The billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch had decided to reserve their vast campaign fundraising network during the GOP primary, citing that they do not approve of any of the Republican nominees (video below).
Charles said it is possible they will favor Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over the current GOP crop. At the least, the two mega-donors will not participate in the Republican National Convention in July.
On April 24, Charles sat down with ABC News to discuss the state of the presidential race. He and his brother, David, have been influential Republican donors but have deep reservations about the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, which Charles labeled “terrible role models."
“These personal attacks and pitting one person against the other -- that’s the message you’re sending the country,” Charles said. “You’re role models and you’re terrible role models. So how -- I don’t know how we could support ‘em.”
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Koch had hoped Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would make a late entry into the GOP race, The Huffington Post reports.
The billionaire allegedly told his inner circle that if GOP front-runner Donald Trump had not amassed enough delegates to win on the first ballot of the July convention, then Ryan would be a “shoo-in.”
Ryan has publicly renounced any interest in becoming the party nominee. Koch apparently agrees with the House speaker’s reasoning that the GOP nominee should be a candidate who has participated in state primaries.
“I don’t see how he could win,” Koch said. “If he did, I mean that would create the impression this whole thing is rigged, which -- that’s the opposite of the direction we want to go.”
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Charles slammed the most likely candidates for the Republican nomination. Koch deemed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas’ proposal to carpet bomb the Middle East to combat ISIS to be “frightening.”
He also had harsh words for Trump, calling his proposal to place a travel ban on Muslims to be “antithetical” to American values.
“What was worse was this ‘we’ll have them all registered,’” Koch said. “That’s reminiscent of Nazi Germany.”
Asked if Clinton could be a preferable alternative to the Republican candidates, Koch answered "it’s possible."
“We’re not for somebody because they’re Republican or against them because they’re a Democrat,” Koch concluded. “If the Democrats will do a better job, we would support them.”
Clinton swiftly shot down the idea of being backed by the Koch brothers shortly after the interview aired. The former secretary of state took to social media to make her opposition to the Republican donors clear, Bloomberg reports.
“Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote,” Clinton tweeted.
Charles and David Koch are collectively worth $106 billion. Organizations affiliated to them raised $407 million in campaign contributions for the 2012 election.