Koch Brothers Group Says They Won't Be Backing Kevin Cramer in His Senate Race Against Heidi Heitkamp
02 August, 2018, 17:49
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 announcement, released Monday, sends a strong message to Republican officials nationwide that there may be real political consequences for those unwilling to oppose the spending explosion and protectionist trade policies embraced by the Trump White House in recent weeks.
In a statement released by his campaign, Cramer said he respected the Koch network's decision to stay out of his race and that he works to represent the people of North Dakota. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobby, has publicly criticized the billions of dollars worth of tariffs the administration has targeted at China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
The Koch network is backing GOP Senate candidates in Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee and Florida.
"I don't need their money or bad ideas", Trump wrote on Twitter, adding, "I have beaten them at every turn". Heidi Heitkamp's support for rolling back bank regulations.
Seidel said that the Koch network looked at a situation where an elected Republican, "stood up in a Republican caucus meeting where they were debating a major piece of legislation and said flat out, 'Don't worry about the Kochs, they're going to support Republicans regardless'".
The Washington Post reported that at a reception held by the Koch network over the weekend, officials revealed a new approach-distancing themselves from the GOP and becoming less focused on partisan politics.
"It brings home how much Trump has broken with traditional Republicans", said conservative commentator William Kristol, a Trump critic.
The Koch network's influence, even among Republicans, has come into question in the conventional wisdom-shredding era of Trump.
Some Trump loyalists were furious at perceived contradictions in the Koch network's behaviour and anxious that it could complicate the president's 2020 re-election. They advocate more open immigration policies and free trade, and, like many genteel Republicans, they plainly recoil at Trump's combination of hate-mongering and buffoonishness.
"If this were 2016, we likely would have gone ahead and endorsed" Cramer, said AFP President Tim Phillips.
The Kochs refused to endorse Mr Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, but after he won they found common ground, especially on tax cuts. "If Cramer doesn't step up to lead, that makes it hard to support him". His younger brother, David Koch, retired from the company and network in June.
Charles Koch oversees Wichita-based Koch Industries.
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