Trump vs. Koch brothers in clash of GOP titans

National News

August 1, 2018 - 10:45 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The war of words intensified between two titans in Republican politics on Tuesday as President Donald Trump trashed the conservative billionaire Koch brothers as a “total joke in real Republican circles.”
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 intra-party feud could hurt the GOP in this fall’s midterm elections and beyond. While the Kochs refused to endorse Trump’s first presidential run, the president’s loyalists don’t want his 2020 re-election campaign bogged down by lingering bad blood. The Koch network boasts an army of grassroots activists across 36 states and has promised to spend between $300 million and $400 million on politics and policy this election cycle alone.
“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade,” Trump tweeted. “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas.”
Trump’s animosity toward the Koch brothers, like so much of his anger toward conservative heavyweights, stems from the influential donors’ pointed refusal to support him in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign. Back then, he criticized Koch-backed politicians as “puppets.”
Over the weekend, network patriarch, 82-year-old Charles Koch, refused to criticize Trump personally.

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