Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal Inc., answers a question during a news conference. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Peter Thiel Says Trump Is the Republican Who Isn't a ‘Zombie’

(Bloomberg) -- Peter Thiel is not ready to give up on defending President Donald Trump just yet.

The PayPal Holdings Inc. and Palantir Technologies Inc. co-founder praised Trump’s honesty, adding that unlike other Republican presidential hopefuls from the 2016 election, he isn’t a "zombie" and was the only candidate who addressed what Thiel considers politics’ biggest problem: political correctness.

"I got to meet a lot of people running for president on the U.S. Republican side in 2016 and they all felt like zombies," he said during a Monday event on entrepreneurship in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "They couldn’t say anything different other than programmed ideological soundbites." Trump, Thiel said, is "a very healthy corrective to that."

"I fully understand why people think of President Trump as a rude, mean person," Thiel said. "But I think that’s often better than telling beautiful lies about the way the country is working."

Once among the most vocal of Trump supporters, Thiel has been conspicuously silent for the past year on issues relating to the president and his performance.

The billionaire venture investor and Facebook board member spoke in 2016 at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump and served as a member of Trump’s transition team, helping fill open positions in the administration and even considering a few jobs for himself.

Thiel’s tight relationship with Trump irked many in Silicon Valley, some of whom ditched deals with Thiel and groups related to Thiel because of his politics.

Thiel fired back, accusing Silicon Valley of being intolerant to diverse opinions. Recently, Thiel moved his residence and his personal investment funds to Los Angeles.

Thiel on Monday also said that "with all the flaws, all the challenges the Trump administration’s had, I believe it was incredibly important to articulate certain things about how our political institutions and our society were not working as well as before."

Thiel’s remarks were in response to a question about Trump asked by David Velez, the chief executive officer of Nubank, a Brazilian fintech company backed by Thiel’s Founders Fund, during the Sao Paulo event.

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