Kochs won’t help top GOP Senate candidates in key state

Donald Trump

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"I made ... them richer", Trump tweeted.

The announcement, released Monday, sends a strong message to Republican officials nationwide that there may be real political consequences for those unwilling to oppose the spending explosion and protectionist trade policies embraced by the Trump White House in recent weeks.

With months to go before a crucial Senate election in North Dakota, the Koch network has not offered any funds to the Republican candidate. He appeared at a Koch gathering last October in NY to seek the donors' support for the massive tax cut package Trump signed into law late past year.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who attended the Koch summit, said, "It's their money and their choices", adding, "They've got to make their decisions".

Trump ridiculed them for supporting some parts of his agenda - especially his tax cuts - but not for his efforts to protect the American worker.

In particular, the Koch brothers and their network expressed their opposition to Trump's fair trade policies and tariffs, which are resulting in ongoing clashes with us trading partners, and also the president's strict immigration enforcement and border security agenda. The Kochs plan to ignore North Dakota's high-profile Senate contest.

"We're going to be much stricter if they say they're for the principles we espouse and then they aren't", Koch said. "We're gonna more directly deal with that and hold people accountable".

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. More than 500 of them are gathered for the three-day retreat here at the sprawling Broadmoor resort, which encircles a man-made lake and looks out to a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains.

"That's not right", he told the Associated Press. 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.

But the libertarian-leaning organization has sharply parted with Trump and congressional Republicans on trade, immigration and other issues.

"Heitkamp, we're going to knock her out of the water. They have been very helpful to Kansas, and Kansas' economy is starting to grow", Colyer said Tuesday at Hilltop Learning Center in Overland Park after casting his early ballot in the state primary.

Withholding support for Cramer could be a fairly low-stakes political move for the network. And the network already is engaged in Senate races to help Republicans in Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee and Florida.

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