Billionaire libertarian philanthropist David Koch died on Friday, and many public figures celebrated his passing. Speaking at a Minnesota State Fair Q&A, The Washington Examiner reports that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed Koch’s influence on politics and said that he profited off of “the misery of other people.” He suggested that he wants to combat Koch’s influence on politics, but when the audience cheered Koch’s death, Sanders was quick to scold them.
“I don’t applaud, you know, the death of somebody,” he said. “We needn’t do that.”
“I think what we can say is that the Koch brothers and other billionaires, because of this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, have been able to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to represent the wealthy and the powerful, and the fossil fuel industry, which is where the Koch brothers made a lot of their money,” he continued.
Despite his complicated legacy, The Independent reports that Koch’s influence on politics was unique. He held strong beliefs on privacy, a less interventionist foreign policy, and more immigration.
Although open borders is often used as an attack on Democrats that want more immigration than Republicans, open borders is often a libertarian belief that was supported by Koch. Sanders even addressed open borders in 2015, calling it a “Koch brothers proposal.”
Regardless, many in the public eye have celebrated Koch’s death. Bill Maher used his latest Real Time episode to attack Koch and express his glee that the billionaire had passed away. Maher began his opening monologue joking about prostate cancer, which was the cause of Koch’s death.
“I guess I’m going to have to reevaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer,” he said.
Good on @BernieSanders. That was the right thing to do. Reminds me of someone else, on the eve of his passing, one year ago tomorrow. Your decency, John McCain, is not always in evidence today, but it is not forgotten. ♥️ https://t.co/2XYqzLq6nG— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) August 25, 2019
Maher referenced Koch’s connections to Republican politicians and accusations that he used financial contributions to influence the GOP. He also attacked the efforts of Koch and his brother, Charles, to undercut climate science and hinder government efforts to combat climate change.
Maher ended his attack by saying he’s “glad” Koch is dead, adding that he hopes the end was “painful.”
As for Sanders, RealClear Politics reports that he is currently polling at 16 percent among the Democratic candidates, making him second to frontrunner Joe Biden, who leads with 28.8 percent support.
CNBC reports that Sanders will take the debate stage in September and October alongside Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar.