U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, left, speaks while Peter Thiel, billionaire co-founder of PayPal Inc. and a member of Donald Trump’s transition team, listens during a meeting with technology leaders at Trump Tower in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg)

Peter Thiel Pledges to Support Trump’s 2020 Campaign

(Bloomberg) -- Peter Thiel, the Facebook Inc. board member who helped Donald Trump win the White House and became Silicon Valley’s punching bag in the process, said Thursday that Trump has been “relatively successful” and that he’ll support him in 2020.

Thiel praised Trump’s economic policies, in particular his tax reforms, China tariffs and changes to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, during an onstage interview at a conference hosted by the New York Times.

Peter Thiel Pledges to Support Trump’s 2020 Campaign

The venture capitalist also defended Trump’s sometimes loose relationship with facts. He said unlike the past three U.S. presidents, Trump did not commit the “lie of omission” by failing to discuss contentious topics like immigration and trade. “Trump’s inaccuracies are exaggerations of the truth,” he said.

Questions about Trump’s name-calling and lack of civility were brushed aside. “I don’t think Trump’s nicknames are that nasty,” Thiel said. “They’re powerfully accurate.”

Thiel said he believes the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election but doesn’t consider it “material.” He also called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the matter a “wild goose chase” that will “backfire catastrophically” on the Democrats unless something is unearthed before Trump runs again in 2020.

After decamping to Los Angeles this year, Thiel said Silicon Valley had “jumped the shark.” He suggested innovation in the consumer internet business is over and that he expects breakthroughs to emerge from other geographies. The co-founder of PayPal and data-mining company Palantir Technologies Inc. said he remains bullish on life-extension science, such as ones involving the infusion of young people’s blood with older people. He said he hasn’t personally tried it.

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