This Is Where the Koch Brothers Agree With Donald Trump — And Where They Disagree

Shot of David Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, giving the thumbs-up to the crowd in 2015.

David Koch | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Charles and David Koch are two of the 10 richest Americans, according to The New Yorker. They’ve donated conservative and libertarian causes and funded candidates for office. You might remember them saying that Donald Trump’s presidential race against Hillary Clinton as a choice between cancer and a heart attack.

The Koch brothers are not fans of Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum goods he plans to impose on products from Mexico, China, Canada, and the European Union. Find out why, then explore the things they admire about the current administration.

Why the Koch brothers hate the tariffs

Trump’s new tariffs violate the brothers’ principles and would also hurt their business, Koch Industries. So much so that they plan to spend $30 million on advertising against the tariffs. Although the brothers are known for supporting Republican causes, this is not one of them. They believe the U.S. should continue to be open to trade —  and have an open-door policy for allies.

Trade barriers make Americas as a whole poorer and they especially harm those already disadvantaged,” said James Davis, spokesman for the Koch network. “Trade wars hurt everyone. They trigger retaliatory tariffs from our trade partners and that raises prices on American families who need affordable access to household goods. We urge the Trump administration to abandon these tariffs.”

The Koch brothers’ other issues with Trump

The tariffs aren’t the only things the Koch brothers have an issue with regarding Trump. They have clashed with the president on issues including his ban on refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries, the initiation of border taxes, and hints of a huge, new infrastructure program, according to Time.

And although the brothers forged a relationship with the president in 2017 when they worked together on tax reform, the relationship is back to being strained. The Kochs never supported Trump’s run for president and didn’t donate any funds to help elect him.

When Trump called for the Muslim ban, Charles Koch said it was “reminiscent of Nazi Germany” and that it was the “wrong approach” — and didn’t invite him to talk to the brothers’ network of donors. He also said that there was “an environment that is fertile for authoritarianism in the United States now.”

Areas of agreement

The Koch brothers have managed to find areas in which they agree with Donald Trump, according to Politico. They praised his tax reform, calling it a “transformative event.”  And they also support his idea of reconstructing the criminal justice system. 

The Koch network spent $20 million in 2017 on promoting a rewrite for the tax code — and officials say they will spend $20 million more in 2018 to sell it to the public. They have also been working with Trump to overhaul the prison system, which has been important to the brothers for a long time. The brothers will support two bills in Congress — each with bipartisan support — and they announced a new research initiative reducing recidivism that they are working on with the White House.

The Koch brothers also approved of Trump’s judicial appointments, particularly of Neil Gorsuch to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court in 2017. In fact, the Koch brothers’ network of libertarian-leaning advocacy groups pressured senators to confirm Gorsuch’s appointment, according to the National Review.

Read more: Here’s Why These Workers Who Supported Trump Are Turning on Him

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!