Conservative Koch Network Criticizes Donald Trump’s Trade Policies

The conservative political network says Trump's trade policies are 'hurting people,' doing 'long-term damage' to the United States.

koch brothers trump
Jeff Roberson / AP Images

The conservative political network says Trump's trade policies are 'hurting people,' doing 'long-term damage' to the United States.

Donald Trump’s trade policies are hurting the American people, the conservative political network led by billionaire Charles Koch suggested during a briefing session on Saturday, Bloomberg reports.

In the words of Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation and Charles Koch Institute, Donald Trump’s trade policies are not only “hurting” the American people, “but they’re also doing very long-term damage to the country.”

It is not only trade that the Koch network is concerned with. Donald Trump, a highly divisive person, has caused a rift in the White House, and a bi-partisan approach in trade and leadership is what America could benefit from the most, according to Hooks.

“The divisiveness of the White House is causing long-term damage. When in order to win on an issue, somebody else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite people to solve the challenges in this country.”

A spokesman for the Kochs, James Davis, argued that Donald Trump’s $12 billion pledge to American farmers was triggered by the president himself, or rather by the ever-escalating trade war the White House has started with China, Canada, and other countries considered significant purchasers of American agricultural products.

“It’s a bailout of bad policy,” Davis concluded.

Hooks and Davis comments were made at a Koch network donor gathering at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The full list of officials expected to visit the gathering has not been disclosed yet but, according to Bloomberg, the list of invitees includes Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, and other prominent Republicans.

The Koch network’s resistance to Trump does not come as a surprise, considering the Koch brothers launched a multi-million, multi-year campaign to oppose the tariffs implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration. As the Inquisitr reported in June, the Kochs have vowed to counter Trump’s protectionism through “media, activist education, grassroots mobilization, lobbying, and policy analysis.”

Widely and (in)famously regarded as one of the most influential conservative political groups in the United States, the Koch network has, in the tradition of American conservatism, long opposed protectionism, promoting the benefits of free trade.

Donald Trump, who is known to flip-flop, has always been a hardliner on trade. Over four decades, as the Washington Post noted, Donald Trump has been remarkably consistent on trade, promoting protectionism in almost all of its forms.

Still, Trump’s remarkable and rock-solid consistency on trade has not stopped the Kochs from influencing the Trump administration, according to a group of six Democratic senators. Lead by Rhode Island’s Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, the group asked Trump to explain his ties to the Koch brothers in May this year, PRI reported.

“They run a political operation that is wealthier, better prepared, more disparate and has more updated data than the Republican Party itself,” Whitehouse said on the Senate floor.