Donald Trump's feud with Koch brothers widens as GOP chair joins fray

Pamela Hampton votes in Sandy Springs Ga. As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid warnings of Russian hacking about 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper


President Donald Trump hugged Senate candidate Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., June 27, during a campaign rally in Fargo, N.D. The conservative Koch brothers' network declared, Monday, that it will not help elect Cramer, the Republican Senate candidate in North Dakota, turning its back on the GOP in a marquee election - at least for now - after determining that the Republican challenger is no better than the Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.

The warning, presented in a memo to donors, comes amid days of open warfare between the Koch network and Trump Republicans after the President was criticized at the group's summer meeting.

"It's unfair to their people", Koch said of Trump's tariffs in an interview with ABC.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Charles Koch of Koch Brothers, who claims to be giving away millions of dollars to politicians even though I know very few who have seen this (?), now makes the ridiculous statement that what President Trump is doing is unfair to "foreign workers".

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Earlier this week, Trump blasted the Koch brothers again on Twitter, saying they are "against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade [sic]".

Calling their network "highly overrated", he added: "I have beaten them at every turn". "He is correct, AMERICA FIRST!"

The Koch Brothers, Charles and David, are second-generation owners of a US energy empire that has an annual revenue of 115 billion USA dollars.

That's not out of nowhere; Koch and his ailing brother David, who last month retired from political work and Koch Industries, often agree with Democrats on sentencing reform.

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And Charles Koch said that his network would "hold people responsible" for not defending his network's libertarian principles and policy priorities, raising speculation that the Kochs are reconsidering their typically full-throated support for Republican candidates in the midterm elections. While the Kochs refused to endorse Trump's first presidential run, the president's loyalists don't want his 2020 re-election campaign bogged down by lingering bad blood. "We look forward to working with anyone to do so", he said.

At the Koch network's summer conference, the group's leaders also offered pointed criticism of the President. "How celebs are getting into the midterms Dem lawmaker sees "probability" that next Speaker will be black Senate GOP battles for leverage with House on spending MORE Congress, that's more powerful than any policy debate or anything else because I think Republicans and most of the independents, a majority of independents, see that as risky to some piece of policy that they like, be it immigration or economic policy", he continued.

"That's not helpful to Democrats, it's not going to be helpful to the Koch brothers, either". Jeremy Peters writes in today's article regarding 2016 that "the Koch network only participated at the congressional level, snubbing Mr. Trump".

Tensions remained between the two camps - in part fueled by the Kochs' status as key members of the Manhattan donor network, a group that has long rejected Trump, even as the president staffed his administration with a number of Koch alumni.

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