New Zealand citizen and Facebook board member Peter Thiel dined with a member of the "white nationalist racist fringe" in 2016, Buzzfeed says.

The publication reproduced emails, apparently between Thiel and Kevin DeAnna - whom it describes as "an influential white nationalist who has written under a number of pseudonyms" - that indicate they were at a dinner together, along with other "alt-right" figures, in July 2016, just as Thiel was ramping up support for Donald Trump's election campaign.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, DeAnna has previously written about the creation of an "ethnostate" or "the great dream of the White Republic."

The day after the dinner - July 30, 2016 - Thiel emailed DeAnna, according to Buzzfeed: "Kevin – really enjoyed meeting you last night. I may be in DC towards the end of September, and let me know [if you] make it to SF anytime! - Peter."

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Thiel and DeAnna declined to comment for the Buzzfeed story.

Fraying friendship

Thiel gave millions to the Trump campaign in 2016; spoke at the Republican National Convention ahead of the election; and advised the new president on tech issues early in his administration.

And in October last year, Thiel and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg dined with US President Donald Trump at the Whitehouse.

Through most of Trump's term, Buzzfeed says Thiel has pressed Trump to go on the front-foot on issues such as immigration and the trade war with China.

And the entrepreneur has remained active in politics. In June, he donated US$500,000 to Kris Kobach, a hardline anti-immigration figure who made an ultimately unsuccessful bid to become the Republican candidate for an open senate seat in Kansas.

But Thiel has not donated anything to Trump's re-election campaign this year, according to SEC filings, and did not participate in his party's convention this year.

Buzzfeed says Thiel's relationship with Trump has become "frayed" of late, with the entrepreneur becoming disillusioned over the President's response to the Covid-19 crisis.