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Trump's Spat With Koch Brothers Just Went Very Public - Page 2

Their conservative movement is a 'total joke,' says the president
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2018 10:25 AM CDT

  • Another shot: The president of the Charles Koch Foundation was even more cutting over the weekend: "The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage," said Brian Hooks, per CNN. "When in order to win on an issue someone else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite people and solve the problems in this country. You see that on trade: In order to get to a good place on trade, convince the American people that trade is bad."
  • Telltale race: The Koch network also has defied the White House in the Senate race in North Dakota pitting vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp against GOP challenger Kevin Cramer, reports the Washington Post. Trump has personally campaigned for Cramer, but the Kochs say they can't support him because he's not fiscally conservative enough, citing, for example, his support of Trump's trillion-dollar spending package, per the Hill.
  • Familiar face: The Kochs' criticism of the White House and their reticence to back the entire GOP ballot caused former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to lash out. "What they have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK?" Bannon told Politico. "And here's the program: Ground game to support Trump's presidency and program, [and] victory on Nov. 6." Trump's tweets, however, suggest he doesn't want their help now.
  • The choice: In an analysis at the Atlantic, Reihan Salam susses all this out and frames it in general terms with this question: "Will the GOP be the party of Donald Trump or the party of Charles Koch?" The Kochs helped shape the GOP agenda during the Obama years, but the party's populist turn under Trump has them worried, he writes. However, this new split with the GOP may ultimately backfire for the brothers, he warns.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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