as someone “who speaks to Mr. Thiel about politics” as saying that the tech billionaire has described Trump’s campaign as the “S.S. Minnow,” the infamous “Gilligan’s Island” ship that ran aground.
There are plenty of people who will not be taking any cues from Thiel--the co-founder of PayPal and of the highly controversial CIA-backed big data startup, Palantir.
But whether Thiel fans or not, his dismissal at this stage of the Trump campaign speaks volumes and his thoughts on economic recession and the handling of the COVID-19 crisis will resound quite loudly.
Losing Thiel is first and foremost a PR loss that is and will continue to get a fair amount of media play to taint the campaign--not to mention the campaign contribution losses.
The Thiel story broke on the same day that a stellar jobs report that beat expectations was released, boosting equities markets nicely and resulting in a great deal of market optimism that could end up being very fleeting with COVID-19 back on track to be worse than it was in April.
What’s being questioned, ultimately, is the handling of the pandemic stateside.
It’s a question that cannot be answered objectively in this highly polarized environment, but a collection of recent polls provides some insight into what Americans, and Europeans, think.
A new survey of European Union citizens has nearly 60% saying their view of the United States had worsened during the pandemic, leading to an EU to consider imposing a travel ban on Americans coming to the continent. Indeed, as the bloc opens up its borders, it’s not doing so for Americans who have been deemed irresponsible in the fight to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Back at home, data from the Pew Research Center indicates that Trump’s approval ratings are lowering because of the pandemic. Biden’s lead has improved from 2 points to 10 points since April, and Pew puts his approval rating at 54% compared to Trump’s 44%.
Source: Pew Research
So, Thiel, if true, is simply echoing what is the growing sentiment.
Where will his money and efforts go, then? Certainly not to Biden.
WSJ’s source suggested the tech billionaire would likely shift support from Trump to the Republican races to control the House and Senate. In other words, he thinks the elections are lost and the next best thing is to ensure Republican power beyond the presidential chair.
By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com
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