Senior officials and donors from the groups affiliated with billionaire conservative businessman Charles Koch expressed great displeasure with President Donald Trump and his Republican enablers in the U.S. Congress at the group’s biannual seminar in Colorado Springs this weekend.
“Trump tariffs assailed at Koch network gathering”
Trump tariffs assailed at Koch network gathering https://t.co/FeFtFKrgXg
— POLITICO (@politico) July 29, 2018
Issues ranging from trade tariffs to immigration and spending were discussed among the Koch Network seminar attendees. The top Koch strategists held a news conference at the seminar and set forth the many areas where they think Trump and GOP Congress have gone astray.
They also expressed frustration at what they called the “divisiveness” of the Trump administration, which they say is making it nearly impossible to find areas where legislators of different parties can find compromise.
“The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage,” said Charles Koch Foundation president Brian Hooks. “When in order to win on an issue, someone else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite and solve the problems of this country.”
“When we say there’s a lack of leadership … I’d include the White House and a number of politicians who are following that lead,” Hooks added. “There’s a need for someone to step up and show people it’s possible to achieve things when you unite people together … rather than divide them.”
Charles Koch himself warned against “a rise in protectionism” and he has previously expressed his unhappiness at the Trump’s tariffs and immigration policies.
Koch Network officials were very upset about the Trump administration giving $12 billion in aid to farmers who are being harmed by retaliatory tariffs, calling them “Depression-era policies punctuated by farmer bailouts.”
“This is hurting people and doing long-term damage to the country,” Hooks said.
Koch Network officials also said they’re “appalled” by Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which resulted in thousands of adults being arrested and children being separated from their parents at the Mexican border.
“We’ve been very vocal in our opposition to that, it’s one of the main injustices we’re trying to work really hard to unite people around and ultimately to drive the administration to change their policy there,” said Koch Network spokesman James Davis.
The Koch Network has also officially expressed displeasure with the Republicans who control both houses of Congress. They want to see Republicans pass a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 2 million “Dreamers,” immigrants who were brought to the country as children.
And they’re still irate about the $1.3 trillion spending bill that was passed by Republicans in March.
“The challenge here is that if we continue to do that we’ll slow the decline of the country rather than change the trajectory of the country, and our supporters and donors have said ‘no,’ we have to step up to lead here,” Davis said.
This weekend’s meeting is the largest the Koch Network has ever held, with more than 500 donors attending, each of whom was expected to contribute at least $100,000.