Trump blasts Koch brothers as 'a total joke'

02 August, 2018, 21:03 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Aaron P. Bernstein  ReutersSen. Heidi Heitkamp speaks with reporters ahead of the weekly policy luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington

In remarks to reporters Sunday, Charles Koch - now exclusively at the helm after the retirement of his ailing brother David earlier this year - stopped short of blaming Trump personally for the political divisions.

Top officials with the donor network affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch this weekend sought to distance the network from the Republican Party and President Donald Trump, citing tariff and immigration policies and "divisive" rhetoric out of Washington.

The Kochs' position - which has extended to saying they will not necessarily oppose all Democrats - stems from Trump's protectionist trade policies and the surge in government spending and debt under a Republican president and Congress.

Trump called the Kochs "two nice guys with bad ideas", though he acknowledged that they support the administration's tax cuts, deregulation agenda, and judicial picks.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who attended the Koch summit, said, "It's their money and their choices", adding, "They've got to make their decisions".

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The public spat with the Kochs comes less than four months before the November 6 midterm congressional elections that have Trump's fellow Republicans seeking to maintain control of both chambers of Congress and lay bare the ongoing internal debate in the Republican Party about trade policy.

"Heitkamp, we're going to knock her out of the water".

Charles Koch (L) and David Koch are seen in this combination picture.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about when the billionaire president last bought groceries or anything else himself.

Trump held a rally in Tampa on Tuesday in a show of force for DeSantis, who faces off against state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the state's August 28 Republican primary.

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Americans For Prosperity, the political and policy arm of the Koch network, declined to support congressman Kevin Cramer's bid to unseat politically vulnerable Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Former White House counselor Steve Bannon questioned the true influence of "the Koch network management".

On Monday, the conservative Koch network refused to back a Republican candidate in North Dakota. "They have been very helpful to Kansas, and Kansas' economy is starting to grow", Colyer said Tuesday at Hilltop Learning Center in Overland Park after casting his early ballot in the state primary.

But the president and most of his loyalists never warmed to the Kochs, even as their interests at times have aligned. The group says it still plans to focus its resources on helping Republican Senate candidates in Tennessee, Florida and Wisconsin.

The Koch network largely ignored the criticism.

Also on Sunday, Charles Koch, who is exclusively running the company after the retirement of his brother David, spoke to reporters about the current political divisions.

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