On Monday, tech billionaire Peter Thiel addressed the National Press Club in a speech designed to defend his Donald Trump endorsement. The Paypal founder gave one of the savvier, more well-received speeches at the RNC this year, and there’s also some talk that Trump wants to nominate him to the Supreme Court in Antonin Scalia’s vacated position. But in Thiel’s defense of his Trump endorsement, he seems to be fascinated more with the idea of a Trump-like figure instead of the reality.
Thiel argues that Trumpism “isn’t crazy, and it’s not going away.” But he also admits that he doesn’t agree with all of the things Trump has done and said, and Thiel is pretty sure that “millions” of other supporters feel the same way. Instead, he believes that people are choosing Trump simply because they’re frustrated with the current “failed” leadership, and Trump presents the possibility of change. This isn’t a new argument, but it’s notable coming from Thiel, who spends a lot of time discussing the flaws of his candidate:
“[Trump] points toward a new Republican Party beyond the dogmas of Reaganism … He points even beyond the remaking of one party to a new American politics that overcomes denial, rejects bubble thinking, and reckons with reality. When the distracting spectacles of this election season are forgotten and the history of our time is written, the only important question will be whether or not that new politics came too late.”
He likens Trump to Bernie Sanders as someone who wants to change a party. Thiel looks forward to this election’s “distracting spectacles” and far into the future, when he believes the important decision here is for people to choose “new politics.” In this way, Thiel isn’t really arguing for people to choose Trump but, instead, to choose change. And tactic may be successful.
After the main portion of Thiel’s speech, he sat down for a Q&A session, in which he revealed why he helped Hulk Hogan successfully sue Gawker Media: “If you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system,” he reasoned. “It costs too much.”
Peter Thiel: “If you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system. It costs too much.” pic.twitter.com/Fo36ZiMR1B
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) October 31, 2016