Koch network says it isn't backing GOP candidate in key Senate race

02 August, 2018, 21:08 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Officials with the powerful political network overseen by conservative billionaire Charles Koch on Monday said they do not currently plan to endorse the Republican nominee in North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer

President Donald Trump railed Tuesday against billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, accusing them of being against key components of his populist agenda and suggesting they're irrelevant in today's Republican Party.

The presidential insult followed a weekend gathering of Koch officials who repeatedly condemned Trump's trade policies, the explosion of government spending under his watch and his divisive tone.

The decision sends a strong message to Republican officials across the country that there may be real consequences for those unwilling to oppose the spending explosion and protectionist trade policies embraced by the Trump White House in recent weeks.

Mr. Trump accused the billionaire Koch brothers - Charles and David Koch - of wanting to protect their companies outside the us from being taxed at the cost of USA workers, saying they're "two nice guys with bad ideas".

The political spat comes less than four months before the midterm congressional elections that have Trump's fellow Republicans seeking to maintain control of both chambers of Congress when US voters cast ballots in November. We do the ground game because we're not going to equivocate on who we're going to support.

"I think what is important for the media and American public to know is Charles and David never wanted to be Republicans".

Charles Koch, the chairman and CEO of the industrial conglomerate Koch Industries, oversees the network of about 700 donors.

The influential Koch political network announced Monday it is not supporting Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer in his race to unseat vulnerable Democratic Sen.

The Koch brothers, who own the Wichita-based Koch Industries, have always been in conflict with Trump's approach to government spending and trade.

While the two have backed Trump over taxes and judicial appointments, the Kochs have joined other business groups as vocal critics of the president's trade policies.

"The Kochs had zero to do with Trump's win in 2016", former White House counselor Steve Bannon told the AP.

Some Trump loyalists were furious even before Monday's news. More than 500 of them are gathered for the three-day retreat here at the sprawling Broadmoor resort, which encircles a man-made lake and looks out to a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. The group said it still plans to focus its resources on helping Republican senate candidates in Tennessee, Florida and Wisconsin. Instead they'll back Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat, because she voted to deregulate banks.

Trump's policies on trade in particular have provoked ire among some Republicans, especially those in states most affected by retaliatory tariffs enacted by China, Canada, the European Union and beyond.



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