Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Trump blasts Koch brothers as 'a total joke'

Trump blasts Koch brothers as 'a total joke'

In remarks to reporters Sunday, Charles Koch - now exclusively at the helm after the retirement of his ailing brother David earlier this year - stopped short of blaming Trump personally for the political divisions.

The Koch network said on Monday it would not support congressman Kevin Cramer in his attempt to unseat the Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, in North Dakota, a state that voted heavily for Trump in 2016.

President Trump blasted the conservative mega-donor Koch brothers on Tuesday as a "total joke" and promised supporters he would be "a puppet for no one", amid rising tensions over trade and other administration policies.

The Koch-backed network also said it would not support the Republican challenger to Democratic US Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who is facing re-election, according to the Washington Post.

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Most Republican senators tread carefully Tuesday since they are eager to win support both from Trump and from Koch-aligned donors - a balancing act that could be hard as tensions flare.

The midterm strategy could change in the coming weeks, but the Kochs now plan to ignore North Dakota's high-profile Senate contest, where three-term Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. And to be clear, we've met with his team, explained this, and lobbied him on this to change their ways.

Early morning Twitter attacks by the President of the United States on those who criticize him, have become commonplace these days. Two nice guys with bad ideas. But he embraced Trump's moves during the first year of his presidency, including the $1.5 trillion tax package Trump signed into law late last year that instituted a 40% permanent tax cut for corporations.

Asked if Democrats were to retake control of the House, he said, "I don't care what initials are in front, or after, somebody's name...."

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His tweets come after a spokesman for the brothers' network accused the White House of stoking divisiveness. She faces Republican U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer, who Trump endorsed on Friday.

In a separate tweet, Trump argued that he "made them richer" and that the Koch network "is highly overrated".

Koch, 82, has been at the helm of his family's political organization since his younger brother, David, announced in June that he would be retiring from Koch Industries and politics for health reasons.

On Sunday, Charles Koch vowed to reporters that his network would "hold people responsible" for not defending his network's libertarian principles and policy priorities. "I'm into hating the sin, not the sinner".

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"I think what is important for the media and American public to know is Charles and David never wanted to be Republicans".

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