Politics

Trump Vents Rage at Koch Brothers Again

President dubs Charles Koch’s criticism of tariffs ‘ridiculous’

President Donald Trump is at war with the conservative megadonor Koch brothers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Escalating his feud with the influential conservative donor Koch brothers, President Donald Trump on Thursday dubbed one of them “ridiculous” and suggested he puts foreign workers over American ones.

Trump’s Twitter strike on Charles Koch comes two days after he went to war with the libertarian-leaning megadonors who are powerful in Republican circles by labeling them a “total joke” who are “against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade.”

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On Thursday, Trump appeared to be responding to cable news coverage of Charles Koch’s critique of his tariff policies during an interview with ABC News.

“This is ridiculous, we should just get rid of all barriers except on things that will hurt people,” Koch said.

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“Yeah, it’s unfair. It's unfair to their people,” Koch said of the countries on which Trump slapped import duties over the howls of many Republican lawmakers.

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So Trump did what he often does when spun up by something he saw on morning news programming: He vented on Twitter.

He questioned Charles Koch’s “claims” that he is donating “millions of dollars” to GOP candidates, saying “I know very few who have seen this (?).”

Reality check: Trump’s contention that he has seen no evidence the brothers have donated to GOP candidates is not accurate.Koch Industries alone has made $6.8 million in contributions to GOP candidates, political action committees, outside conservative groups and the Republican Party. Of that amount, $1.3 million has gone directly to candidates, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.The Wichita-based manufacturing and energy giant donated $11.3 million during the 2016 cycle, according to CRP data, including $1.9 million directly to candidates.

Meanwhile, Trump also blasted what he called Koch’s “ridiculous statement” on the tariffs, admitting the import fees are unfair to workers in other countries: “He is correct, AMERICA FIRST!”

Earlier this week, a conservative advocacy organization backed by the Koch brothers announced it would not support Rep. Kevin Cramer in the North Dakota Republican’s Senate bid.

On Tuesday, Trump dubbed the brothers the “globalist Koch Brothers,” drawing a distinction from his nationalist “America first” message and philosophy that is the basis of his governing approach and leads him to constantly play to his conservative base.

Trump, perhaps indirectly, in that Tuesday tweet storm alluded to the reasons why some Republicans voted for him two years ago and continue to support him while questioning some of his tactics and rhetoric. He contended that the Kochs “love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more.”

What’s more, he claimed in a second tweet to have made the brothers “richer” while slamming their political network as “highly overrated” because he has “beaten them at every turn.”

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