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Science & Tech: Silicon Valley Investors Turn Against Biden, Embrace

SCIENCE & TECH: Silicon Valley investors turn against Biden, embrace Trump

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Some Silicon Valley venture capitalists have begun to turn against President Joe Biden while openly touting their support for former President Donald Trump — a sea change for an industry that has overwhelmingly supported Democrats in years past.

Prominent moguls such as David Sacks, Chamath Palihapitiya, Marc Andreessen and Shaun Maguire have grown disillusioned with signature Biden policy proposals such as his call for a 25% “billionaire tax” as well as antitrust crackdowns waged by the Federal Trade Commission.

“It’s impossible to support Biden,” Keith Rabois, an early executive at PayPal who also played a role in the growth of LinkedIn, Square and Slide, told The New York Times.

Silicon Valley venture capitalists are turning against President Joe Biden. AP
David Sacks, a prominent tech investor, is due to co-host a fundraiser for former President Donald Trump. San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

While Rabois said he was not a fan of Trump, he would be “focused on electing a GOP Congress and Senate.”

Tech executives are also unhappy with the stringent regulations imposed on the cryptocurrency sector by Gary Gensler, Biden’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lina Khan, Biden’s chair of the FTC, has sought to move aggressively against large tech companies that critics say have amassed too much power in the marketplace.

Khan unsuccessfully challenged Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard as well as Meta’s attempt to buy virtual reality startup Within.

Chamath Palihapitiya, founder of Social Capital and an early executive at Facebook, also plans to support Trump. Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Last year, the FTC sued Amazon, accusing the e-commerce giant of being a monopoly.

Andreessen, founder of powerhouse VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, recently said there are “real issues” with the Biden administration.

A second Trump administration would be staffed by “very different kinds of people” particularly at the SEC and FTC, Andreessen said in a recent podcast interview.

Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, wrote in a blog post last year that his company would support any politician who backed “an optimistic technology-enabled future.”

Sacks, the entrepreneur and investor who made his fortune as chief operating officer at PayPal during its early days, plans to host a fundraiser for Trump as well as interview the former president on his “All In” podcast.

After the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol, Sacks said that the incident disqualified Trump from elected office.

But four years of a Biden presidency have changed Sacks’ mind, according to The New York Times.

Shaun Maguire of Sequoia Capital has also been critical of Biden. @shaunmmaguire/X

“I have bigger disagreements with Biden than with Trump,” Sacks was quoted as telling a tech conference last week.

Sacks cited Biden’s tax proposal, which would penalize startup founders who are wont to offer stock options to employees.

“It’s a good reason for Silicon Valley to think really hard about who it wants to vote for,” Sacks told tech investors at the conference.

Last month, Sacks was one of a handful of prominent tech moguls who attended an “anti-Biden” dinner alongside Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz said that a Trump presidency would be more business-friendly. REUTERS

Palihapitiya, the venture capitalist who was Mark Zuckerberg’s vice president of user growth shortly after the founding of Facebook, has also flipped from backing Democrats in the past to endorsing Trump.

Palihapitiya, the founder of the venture capital firm Social Capital, plans to co-host the fundraiser for Trump alongside Sacks, according to the Times.

Such open expressions of support for Trump was virtually unheard of in Silicon Valley in recent election cycles.

Tech execs have been unhappy with Biden’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler. Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA

“Four years ago you had to issue an apology if you voted for him,” Delian Asparouhov, an investor at the Thiel-backed Founders Fund, wrote on his X account.

Shaun Maguire, an investor at Sequoia Capital, has criticized Biden on social media, though he has refrained from directly supporting Trump.

After Biden indicated that the US would withhold certain weapons to Israel in the midst of the war in Gaza, Maguire accused him of “getting away with double standards his entire career” — a reference to the Democrats’ drive to impeach Trump for threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine during his presidency.

“We’ll see what happens this time,” Maguire wrote on his X account on May 9.

The Post has sought comment from the White House.

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