Buzzfeed reports that Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech investor and Facebook board member, hosted a dinner with prominent white nationalist Kevin DeAnna as he went all-in on Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race. Thiel "met with the racist fringe" in the run-up to the reality TV star's election victory, write Rosie Gray and Ryan Mac, and "really enjoyed" it.
BuzzFeed News can reveal that in at least one instance during the summer of 2016, Thiel hosted a dinner with one of the most influential and vocal white nationalists in modern-day America — a man who has called for the creation of a white ethnostate and played a key role in an effort to mainstream white nationalism as the "alt-right." And then Thiel emailed the next day to say how much he'd enjoyed his company.
Among those on the racist right, Thiel's outreach raised hopes that his financial bet on Trump would extend into the ascendant alt-right movement, which despite its prominence was a collection of small and often cash-strapped organizations. One avowed white nationalist privately speculated that Thiel's money and influence could have made him "our George Soros."
Thiel is often described using terms like "enigmatic" and "libertarian", but his opinions are well-publicized and his interest in freedom is well-asterisked. He famously wrote that women getting the vote rendered capitalist democracy an oxymoron ("The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics.") and has long been associated with neo-reactionary "dark enlightenment" dreamers such as Mencius Moldbug, who surely appreciate another famous Thiel quote: "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible."
So Thiel's reported palling-around with regular fascists is, frankly, no surprise.
Interesting, though, that the event Buzzfeed uncovered happened a week or two from when Thiel was exposed as the financial backer of Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker, which led to the eponymous political blog's demise.