A few months ago, Peter Thiel received an unlikely phone call from Donald Trump. It was the first time that the two had spoken in quite some time. About a year had passed since Trump had played kingmaker and delivered, bigly, for Thiel’s two protégés, endorsing Blake Masters and J.D. Vance in the primary during their Senate runs. Vance had even won in the general. And so when Trump got Thiel on the horn, Trump gave him his best Janet Jackson: What have you done for me lately?
The call might have begun friendly enough, but it was pretty contentious by the end, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation. Trump wanted to see Thiel do more for him, just like the billionaire had in 2016, when Thiel spent millions on his behalf and spoke at the Republican National Convention. But Thiel, who has taken a step back from politics since 2022, expressed his desire to not be “at the center of the hurricane” this time around. Thiel had taken plenty of flak during the midterms, and he was seeking to de-escalate his political involvement.
Trump, of course, demands loyalty, and he feels like Thiel sort of owes him one (even though Vance has been good for Trump and endorsed him). So he is, unsurprisingly, fuming, feeling as though Thiel “screwed” him after all Trump did for his homies during the midterms. And Trump, I’m told, let him know it.