President Trump on Tuesday ripped the billionaire Koch brothers as a “total joke in Republican circles” and said he doesn’t “need their money or bad ideas.”
It’s unclear why Trump is declaring war on the powerful brothers with just 98 days to go until the mid-term elections. The brothers are funding nearly a dozen key races, so taking aim at them now seems self-defeating.
On the other hand, the Koch brothers appear to be moving away from conservative causes, as Fox News reported that the two are “distancing themselves from the GOP and becoming less focused on partisan politics.”
Charles Koch said he “regrets” support for some Republican lawmakers in recent years.
“We’re going to be more strict on holding someone accountable if they say they’re going to be for the principles that we espouse, and then they aren’t,” Charles Koch said, according to the Washington Post. “Our organization is happy to support anybody. We’d love for there to be more Democrats to support these ideas and these issues.”
The two brothers, each worth about $60 billion, have also criticized Republicans for overspending in the $1.32 trillion budget passed in March and for Trump’s imposition of new trade tariffs on foreign products.
“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 going to more directly deal with that and hold people responsible for their commitments.”
The Koch brothers, who run the political group Americans for Prosperity, are providing help to Republican Senate candidates in Tennessee, Florida and Wisconsin, but have refused to fund several other hopefuls.