One among Donald Trump’s greatest backers in Silicon Valley is renouncing his help for the president within the wake of final week’s riot on the Capitol, Recode has discovered.
Doug Leone, a billionaire investor who donated huge cash to Trump and even served on a White Home activity drive, is making his first public feedback thus far about his years-long help for Trump. Leone, a longtime head of the elite enterprise capital agency Sequoia Capital, has tried to maintain a low profile however has drawn hearth for being one of many few main tech figures to actively again Trump.
“After final week’s horrific occasions, President Trump misplaced lots of his supporters, together with me,” Leone stated in an announcement to Recode. “The actions of the President and different rally audio system had been accountable for inciting the rioters. We have to discover the easiest way to maneuver ahead as a rustic, get behind our newly-elected President, and begin engaged on the numerous tough points going through America.”
Leone’s condemnation is the most recent signal that the tech trade is exhibiting much less tolerance for Trump after final week’s try and keep away from certifying the vote of the Electoral Faculty. Some tech firms have modified their political donation methods, and different leaders are discussing ways 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 constantly been few and much between. Leone has stood out for that very motive.
Leone and his spouse, Patti, donated over $700,000 to again Trump’s reelection marketing campaign, making them among the many greatest whole contributors to pro-Trump causes within the Bay Space, in keeping with a evaluate of FEC data. They donated to every little thing from pro-Trump tremendous PACs to the Republican Nationwide Committee.
A longtime backer of GOP candidates relationship again to George W. Bush’s first marketing campaign for president, Leone has additionally just lately donated closely to teams supporting Trump allies reminiscent of Sen. Lindsey Graham and the Republicans who ran for the Senate this month in Georgia.
Leone’s help of the president has gone past being merely a donor — he has cultivated ties to the Trump administration as nicely. Leone was the one main Silicon Valley determine named to a White Home activity drive this spring on the nation’s post-pandemic financial restoration. And this summer season, Leone reportedly informed “folks he might 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 important.
In the meantime, different distinguished Silicon Valley supporters of Trump are staying quiet. Peter Thiel, maybe Trump’s single most well-known backer within the tech trade, has stated nothing because the election concerning 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 yr and has grown near him. A spokesperson for Ellison didn’t return repeated requests for remark.
One of many distinguished voices in Silicon Valley encouraging a reconsideration within the enterprise neighborhood is definitely Leone’s shut colleague, Michael Moritz, who donated tens of millions to again Democrats this cycle. Moritz and Leone served as the 2 co-leaders of Sequoia for years, seemingly making for some spirited conversations between the 2 of them about politics through the Trump years.
“Virtually 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 printed within the Monetary Instances on Monday, not mentioning Leone or any particular enterprise chief by identify. “Many enterprise folks scoffed at this portrait of Mr. Trump — preferring to help him as a result of they favored lots of his insurance policies. Their arguments all the time jogged my memory of the Prussian army leaders and German enterprise magnates who thought they might management the darkish tendencies of a military corporal turned political strongman within the Nineteen Twenties.”
Trump is now going through impeachment as a few of his stalwart supporters like Leone flip in opposition to 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 won’t transfer our nation ahead, and people who stormed the Capitol ought to be held accountable and be prosecuted to the complete extent of the regulation. After final week’s horrific occasions, President Trump misplaced lots of his supporters, together with me. The actions of the President and different rally audio system had been accountable for inciting the rioters. We have to discover the easiest way to maneuver ahead as a rustic, get behind our newly-elected President, and begin engaged on the numerous tough points going through America.