The feud between President Donald Trump and the Koch Network that boiled over this week has Republican lawmakers and candidates in the crouch position to avoid the crossfire, The Washington Post reports.
Trump this week struck back at billionaire Charles Koch and his donor network after their full-frontal assault on Trump and his policies this past weekend.
While Trump called the Koch brothers – though David retired for health reasons – a “total joke,” the $400 million the Koch Network plans to spend on policy issues in the coming months is no joke to Republican incumbents and candidates.
The hundreds of donors who attended the Koch Network summit last weekend have put Republicans on notice that their support for Trump’s policies could mean the end of financial support from the network. Already the Koch Network has refused to back Rep. Kevin Cramer over Democrat incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.
“The Kochs are rather appalled at what they’re seeing from Republicans who they helped elect in 2010, 2014 and 2016 — and who promised to be fiscally responsible and support free markets,” conservative activist Erick Erickson told the Post.
And that’s not a comfortable place for Republican candidates to be, mere months from the midterms.
“Charles and his people are drawing the line in the sand. They know Trump represents a fundamental break with their approach,” Newt Gingrich told the Post.
The ripple effect of the Koch’s summit reached the upper echelons of Republicans on Capitol Hill where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn were baffled by the direction the Kochs are taking, the Post reported.
“It brings home how much Trump has broken with traditional Republicans,” conservative Bill Kristol told the Post.
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