In April, Charles Koch, the billionaire businessman known for donating large sums to Republican and conservative causes with his brother, David, hinted he would not be supporting the Republican nominee for president. The comment triggered Donald Trump, then the front-runner for the GOP nomination, to attack the Koch brothers on Twitter.
“I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch. Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better!” Trump, who is now president-elect, tweeted in July.
But things may be shifting between Trump and the Koch brothers.
David Koch was spotted at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Dec. 22, meeting with the president-elect, notes the Washington Post.
According to Politico, Trump has been packing his administration with Koch allies.
“In creating the Koch network, I don’t think that we ever envisioned that we would be supplying staffers to this semi-free market, semi-populist president,” said Frayda Levin, a donor and chair of one of the Koch brothers’ main voter mobilization groups, Americans for Prosperity. “But we’re happy that he’s picking people who have that free market background, particularly because on many issues, he is a blank slate, so anybody with expertise is in an amazing position to shape his agenda.”
“If you’re not going to pull from the Chamber of Commerce, Bush wing of the party, you don’t have that many places to go, so it makes sense to look to Koch world,” an adviser to Trump’s campaign and transition team added. “Trump is looking for new blood that wasn’t part of the traditional establishment, and his presidency is already totally rewriting the Republican hierarchy. There were all these people who were locked out who are now getting their chance.”
For her part, Democrat Hillary Clinton publicly rejected any support from the Kochs. In April, she tweeted, “Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote.”