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2016 Republican National Convention
Speech by Peter Thiel

July 21, 2016

As a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, he has been involved in some of the most dynamic companies to emerge from Silicon Valley over the past two decades. In 1998, Thiel made e-commerce easier, faster, and more secure by co-founding PayPal, defining a new era of fast and secure online commerce. He was the first outside investor and director at Facebook, and also launched Palantir Technologies, where he serves as chairman of the board of directors. Peter established and funds the Thiel Foundation, which promotes freedom in all its forms while working to advance technological progress and long-term thinking about the future.

Good evening. Iím Peter Thiel. I build companies and Iím supporting people who are building new things, from social networks to rocket ships. Iím not a politician. But neither is Donald Trump. He is a builder, and itís time to rebuild America.

Where I work in Silicon Valley, itís hard to see where America has gone wrong. My industry has made a lot of progress in computers and in software, and, of course, itís made a lot of money. But Silicon Valley is a small place. Drive out to Sacramento, or even just across the bridge to Oakland, and you wonít see the same prosperity. Thatís just how small it is.

Across the country, wages are flat. Americans get paid less today than ten years ago. But healthcare and college tuition cost more every year. Meanwhile Wall Street bankers inflate bubbles in everything from government bonds to Hillary Clintonís speaking fees. Our economy is broken. If youíre watching me right now, you understand this better than any politician in Washington D.C.

And you know this isnít the dream we looked forward to. Back when my parents came to America looking for that dream, they found it right here in Cleveland. They brought me here as a one-year-old and this is where I became an American. Opportunity was everywhere. My dad studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University, just down the road from where we are now. Because in 1968, the worldís high tech capital wasnít just one city: all of America was high tech.

Itís hard to remember this, but our government was once high tech, too. When I moved to Cleveland, defense research was laying the foundations for the internet. The Apollo program was just about to put a man on the moon — and it was Neil Armstrong, from right here in Ohio. The future felt limitless.

But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets canít even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the governmentís software works poorly, because much of the time it doesnít even work at all. That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan project. We donít accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.

Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East. We donít need to see Hillary Clintonís deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today itís a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue Donald Trump is right. Itís time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.

When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?

Of course, every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American. I donít pretend to agree with every plank in our partyís platform; but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.

While it is fitting to talk about who we are, today itís even more important to remember where we came from. For me that is Cleveland, and the bright future it promised.

When Donald Trump asks us to Make America Great Again, heís not suggesting a return to the past. Heís running to lead us back to that bright future.

Tonight I urge all of my fellow Americans to stand up and vote for Donald Trump.