“After final week’s horrific occasions, President Trump misplaced a lot of his supporters, together with me,” says billionaire Doug Leone.
One in every of Donald Trump’s largest backers in Silicon Valley is renouncing his assist for the president within the wake of final week’s riot on the Capitol, Recode has discovered.
Doug Leone, a billionaire investor who donated massive cash to Trump and even served on a White Home job power, is making his first public feedback up to now about his years-long assist for Trump. Leone, a longtime head of the elite enterprise capital agency Sequoia Capital, has tried to maintain a low profile however has drawn fireplace for being one of many few main tech figures to actively again Trump.
“After final week’s horrific occasions, President Trump misplaced a lot of his supporters, together with me,” Leone mentioned in an announcement to Recode. “The actions of the President and different rally audio system have been chargeable for inciting the rioters. We have to discover one of the simplest ways to maneuver ahead as a rustic, get behind our newly-elected President, and begin engaged on the various tough points going through America.”
Leone’s condemnation is the newest signal that the tech business is displaying much less tolerance for Trump after final week’s try to keep away from certifying the vote of the Electoral School. Some tech corporations have modified their political donation methods, and different leaders are discussing methods to make sure that Trump supporters or aides aren’t welcomed again into Silicon Valley’s heat embrace.
Regardless of its liberal sensibilities, Silicon Valley does have conservatives — however proud Trump supporters have persistently been few and much between. Leone has stood out for that very cause.
Leone and his spouse, Patti, donated over $700,000 to again Trump’s reelection marketing campaign, making them among the many largest whole contributors to pro-Trump causes within the Bay Space, in response to a evaluate of FEC information. They donated to all the things from pro-Trump tremendous PACs to the Republican Nationwide Committee.
A longtime backer of GOP candidates courting again to George W. Bush’s first marketing campaign for president, Leone has additionally lately donated closely to teams supporting Trump allies similar to Sen. Lindsey Graham and the Republicans who ran for the Senate this month in Georgia.
Leone’s assist of the president has gone past being merely a donor — he has cultivated ties to the Trump administration as effectively. Leone was the one main Silicon Valley determine named to a White Home job power this spring on the nation’s post-pandemic financial restoration. And this summer time, Leone reportedly advised “folks he may use his affect with Trump to assist” TikTok, the Chinese language app that’s owned by a Sequoia portfolio firm and spent months in the course of a regulatory firestorm.
All of these ties make Leone’s assertion extra vital.
In the meantime, different outstanding Silicon Valley supporters of Trump are staying quiet. Peter Thiel, maybe Trump’s single most well-known backer within the tech business, has mentioned nothing for the reason that election in regards to the outcomes or Trump’s latest conduct. A Thiel spokesperson didn’t return a request for remark final week. Oracle founder Larry Ellison, one of many richest folks on the planet, hosted a fundraiser for Trump earlier this 12 months and has grown near him. A spokesperson for Ellison didn’t return repeated requests for remark.
One of many outstanding voices in Silicon Valley encouraging a reconsideration within the enterprise neighborhood is definitely Leone’s shut colleague, Michael Moritz, who donated hundreds of thousands to again Democrats this cycle. Moritz and Leone served as the 2 co-leaders of Sequoia for years, probably making for some spirited conversations between the 2 of them about politics through the Trump years.
“Nearly 5 years in the past, I attempted, in useless, to spotlight for the enterprise neighborhood Mr. Trump’s previous as a conman, bully, racist, failed entrepreneur and authoritarian,” Moritz wrote in a column revealed within the Monetary Occasions on Monday, not mentioning Leone or any particular enterprise chief by identify. “Many enterprise folks scoffed at this portrait of Mr. Trump — preferring to assist him as a result of they favored a lot of his insurance policies. Their arguments all the time jogged my memory of the Prussian navy leaders and German enterprise magnates who thought they might management the darkish tendencies of a military corporal turned political strongman within the 1920s.”
Trump is now going through impeachment as a few of his stalwart supporters like Leone flip towards him.
Right here’s Leone’s full assertion to Recode:
I strongly condemn the assault on the US Capitol and all acts of violence. Assaults on our democracy is not going to transfer our nation ahead, and people who stormed the Capitol must be held accountable and be prosecuted to the total extent of the regulation. After final week’s horrific occasions, President Trump misplaced a lot of his supporters, together with me. The actions of the President and different rally audio system have been chargeable for inciting the rioters. We have to discover one of the simplest ways to maneuver ahead as a rustic, get behind our newly-elected President, and begin engaged on the various tough points going through America.