Jan 29, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Peter Thiel was wrong

Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech

It was just so damn pithy. So perfect. Such a clever (or cribbed) way for Peter Thiel to encapsulate Donald Trump's surprise electoral victory to his stunned peers in Silicon Valley:

"The media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously... I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally. When they hear things like the Muslim comment or the wall comment, their question is not, 'Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?' or, you know, 'How exactly are you going to enforce these tests?' What they hear is we're going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy."

But we now know one of two things is true about literally vs. seriously: Either Thiel was wrong, or Trump voters were.

After just over a week in office, it is obvious that President Trump takes Candidate Trump's promises literally. He literally plans to build a wall. He literally put a temporary ban on refugees from entering the country, with a religious prioritization test once such admissions resume (even if Thiel doesn't seem to realize it). He literally banned people from entering America, even if they have valid green cards or visas.

These were not statements of principle. They were statements of policy. Seriously.

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