May 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: J.D. Vance courts Silicon Valley for Trump

Invitation toi Trump fundraiser in San Francisco

Image: Obtained by Axios

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a top possible VP pick for former President Trump, has spent the past six months lobbying some of the heaviest hitters in Silicon Valley to back Trump.

  • Vance's crown jewel is a fundraising dinner with Trump in San Francisco on June 6, led by tech investors David Sacks and Chamath Palihapitiya, co-hosts of the hot "All-In" podcast. Tickets start at $50,000.

Why it matters: Biden has outraised Trump, but Trump is showing signs of closing the gap. Many business interests are aligning with Trump, despite the unpredictability — and possible radical change — his victory would bring.

The big picture: Frustration with "Biden, Democrats and the state of the world has increasingly driven some of tech's most prominent venture capitalists to the right," The New York Times reported yesterday.

  • "I have — I'd say at this point — bigger disagreements with Biden than with Trump," Sacks told Dan Primack last week at our dealmaker summit, Axios BFD: San Francisco.
  • As Puck put it: "An election cycle ago, Silicon Valley Republicans had to go into witness protection to support Trump. Now ... an influential cohort of billionaires and quasi-billionaires are getting ready to write checks for 45."

Reality check: The vast majority of Silicon Valley money is still with Biden and the Democrats. But taxes are a huge issue for the tech world.

  • Trump cut taxes when he was in office. Biden hasn't raised taxes on the rich, but keeps saying he wants to.

The backstory: Vance has long been close to Peter Thiel, a billionaire tech pioneer. But Vance also has built close relationships with other big Silicon Valley players.

  • Sacks told Axios: "J.D. has been instrumental in making the Trump event happen." The Trump campaign said Vance has been working for the past few months to lock in the fundraiser.

What we're watching: The "All-In" co-hosts hope Trump will go on the podcast.

  • An offer for a fundraiser — ostensibly tied to a podcast appearance — was also made to Biden, Sacks told Primack at BFD.

What's next: Sources close to Vance say he's courting several other big names in tech to endorse Trump over the next few months. Vance is also considering organizing events for Trump in L.A., Chicago and Miami.

  • Earlier this month, Trump attended a Vance-organized fundraiser in Cincinnati. The event more than doubled its $2 million goal, bringing in $4.5 million.

Go deeper: Gift link (no paywall) to N.Y. Times, "Some of Silicon Valley's Most Prominent Investors Are Turning Against Biden."

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