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Trump heads to tech fundraiser in San Francisco, with some guests paying $300,000

On Thursday, a pair of tech investors and podcasters will host Donald Trump for a high-profile fundraiser in San Francisco, the latest sign that an industry that was once hostile to the former president has warmed to the Republican candidate.

David Sacks, a prominent venture capitalist and member of the “PayPal mafia,” is hosting a fundraiser at his Pacific Heights residence. Tickets sold for $50,000 per person, with a $300,000 tier that included perks such as a photo with Trump. It comes just a week after Trump was convicted in New York on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The co-host is Chamath Palihapitiya, the founder of investment firm Social Capital, who is well-known on Wall Street for promoting special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) during the 2020 and 2021 tech boom. Sacks and Palihapitiya are two of the four hosts of the popular podcast All-In.

The event sold out and is expected to generate $12 million for Trump. Sacks declined to comment. Palihapitiya did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

The fundraiser in the heart of the tech capital reflects a growing shift in sentiment toward Trump, particularly in what has traditionally been a liberal stronghold. Sacks, a long-time conservative, donated to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. In recent years, he has thrown his support behind the Republican Party, publicly endorsing Trump when it became clear he would be the Republican nominee. Palihapitiya gave Biden more than $250,000 in 2020, according to campaign records.

“I know there will be a lot of people who support Trump but won’t admit it,” Sacks said on the podcast last week. “And I believe that this event will break the ice on that. And maybe it will start a preference cascade, making it acceptable to admit the truth.”

That is not to say that Trump has not received support from wealthy technologists in the past.

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and a prominent investor, spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2016 and later joined Donald Trump’s transition team.

But there has been tension. Also In 2016, Intel’s then-CEO, Brian Krzanich, canceled a planned fundraiser for Trump after media inquiries.

In July of that year, approximately 140 prominent technologists wrote an open letter condemning Trump’s politics, claiming that he “campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline.”

Nonetheless, Republican policies are often viewed as more favorable to the technology industry because they favor less regulation and lower taxes. One of Trump’s signature accomplishments during his presidency was the implementation of significant tax cuts, and he was tough on China while creating exemptions to protect tech companies from tariffs. He also awarded government contracts to defense tech companies, including Palantir, which Thiel co-founded.

Much of the shift toward Trump ahead of the 2024 election stems from disdain for President Biden’s policies. Under Biden, the SEC has taken action against cryptocurrencies, and his antitrust regulators have cracked down on large-cap tech companies.

For those who agree with Sacks, there are numerous issues to consider.

“Biden came into the office promising a return to normalcy,” Sacks wrote on X on June 2. “What did he actually give us? A slowing economy. Inflation has risen dramatically. The world is on fire. Vindictive partisan witch hunts. Democrats are focusing solely on law enforcement because they have no other platform to run on.”












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