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Peter Thiel, the Valley’s most controversial investor, is also its best positioned in the Trump years

Thiel is No. 50 on the Recode 100.

Peter Thiel is known for his big bets in Facebook, PayPal and Palantir. But perhaps his most audacious wager last year was his support for Donald Trump — a decision that has paid dividends for one of Silicon Valley’s most well-known, and controversial, venture capitalists.

Days after the 2016 election, Thiel officially joined the team plotting Trump’s transition to the presidency. He then spent months shuttling to Trump Tower in New York City, working with longtime aides to form the ranks of the new White House — as well as some of its early thinking on everything from antitrust to food and drug safety.

Some of Thiel’s own aides now have key government posts. That includes Kevin Harrington, a managing director of Thiel Capital, who joined the National Security Council, and Michael Kratsios, the chief of staff for Thiel Capital, who took the reins as deputy chief technology officer at the White House.

To be sure, Thiel is the subject of immense criticism, both for supporting Trump and for funding a legal campaign that forced Gawker Media into bankruptcy.

Thiel doesn’t seem fazed by the animus. Unlike his peers, Thiel can now count on greater political clout, a full stable of allies in government gigs and, potentially, the ear of the president himself.

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