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Silicon Valley Billionaire Thiel Defends Trump As 'Only Outsider Left'

WASHINGTON (CBS / AP) -- Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel says he is backing Republican Donald Trump because he is "the only outsider left in the race."

Thiel was speaking Monday at the National Press Club in Washington. He has donated $1 million to a pro-Trump super PAC and gave $250,000 to Trump's campaign and Republican partners.

His outspoken support for Trump has also turned him into a pariah in Silicon Valley.

"Outside the Republican Party, I'd say it's been pretty much universal scorn," said Harmeet Dhillon with the Republican National Committee.  "Bloggers, venture capitalists, tech people can't understand why he is supporting  Donald Trump."

Especially among Democrats.

"Peter Thiel is an interesting case study in hypocrisy," said Democratic volunteer Christine Pelosi.

• ALSO READ: Thiel Under Fire For $1.25M Trump Donation

A co-founder of PayPal, Thiel says he has a "strong bias for outsiders." In 2008 and 2012 he backed libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul in his failed GOP presidential bids. Thiel also praised Trump while speaking at the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland.

The Monday speech was the first time Thiel has publicly discussed his support for Trump since the RNC.

"It's certainly been hard to accept for Silicon Valley, where most people have learned to keep quiet if they dissent from the coastal bubble," said Thiel.

Thiel says he does not support some of Trump's most controversial comments, including what he has said about women. Yet, he said, Trump voters favor the New York businessman who has never held political office "because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed."

"Nobody thinks his comments about women were acceptable," said Thiel. "I agree they were offensive and inappropriate, but I don't think the voters pull the lever in order to endorse a candidates' flaws. "

Among the Trump issues with which Thiel says he agrees: international trade deals not benefiting all Americans and too much U.S. involvement in wars abroad.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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