Peter Thiel, the PayPal cofounder, investor and a rare Trump supporter in Silicon Valley, has been named to the president-elect’s transition team.
Trump confirmed the appointment on his website, saying: “Together, this outstanding group of advisors, led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, will build on the initial work done under the leadership of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one.” Other appointments include Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, USA (Ret.), Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions.
Thiel’s support of Trump had raised the ire of his Silicon Valley peers during the run-up to election day, although he said he disagreed with some of Trump’s inflammatory statements but still agrees with Trump’s ideas for the country. According to a report by Fortune, Thiel may benefit financially from being on the transition team. Fortune pointed to Lyft, the ride-hailing app Thiel is an investor in. Lyft is facing regulatory scrutiny that may change under Trump. Palantir, which is a data company with a government contract, was cofounded by Thiel.
Since Trump’s surprise victory last week, the tech industry has been scrambling to figure out what impact a Trump presidency will have. Outspoken critics of Trump have started reigning in their stance as a realization comes over Silicon Valley that Trump will be the president. Take Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who famously said he would give Trump a one-way ticket to outer space. He officially congratulated President-elect Trump, but the consensus is that tech could have some troubles if Trump reins in immigration, given the volume of high-skill foreign workers there are in Silicon Valley. Automakers are also having some heartburn, particularly in the face of Trump’s stated ambition to force American companies to stay in America. Agriculture faces a split decision — fewer regulations could be helpful, on the one hand, but a looming trade war could drastically reduce the number of markets for their goods.