Billionaire businessman Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries and a major Republican financier, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News airing Sunday on This Week that it is conceivable from his perspective that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would make a better president than any of the candidates presently dominating the Republican field.
When ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked the 80-year-old billionaire industrialist, whose organization Freedom Partners is a major campaign funding powerhouse for conservative political causes under the Republican Party, what he thought about the performance of former Democratic President Bill Clinton during his two-term tenure, Koch said that in some key aspects, Bill Clinton performed better than George W. Bush, particularly in the area of government spending. Bush, according to Koch, had increased government spending in violation of the well-known ideological opposition of the Koch brothers, Charles and David, to the expansion of government.
“In other ways, I mean [Clinton] wasn’t an exemplar,” Koch said. “But as far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, it was two-and-a-half times under Bush than it was under Clinton.”
When asked if he thought Hillary Clinton would likewise make a better president than any of the present Republican front-runners, including the estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas senator Ted Cruz, he said, “It’s possible, it’s possible.”
When Karl asked if Koch could see his political organization supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid over a Republican candidate, he appeared hesitant to give a straight answer.
He did not rule out the possibility but instead prevaricated, saying, “We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way.”
But his comment that Clinton could make a better president than any of the candidates presently dominating the Republican field may have been informed partly by his assessment of the precedent set by Mrs. Clinton’s husband during his two-term tenure.
It is known that Charles and his brother David, who lead the multi-billion dollar political networking organization Freedom Partners, are displeased with the Republican field so far. The two have expressed displeasure at the rhetoric of the Republican primary dominated by billionaire estate mogul Donald Trump.
Charles Koch’s latest comments come after a spokesman for the Koch brothers said last month that the Koch political organization has no plans to use its resources to block Trump’s bid to secure the nomination as the 2016 Republican presidential candidate. But analysts may interpret Charles Koch’s comments as a way of dropping a hint that the Koch organization may not support Trump’s presidential bid.
Koch is not the first major force in conservative Republican politics to suggest that Clinton could be preferable to Trump as president. Although the prospects of a Clinton presidency has been portrayed by the GOP establishment as the worst outcome of the 2016 election, some members of the GOP establishment have stated publicly that they would rather vote for Clinton than Trump. Prominent GOP establishment figures such as Eliot Cohen and Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) have said they will not support or vote for Trump.
Former first lady Laura Bush has also reportedly hinted that she would prefer Clinton as president.
Charles and his brother David reportedly plan to spend nearly $900 million on the 2016 election, but the brothers maintain that so far they haven’t invested any resources for or against any candidate in the 2016 primaries.
According to Bloomberg, Charles and his brother David have a combined net worth of about $106 billion, and over several elections cycles, they have used their wealth to support Republican candidates based ostensibly on their assessment of the candidate’s commitment to the conservative principle of small government.
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