But it shouldn't be a surprise
Donald Trump’s campaign has found a varied crew of supporters in recent months. The most recent addition is Silicon Valley billionaire and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and a director at Facebook, is now a Trump delegate in San Francisco, according to a Monday filing.
On the surface it seems like an unlikely alliance. Bad blood has been brewing between Silicon Valley’s top executives and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Trump since the start of the election cycle.
To Trump, Jeff Bezos is a scammer, Mark Zuckerberg is discriminatory, and Apple unpatriotic. On the other side of the ring, Silicon Valley executives including Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Tim Cook have not held back their disdain for the candidate—so much so that the group reportedly met with others in March to mock up a Trump takedown plan—though Elon Musk has denied the meeting.
But upon closer examination, Thiel’s support for Trump is not that odd. His political views have long diverged from the Silicon Valley norm. Thiel, a libertarian, has often made contributions to the Republican Party. He endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and Ron Paul in 2008. Last summer, Thiel donated $2 million to Carly Fiorina’s super PAC.
When asked in 2012 why he decided to back Ron Paul, Thiel told Slate: “The campaign really is for 2016 … I think we’re just trying to build a libertarian base for the next cycle.”
“It’s an unusually libertarian movement,” he said. “For the first time in perhaps 80 years, we have a chance to move the country in a more libertarian direction, with a less intrusive government, in both social and economic areas.”
And like Trump, Thiel is not shy about throwing provocative ideas out there. He once wrote that freedom and democracy are incompatible. His foundation, the Thiel Fellowship, provides $100,000 to students to drop out of college and pursue other work. He’s also funded a project to build sovereign islands where entrepreneurs can work without government influence.
Fortune has reached out to Thiel and will update this story if he responds.