President Donald Trump has bolstered his feud with Charles G. Koch. After Koch, one of the nation’s biggest industrialists and a frequent donor to the Republican Party, spoke out against Trump’s trade and immigration policies, Trump blasted him on Twitter. After attacking David Koch, Charles’ brother who stepped down from his role in the company in June due to his declining health, Trump called the brothers “overrated,” according to the Washington Post.
“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas. They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more,” Trump tweeted.
The feud seemingly began after Charles Koch announced that he would withhold his “support for Republican candidates who do not help enact the free trade, budget-slashing, government-shrinking policies that have always been at the center of the Koch political philosophy but are of little interest to the president.” The statement also came with the announcement that the Koch network plans to put $400 million towards politics in 2018.
During a retreat in Colorado Springs on Saturday, Charles was frank with his criticism of the Trump administration. He slammed Trump for his “detrimental” policies and his “divisive leadership.” He also criticised the administration for the “rise in protectionism.” He added that protectionism can cause countries to “close themselves off from the new, hold on to the past, and prevent change.”
Though Koch is critical of Trump and many of his Republican followers, the company does not plan to back Democratic senators during the 2018 midterms. Koch’s thoughts seem to “echo the widely held beliefs of many conservatives who worry that Mr. Trump is inflicting long-term damage on their cause, and on the country.”
Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon believes that the Koch brothers’ criticism of Trump is unfounded, and they are just suffering from “Trump derangement syndrome” — a common phrase Trump has ascribed to people who are even remotely critical of Trump.
“They are trying to weaponize the ‘Never Trump’ movement against Republicans by saying they’ll work with Democrats. And what they’re doing has to be condemned, including by Vice President Pence,” said Bannon. Pence has long been a beneficiary of the Koch network.
This feud stretches back to the 2016 election when the Koch brothers didn’t extend their support to Trump. After the election, David Koch and his golfing partner were denied entrance to a Trump golf course in West Palm Beach.