Published On: Fri, Aug 23rd, 2019

David Koch death: Inside US billionaire’s ferocious rows with Donald Trump | World | News

David Koch made up one of the Koch brothers alongside sibling Charles. A historical libertarian, he ran for Vice President in 1980 with the Libertarian Party and, later in life, began giving large sums of money to the Republican Party in 2008 to defeat then-candidate Barack Obama. He was not so keen on parting with his money come 2016, however, due to his political differences with Trump.

Mr Koch announced in January that he would not be supporting Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

This came as a huge blow to Trump, who reportedly received $889million from Koch-backed groups in the 2016 Presidential election.

However, it was not much of a surprise.

The move followed a number of decisions by the White House which Mr Koch perceived as anti-free trade.

In June last year the billionaire brothers launched a multi-million dollar campaign against Trump’s trade tariffs.

The US President has been locked in a trade war with China, but has also imposed tariffs on the likes of Canada and Mexico in an attempt to put ‘America first’.

In response, three political groups backed by the pair claimed they would use advertising and heavy lobbying to push the benefits of free trade.

At the time, BBC analyst Anthony Zurcher said: “Since Mr Trump’s surprise victory, Charles and David Koch have sought common ground with the president, particularly on tax reform, but they continue to be far from ideological soul mates.

A month later, Trump lashed out at the Koch brothers and labelled them “a total joke”.

He was speaking in response to their reluctance to back him come 2020.

Trump remarked: “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against strong borders and powerful trade.

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“I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas.

“They love my tax and regulation cuts, judicial picks & more.

“I made them richer. Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn.

“They want to protect their companies outside the US from being taxed.

“I’m for America First and the American Worker – a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas.”

The breakdown in the relationship between the two parties was ironic, according to author Jane Mayer.

In her book ‘Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right’, she noted how the Koch brothers had helped Trump reach the White House in the first place.

Decades of work donating to pro-right wing and anti-government causes led to the eventual rise of Trump’s voter base.

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She wrote: “The Kochs failed at the ballot box in 1980, but instead of accepting America’s verdict, they set out to change how it voted.

“If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organisations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency.”

Once the restriction on political spending was lifted by the Supreme Court in 2010, the Koch brothers donated to hundreds of Republican candidates.

Their money flowed into swing states such as Wisconsin in 2016, meaning Trump comfortably took the Presidency.

Their money flowed into swing states such as Wisconsin in 2016, meaning Trump comfortably took the Presidency.

David and Charles Koch have been heavily criticised for their undue political influence and the changes it has made to the US.

Koch Industries ranks among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate and, in 2014, generated 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases.

His billions funded climate denial and funded anti-worker campaigns throughout his political life.

The Campaign Against Climate Change website states: “Their vast conglomerate has a deplorable record for breaking environmental regulations and illegal pollution.

“A Koch Industries subsidiary paid a landmark $35million penalty in January 2000 for its three hundred oil spills in Texas and five other states.

“There is a catalogue of other fines paid by Koch industries for assorted environmental violations and, for instance, stealing oil from Federal and Indian land.

“The Koch brothers have not held back from using their political influence to evade such penalties.

“It might come as no surprise then that the Koch brothers devote a considerable portion of their enormous income to funding a political campaign against every kind of environmental or other regulation that might get in the way of their huge profits.

“They disguise this with a smokescreen of philanthropic donation to prestige institutions like the Smithsonian but they have also used their money to create an extensive network of think tanks, foundations, lobbyists and tame politicians which has been called ‘the Kochtopus’.”

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