Clash of GOP titans as Trump v. Kochs feud escalates

Hugh Fox
August 2, 2018

President Donald Trump lashed out at the powerful political network started by billionaires Charles and David Koch after it broke with a tradition of backing Republican candidates by declining to support the party's pick against a vulnerable Democratic senator in North Dakota.

This comes after the Koch network has opposed Trump's trade policy, and won't be supporting some Trump-aligned candidates this fall.

President Trump goes after the Koch brothers in a pair of Tuesday morning tweets. "I have beaten them at every turn".

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 USA voters cast ballots in November.

Donald Trump
Mr Trump’s policies have been at odds with the Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity group

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

Charles and David Koch have poured millions of dollars into ads and advocacy over the years, typically for conservative candidates and causes.

Neither representatives of Koch Industries or officials from the political network responded to a request for comment. Thus, the support for Heitkamp, who took on fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren from MA and fought to roll back the regulatory measures in the Dodd-Frank regulatory apparatus.

"Any protectionism at any level, certainly at a national level, is very detrimental", Charles Koch told reporters at the event in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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"I look forward to continue to work with the administration".

The decision for now to stay out of a pivotal 2018 Senate race will likely send shockwaves through the Republican Party and fits with a broader theme from the Koch network's summer meeting that the network feels like it has been "taken for granted" by the GOP.

"The Kochs had zero to do with Trump's win in 2016", former White House counselor Steve Bannon told the AP. Heidi Heitkamp in November, is "inconsistent across the board" on the spending and trade issues that matter to the Koch network, said Tim Phillips, president of its grassroots arm, Americans for Prosperity (AFP).

"They want to protect their companies outside the United States from being taxed", Trump claimed, with the billionaire businessman framing himself as a champion of the people.

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Officials for the Koch network said that AFP is now involved in seven races this midterm cycle across six states: Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, Nevada and Florida.

Democrats "don't want to give Trump any victory", he said.

The clash between the president and the Koch network is more of an expected divorce than a stunning breakup, according to more than a dozen Republicans working with Congress and the White House.

Other Koch donors said they still were taking a wait-and-see approach on Trump's trade policies to see if they worked.

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