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Silicon Valley Billionaire Thiel Under Fire For $1.25M Trump Donation

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The most high profile tech player to support Donald Trump, billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is making his first donation of $1.25 million to the Republican presidential nominee's campaign.

Thiel was among the speakers at this year's Republican National Convention.

"Thiel had gone kind of quiet - no one was entirely sure whether he was going to cut ties or get a little more quiet," KPIX 5 political analyst Melissa Caen said.

"What's significant about this donation is that it comes after the video is released, it comes after the allegations from nearly a dozen women of sexual assault, let's face it."

Caen says the gift it not likely to change who the Valley picks as a candidate. But the announcement is putting the spotlight on his relationships in the tech world.

There have been calls for startup accelerator Y Combinator to cut ties with Thiel, who is a part-time partner.

Y Combinator president Sam Altman tweeted that he thinks Trump is abusive and erratic, but also said "YC is not going to fire someone for supporting a major party nominee."

Ellen Pao's organization Project Include, which promotes diversity in startups, ended its relationship with Y Combinator because "Thiel's actions are in direct conflict with our values."

Tech influencers like Catherine Bracy, who co-founded Oakland nonprofit TechEquity Collaborative - believes Facebook should reevaluate whether Thiel should sit on its board.

"This goes beyond that. This is an existential threat to American democracy, and an existential threat to over half of the people who live in this country," Bracy told KPIX 5. "And so I think it requires a more courageous stand."

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