The Trump Vs. Koch Smackdown

Trump may change his tune very quickly, but as of today he’s at war with the Koch Brothers.

We may learn some day that Stephen Miller is the true author of all of Trump’s tweets. Otherwise, Trump certainly is a really stupid judge of which fights to pick. As Charles Pierce said, the Koch brothers “can buy and sell him back two generations.” If Trump makes Republican candidates for office choose between him and the Kochs, I believe most would choose the Kochs. They owe the Kochs a lot more favors.

However, the Kochs are sitting on a lot of their money in this election cycle. Jane Coaston writes for Vox:

The tweets come a day after representatives of the Koch network — founders of the Cato Institute, one of the main funders behind the Tea Party movement and a major force in GOP politics over the past decade — announced that the group will not support North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer in his incredibly tight race against Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. …

… the Koch network — which, despite a contentious relationship with Trump, had previously voiced support for the president’s tax bill and other planned legislation — is pushing away from not just Trump but the GOP, with founder Charles Koch telling reporters at that weekend event that his groups had made “mistakes” and that he has “regrets” about the one-party focus the network has had in past elections.

Specifically, while Koch-connected groups have worked closely with the White House on issues like criminal justice reform, the Koch network is unhappy with the GOP’s handling of two specific policy areas: trade and immigration, issues on which the Kochs’ libertarian leanings cause them to break with the administration. …

… Koch network groups had planned in January to spend as much as $400 million on the 2018 midterms — including $20 million on selling the GOP tax cuts to voters.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the Kochs put much more money into state-level candidates and legislative initiatives than they do presidential politics. If you control most of the states, who needs the feds?

Steve Bannon, who controls absolutely nothing, issued a laughable warning:

“You take Koch money, it’s going to be toxic. We are going to let people know that if you take Koch money there’s a punishment,” Bannon, former chief White House strategist and Trump campaign chief executive, told CNBC in an exclusive interview. “If you take money from people who are against the president and are looking to put a knife in the back of the president, you are going to pay.”

So are they going to get money from Trump or Bannon instead? Fat chance.

This particular tiff, by itself, may go nowhere. But I suspect that someday, when historians are investigating the smoldering ruins of Trumpism, pissing off the Kochs will be identified as an accelerant.

See also Philip Bump,   Trump’s two-track strategy: The rich get richer, and the poor get distracted. Also Greg Sargent, In a new tweetstorm, Trump gives his voters the middle finger.

9 thoughts on “The Trump Vs. Koch Smackdown

  1. “If you control most of the states, who needs the feds?”

    With enough states they can have a Constitutional Convention and rewrite the Constitution.

  2. Just even thinking of the Koch's not giving them money probably set the nut's on the nut's in the GOP to clattering like they were tambourines.

  3. This better not be another North Korea thing.  Trump's picking fights, declaring victory, only to have things wind up much worse for the rest of us, is getting to be a habit.

  4. "Steve Bannon, who controls absolutely nothing, issued a laughable warning"

    That whole Steve Bannon thing is quite curious. Bannon who has seemingly been cast aside by tRump and the wing-nut media machine for accidentally telling the truth is still out there clinging to some sense of relevance. He’s like toddler holding on to that stinky worn out blankey! SAD!

  5. This could turn into quite the big money, big power brawl.  What happens if the Murdoch family and Fox News side with the Koch brothers?  

  6. “Pass the popcorn. Wouldn’t you love to see the Republican party split to pieces.”

    Could happen. All the “Trump-y”, brown-nose (and shirt?) candidates who got nominated based on “the base” are now supposed to be disavowing anything to do with Trump to pull in independents and moderates. Ads seem to indicate continued Trumpiness, which seems to me a recipe for failure on their part (and, hopefully, blue skies for America).

  7. Oh, and the Koch’s win the smack down. I am not the first to observe an attack tweet from Trump seems to be a resume enhancer, and that seems to be true whether you are a Democrat OR a Republican.

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