Three major tech companies linked to Donald Trump through board member and Trump delegate Peter Thiel were silent Thursday on Trump’s extreme new claims about Muslim immigrants and their children — including their own employees.
Trump suggested after the Orlando massacre that the children of Muslim immigrants pose a security threat, a claim Thiel — unlike even other Republicans who back Trump — has not rejected.
The Thiel connection is particularly dicey for Facebook, Palantir, and Asana, where Thiel serves as a board member — and which are locked in Silicon Valley’s intense competition to recruit talent, people who include both Muslim immigrants and their children and people horrified by Trump’s racism.
“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here,” Trump said in a statement released Monday. “We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer.”
Trump has called for a ban on Muslim immigration into the United States, but his Monday statement took it a step further, casting suspicion on the children of these immigrants as well, even those born in the United States. Thiel, who as a board member oversees and influences the way the three companies operate, not only supports Trump, but is actively going to help him become the Republican nominee this July, when he votes for Trump as a delegate in the Republican National Convention.
Contacted by BuzzFeed News, none would comment on their board member’s association with Trump, or respond to how it might affect company policy, or say if they shared the viewpoint that Muslims and their children constitute a security threat.
"Your board member Peter Thiel is a Trump delegate. Given this, do you consider the children of Muslim to be a security threat?” BuzzFeed News asked all three yesterday. The companies did not respond to the question.
Nor did they respond to the question that Trump implied: “Do you feel safe employing the children of Muslim immigrants?”
The silence is particularly surprising from Facebook, given that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used Trump as a foil in the recent past. “I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others,'” Zuckerberg told the crowd at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, prodding Trump. “It takes courage to choose hope over fear.”
Instead, Zuckerberg has signaled his intention to support Thiel for another term on Facebook’s board at the company’s shareholder meeting this upcoming Monday.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
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