Trump hauls in $12 million from San Francisco’s conservative crypto bros

Republican warmly received by Silicon Valley investors despite recent criminal conviction

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 07 June 2024 17:43
Related: Donald Trump claims ‘revenge can be justified’ in Dr Phil interview

Donald Trump raised $12 million in a single night on Thursday as he attended an event held for him by tech venture capitalists in San Francisco intended to attract Silicon Valley’s wealthy conservative-leaning investors.

Husband-and-wife David and Jacqueline Sacks joined Chamath Palihapitiya in hosting the Republican presidential candidate and convicted felon for a reception and gala dinner at the Sacks’ home in the city’s exclusive Pacific Heights neighbourhood, according to Reuters.

Tickets for the private event went for $500,000 per couple, according to the news agency, which quotes Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon on the night’s final fundraising total.

“President Trump is relaxed, happy, and cracking jokes about AI,” she posted on X as the event was ongoing.

Dhillon also reported that the cryptocurrency community was well represented at the gathering, with famed twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss in attendance and a major topic of conversation being Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren “going after crypto.”

Although San Francisco remains a predominantly liberal city – where Joe Biden picked up 85 per cent of the vote in 2020 and where Kamala Harris staged her own event on Wednesday – a growing number of influential tech investors are sounding out Trump on the subject of cryptocurrency as the perception grows that the president is hostile to the sector.

The crypto industry is increasingly trying to influence Washington as it faces heightened scrutiny from regulators, especially in the wake of a wave of bankruptcies at major firms in 2022 that spooked investors, exposed fraud and misconduct and left millions of investors out of pocket.

Sacks and Palihapitiya have made no secret of their own investments in bitcoin and appear to have been put in touch with Trump by Ohio senator JD Vance, who previously lived in the city and worked in venture capital but is now a potential running mate for the former president.

Vance was reportedly in attendance at Thursday’s gathering – as was North Dakota governor Doug Burgum, another possible veep – and was thanked by David Sacks in his speech to his guests.

The evening’s fundraising bounty follows the $141 million the Trump campaign said it raised in May, which included $52.8 million collected in the 24 hours immediately after its candidate was found guilty on all counts at his New York hush money trial on May 30.

Since the Manhattan jury reached its verdict in that case, Trump has wasted little time in carrying out a conservative media blitz, granting a series of grievance-airing interviews to Fox News, Newsmax and, most recently, Dr. Phil McGraw’s web show.

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday 6 June 2024
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday 6 June 2024 (Rick Scuteri/AP)

His sitdown with the former Oprah TV therapist, broadcast on Thursday while the San Francisco gala was underway, yielded some revelations about the pressure Trump’s family is placed under by the intense scrutiny surrounding his political career and how he copes with stress, but was otherwise given over to the interviewee’s familiar conspiracy narratives and insistence that his trial had been “rigged.”

Prior to arriving in California, Trump had been in Phoenix, Arizona, addressing a Turning Point USA town hall in which he again played the victim while also railing at Biden’s handling of illegal immigration at the southern border as “bulls***”, declaring that the United States risked becoming a “dumping ground for the dungeons of the Third World” without a secure border.

Additional reporting by agenices.

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