News & Politics

Koch Brothers Refuse to Meet With Trump

(Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP, File)

Some wealthy GOP donors reached out to Charles and David Koch to see if a meeting could be arranged between the mega donors and Donald Trump. The Kochs have continuously said they will not support the GOP nominee’s presidential bid.

But with the alarming discrepancy between Hillary Clinton’s fundraising efforts and the Trump money operation, some Trump donors who happen to be part of the Koch fundraising network tried to reach out to the brothers in Colorado Springs this weekend. It was to no avail.

Politico:

The billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, meanwhile, are being urged to reconsider their opposition to Trump by some of the donors in their network who are supporting the Manhattan tycoon, including Minnesota media mogul Stanley S. Hubbard and Dallas investor Ray Washburne, according to the two Republicans familiar with the outreach.

The Republicans, who travel in political finance circles, requested anonymity to discuss private talks. They said that the pro-Trump cohort had lobbied for a Friday meeting.

The Koch brothers and Trump are in town for separate events — Trump for a fundraiser, and the Kochs for the kickoff of the annual summer summit of their donor network at a tony resort in Colorado Springs.

But the Republicans familiar with the push said top Koch aides rejected the idea of a meeting.

“It is not going to happen,” said one of the Republicans, adding that the Kochs appear unlikely to back away from their repeated declarations that they don’t plan to spend any money in the presidential race, and will instead refocus their spending down ballot.

Washburne, who is helping to lead Trump’s fundraising effort, did not respond to requests for a comment. The Trump campaign also did not respond to a request for comment.

Another Trump donor who participates in Koch summits, Doug Deason, told Reuters that he was also pushing for a meeting, explaining, “We think it’s really important that Donald convince Charles he’s the right guy, and for Charles to influence Donald’s policies.”

James Davis, a spokesman for the Koch-backed group Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, which is organizing the Colorado Springs summit, said that there is no meeting planned between Trump and the Kochs.

But he pointed out that a top Koch lawyer, Mark Holden, had met earlier in New York with Trump campaign staff.

“Our team has met with them before to discuss the issues that we care about and helping people improve their lives,” Davis said, adding, however, that the network’s focus “remains on the Senate.

By the time the election rolls around, Hillary Clinton is expected to have raised and spent $1.5 billion. While Trump’s fundraising has picked up considerably, some campaign finance experts believe he will be doing very well to raise $350 million.

The discrepancy in paid advertising won’t matter nearly as much as the massive field operation that Clinton is putting together. There’s no substitute for shoe leather and simply, Clinton has it and Trump doesn’t. In a close election, those cadres of paid staff and volunteers may make the difference for Clinton between victory and defeat.

While the Trump campaign can still go after individual donors in the Koch network, most of the organizations involved follow the lead of the Koch brothers. That they are going to concentrate on down-ballot races is bad news for the nominee and bad news for Republican prospects in November.