Sequoia's Michael Moritz calls Trump a "loser" and "hustler"

Steven Loeb · June 16, 2016 · Short URL:

Trump has been blasted by many in tech, but few have come after him this hard

I'm no fan of Donald Trump. Phew. There I finally said it. Feels good to finally get that off my chest. What a relief!

I kid, of course. I've made my distaste for Trump (I wanted to call him a lot worse, but I'm a professional, dammit!) clear in the past, as have most of the tech world, with whom Trump has been fighting for most of this campaign.

Plenty of entreprenuers and investors have come after the Republican candidate for President. The latest to do so, and very explicitly, is Michael Moritz, Partner with Sequoia Capital, and a former member of the board of directors of Google, who wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times on Thursday, in which he called Trump a "loser" in the headline.

Moritz defined winners in Silicon Valley as those "who fashion something from nothing," and who are "the sort of people Mr. Trump wants to keep from entering America."

He singled out WhatApp founder Jan Koum, who came over from Ukraine and whose family relied on food stamps to survive, and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, who came from Taiwan and couldn't speak English, among other examples.

"The women and men of Silicon Valley welcome open borders. They are not nationalists who stir up dark memories of purges, pogroms, the 1930s, Latin-American strongmen or central African dictators. They run their companies eager to recruit the very best — whether they were born in Guadalajara or Chengdu, Hyderabad or Budapest; whether or not they worship in mosques," Moritz wrote.

"They do not see women as objects to be abused or demeaned. They are willing to compete with all comers — from China, Mexico or elsewhere."

He also went after Trump's main qualification (according to him, anyway) for being President: his business skills.

"In Silicon Valley, Mr Trump also fails to get more than a passing grade for his business skills because his actual performance, compared to the myth he has assiduously cultivated, is so mediocre," said Moritz, comparing him unfavorably with other billionaires, including Warren Buffet,  Michael Bloomberg and Stephen Ross.

"Compared with Mr Bloomberg and Mr Ross, Mr Trump seems little more than a hustler who takes from the rich (lenders he has short-changed, partners he has sued) and also takes from the poor (hapless students of Trump University, tenants whom he has allegedly bullied)," he wrote.

Moritz is one of Silicon Valley's most successful investors. Some of his companies include Google, PayPal, YouTube and Zappos. He currently sits on the boards of; 24/7 Customer, Earth Networks, Gamefly, HealthCentral, Green Dot Corporation, Klarna,, LinkedIn, Stripe and Sugar Inc.

Trump vs Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley in general is no fan of Donald Trump. He has made numerous statements against the tech space, including calling for a ban of iPhones during the fight between Apple and the FBI, that have turned the industry against him. 

It all started when Trump went after tech companies over H-1B visas, which, the pro-immigration PAC started by Zuckerberg, has been lobbying to increase. Trump accused companies in the tech ecosystem of using these visas to pay workers lower wages, and to take away jobs from qualified Americans. 

He even went so far as to call former opponent Marco Rubio, "Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator," for his support of H-1Bs. has lobbied Congress to get them raise the cap on the number of H-1B visas. Currently, 65,000 H-1B visas can be granted each year, with an additional 20,000 visas available for people who have obtained a master's degree or higher.

The organization responded to Trump's accusations, saying that "The idea we should radically restrict pathways for highly-skilled immigrants to come and stay here is –again – just wrong."

Plenty of well-known tech personalities have taken shots at Trump, including Keith Rabois, former executive at PayPal and current Partner at Khosla Ventures, who has called Trump an "opportunistic liar," and investor Marc Andreessen, has gotten into Twitter feuds with Trump.

Then there's Zuckerberg, who essentially declared himself to be the anti-Trump after he proposed a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States. Most recently, he implicitly called Trump out at the F8 developer conference in April, after which Facebook employees at the company asked him if they should actually try and stop Trump from becoming President. 

Not everyone in Silicon Valley dislikes Trump, of course; the man has found an ally in former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel, who is going to be a California delegate for Trump in the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I've been consistently refreshing Donald Trump's Twitter while I've been writing this story. When he responds to this, because a man with skin as thin as Trump's is so totally going to respond to this, I will make sure to update this story. 

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Sequoia Capital is a venture capital firm founded by Don Valentine in 1972. The Wall Street Journal has called Sequoia Capital “one of the highest-caliber venture firms” and noted that it is “one of Silicon Valley’s most influential venture-capital firms”. It invests between $100,000 and $1 million in seed stage, between $1 million and $10 million in early stage, and between $10 million and $100 million in growth stage.