- Billionaire Charles Koch, whose network has long supported libertarian causes, said he’s open to backing Democratic candidates if they align with his platform.
- Top donors in the Koch network gathered in Colorado Springs this past weekend.
- In a rebuke of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, Koch network co-chair Brian Hooks said “the divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage.”
Frustrated with “the divisiveness of this White House”, billionaire Charles Koch, whose lucrative network has long funded conservative causes, said he’s open to backing Democrats in the midterms.
Koch’s comments on the upcoming midterm elections this November came at a gathering of Koch network donors in Colorado Springs this past weekend, according to a report from the Washington Post. During the gathering, the group reportedly distanced itself from President Donald Trump and the Republican party.
“I don’t care what initials are in front, or after, somebody’s name. … I’d like there to be many more politicians who would embrace and have the courage to run on a platform like this,” Koch said when asked about Democrats possibly retaking control of one or both chambers of Congress this fall.
Along with the divisive rhetoric in Washington that Koch network co-chair Brian Hooks said is “causing long-term damage”, the libertarian-leaning network also condemned the Trump administration’s tariff and immigration policies.
“The urge to protect ourselves from change has doomed many countries throughout history,” Koch said in a video shown at the meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal. “This protectionist mind-set has destroyed countless businesses.”
This is not the first time that the Koch network has sought to use its political influence to push back against Trump. Last year, the group offered millions in campaign funding to Republicans who voted against “Trumpcare”, the replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act that Republicans tried to repeal in March.
And last month, the Koch group spoke out against Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, encouraging him to stop separating migrant children from parents at the border.
Hooks criticised the “tremendous lack of leadership” under Trump and the “deterioration of the core institutions of society,” according to the Post.
But while the donor group appears to be showing an openness to Democratic candidates, the network is still expected to be a strong campaign resource for conservative candidates running in districts where Democrats could be vulnerable.
Many of Trump’s strongest supporters also happen to be some of the Koch group’s biggest donors. The network is expected to spend $US400 million on policy issues and political campaigns this election season, according to the report.
While being critical of the president, Koch did not place all of the blame on Trump.
“We’ve had divisiveness long before Trump became president and we’ll have it long after he’s no longer president,” Koch said. “I’m into hating the sin, not the sinner.”
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