AUSTIN, TX. — Chris Sacca didn’t hold back during a fireside chat on Saturday when asked about Donald Trump.
“We are in an absolute unmitigated crisis right now,” he told a packed crowd of SXSW attendees.
The noted investor, an early backer of companies like Uber, Twitter, Instagram, Twilio, and more, said that the country would “still be on a democratic path toward resilience and survival” had John McCain or Mitt Romney been elected instead of Barack Obama.
But Sacca, who supported Hillary Clinton during last year’s presidential campaign, said Trump is different, particularly when paired with the GOP.
“If you get elected to the White House and both houses of Congress, and you want dismantle medicare, that’s your right,” Sacca explained. “I’ll be pissed about it and the downstream effects — the impact it will have on those people who are in the most fragile and precarious positions — but that’s your right to do that. That’s your right to appoint a complete fucking climate-denying disaster to head the EPA.
“But what I can’t accept are when institutions of the country that I feel such a proud citizen of are degraded, violated, and just demeaned — I’m talking about the kleptocracy; the lack of disclosure; the abuse of press; the nepotism; the deep conflicts; the praising of despotic foreign leaders; derogating the military, and on and on and on. The idea that we have a serial sexual abuser and pathological liar in that office right now — this has really been hard for me. I haven’t been able to strike a balance in it yet.”
Sacca said that even though he’ll get “millions in tax breaks when Obamacare is repealed” and that as a white male he’ll be “just fine” under President Trump’s administration, he’s still “tortured.”
“This is a time when the notions of patriotism aren’t just about putting your hand over your heart and looking at the flag,” Sacca explained. “It’s about really looking and confronting the question of what America stands for and what makes us genuinely exceptional and such a special place. That is truly, truly at risk right now. That is what keeping me up at night.”
But Sacca added that there’s a silver lining. He said the protests and resistance to the current administration “couldn’t be more authentic and pure.” And he said the fact that this was one of the first times the amount of total advertising spend was decoupled from the result — Clinton spent more than Trump — is an “encouraging thing for our democracy.”
“It strangely enough might take some of the sting out of all this filthy money and start to restore democracy to be a much more peer-to-peer experience,” Sacca said.
Sacca admitted that he’s given “millions” to political candidates — something he’d rather not have to do.
“We might actually be rediscovering the roots of community in the political process. That’s encouraging to me,” Sacca said. “…I would love to see a much purer process emerge from this.”