Silicon Valley plutocrat and PayPal founder Peter Thiel has a friend in the White House. Now he also has one on the National Security Council’s team.
On Thursday morning, the White House announced a round of four appointments to the NSC’s senior staff. They included Kevin Harrington, onetime managing director of Thiel’s investment firm, Thiel Macro LLC. The White House statement on new NSC appointments says Harrington was also “coauthor of the PayPal business plan.” He will serve as Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning.
Prior to joining the administration full-time, Harrington worked on the presidential transition team, helping to manage the incoming Trump administration’s takeover of the Commerce Department. Another Thiel associate, acting Zenefits CFO Mark Woolway, was also a member of the transition team.
Thiel was a prominent Trump backer and megadonor throughout the 2016 presidential cycle; he too wound up serving as part of the transition.
In President Donald Trump’s brief tenure, the NSC has emerged as a hub for some of the most extreme ideologues within his administration. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has described fear of Islam as “rational” and was fêted by the Russian government as recently as December 2015. Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, a former Fox News analyst, has suggested that former President Barack Obama emboldened ISIS by attending landmark climate talks.
And then there’s top White House strategist Steve Bannon, former executive of the white nationalist media organization Breitbart, who joined the the National Security Council’s principals committee this week.