David Koch, the billionaire libertarian who played a key role in shaping American politics over the last few decades, died Friday at age 79. The announcement sparked a flood of comments online from Koch’s left-wing critics, including several left-wing media members, many of whom took the opportunity to malign the philanthropist, some even openly celebrating his death.
“While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart,” his family said in a statement reported by The Wall Street Journal Friday. Koch Industries Inc. also issued a statement citing Koch’s struggles with various illnesses over many years, the Journal reports.
Koch, who was socially liberal but fiscally conservative, donated over a billion to various charitable causes and also used his wealth, estimated at around $50.5 billion, to shape the political landscape, the latter earning him infamous status among the Left.
News of Koch’s death was met with both statements of gratitude for his charitable giving as well as a wave of criticism and mockery from his critics.
Among those who have issued a statement expressing appreciation for the role he played in American society and politics was Republican Sen. Rand Paul (KY). “RIP to a man who lived a life of liberty, peace and philanthropy. Great blessings bring [sic] great responsibility, and David Koch lived that way,” Paul wrote. “His many contributions will have lasting impact on our country. My thoughts are with his family today.”
Koch’s leftist critics, including several members of the media, had a far different response.
“David Koch was a villain who devoted his wealth to further enriching himself and his fellow plutocrats, while spinning us all toward environmental doom,” wrote Slate’s Jordan Weissmann. “I don’t believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I hope his soul suffers for eternity.”
“David Koch is dead. Forget the fawning obituaries: the man spent his life funding campaigns to dismantle unions, drive down wages, slash benefits and destroy the planet. He was a monument to the grotesque greed of the billionaire class — and why we need to defeat them,” wrote Tribune Magazine’s Ronan Burtenshaw.
“I’m sure David Koch loved his grandkids or whatever, but the reality is that he and his greedy generation in Big Business and politics set the world on fire from Alaska to the Amazon, and now they won’t be around to watch the flames consume the rest of us,” tweeted Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch.
“David Koch wanted to abolish public schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and rent control,” said CNN commentator Keith Boykin. “He financed groups that denied the research on climate change. He funded the Tea Party. And he used dark money to support right-wing causes and Republican candidates for office.”
“Seeing lots of headlines about David Koch’s death referring to ‘billionaire’, ‘industrialist’ or ‘libertarian’ Koch,” wrote Mehdi Hasan, a columnist for The Intercept and Al Jazeera presenter (tweet below). “Haven’t seen any refer to him as ‘climate denier’ Koch. But that’ll be his long-term legacy: funding the effort to downplay an existential threat to all of us.”
Other “blue check” left-wing critics weighed in as well.
“David Koch has died. In lieu of flowers please construct a shadow network of tax deductible shell companies to donate to the further perpetuation of environmental destruction and income inequality,” wrote writer/producer John Gondelman.
“David Koch will be considered as evil as a man as any mass murderer in history,” wrote one self-described “progressive political activist.” “His legacy has lead humanity and the planet to the brink of destruction. Our survival depends on destroying almost every aspect of his life’s work.”
“First Epstein dies, then David Koch. This is the first time I’ve been super psyched for the rule of threes,” wrote another “blue-check” critic.
In response to all the left-wing opprobrium directed at Koch, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro tweeted: “The glee over the death of David Koch — a serious philanthropist with libertarian political views — is a perfect example of how poisonous our politics have become.”
Some of the left-wing tweets belows:
Screenshot of Weissmann’s tweet since he “autodeletes” them: