The wealthy donor network affiliated with billionaire Charles Koch and his late brother David has stated that it would not support Donald Trump’s next presidential campaign.
The statement, delivered by Americans for Prosperity Action leadership in a memo to staff on Sunday, did not identify which candidate would receive the potential support, but guaranteed it would not go to the troubled former president.
While not addressing Trump by name, the CEO of the Kochs’ primary political arm threw a not-so-subtle swipe at the previous president, who frequently clashed with Koch executives during his presidency over his administration’s trade and immigration policies.
The move, originally reported by The Washington Post, comes after the donor group formed by the wealthy industrialist brothers chose to abstain from the two most recent Republican primaries, in which Trump, 76, twice emerged as a leading candidate.
It also makes it unclear who the clear frontrunner is among a pool of probable Republican contenders that includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Trump’s former running mate Mike Pence.
After abstaining from the last two Republican presidential primaries, the donor network founded by billionaire Charles Koch has stated that it will not support Donald Trump’s next run for office.
While not addressing Trump by name, the CEO of the Kochs’ organization appeared to disparage the former president in a document announcing the group’s new philanthropic intentions published on Sunday.
With its newly announced political support, Americans for Prosperity’s chief executive Emily Seidel said that the organization intends to ‘turn the page on the past’ and ‘create a new chapter for our country.
“The loudest voice in each political party sets the tone for the entire election,” observed Seidel, who added, “In a presidential election year, that loudest voice is the presidential candidate.”
“And to write a new chapter for our country, we must turn the page on the past,” she concluded.
Therefore, the greatest thing for the country in 2025 would be to elect a president who represents a new era.’
Seidel went on to mention ‘broken politics’ and a ‘toxic climate’ as important factors in the grassroots organization’s decision to support an unnamed, non-Trump presidential candidate.
The Koch network’s flagship organization, Americans for Prosperity, has offices in 36 states and millions of grassroots activists who share the organization’s conservative values.
Seidel remarked, “The Republican Party is nominating poor candidates who advocate for policies that run counter to fundamental American values, and the American people are rejecting them.”
As Democrats continue to promote “ever more extreme policies,” she continued, “AFP Action is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our nation forward.” And who can succeed?’
The message said, “The American people have demonstrated their readiness to move on, and AFP will assist them in doing so.”
Sent to staffers and other political activists on Sunday, the email did not provide a specific budget for 2024, but if similar to the substantial payments made by the company in previous elections, they might total hundreds of millions of dollars.
The move raises confusion as to who among a still-developing pool of potential Republican contenders – including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – is the most likely to run for president in 2020.
Americans for Prosperity, the Koch network’s main organization, has offices in 36 states and millions of conservative grassroots activists around the country.
The firm was founded in 2004 by Koch, 87, and his late younger brother, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 79, and has since emerged as the main branch of one of the world’s most influential donor networks, thanks to a practically limitless source of funding.
Using this vast network, the Koch brothers, who were jointly worth an estimated $102.4 billion in 2017 according to Forbes, raised over $400 million for Republican candidates in the 2012 presidential election.
Other prospective candidates include former Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo, both of whom have ties to Koch and his extensive funding network.
Charles and his late brother David Koch, who passed away in 2012, control a vast network of libertarian and conservative contributors who have poured millions of dollars into their chosen candidates.
The group’s financial resources are reportedly comparable to those of the Republican National Committee.
Nonetheless, when it comes to 2024, a number of Republicans exploring bids could receive Koch’s support, with some in the past already receiving assistance from Koch-backed super PACs, including DeSantis before to his own 2018 GOP primary.
Former Vice President Pence and Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff and longtime adviser, who once managed political activities for the Koch network, are also prospective candidates.
Another potential possibility is former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who received support from Koch-led political committees when he served as a congressman in Wichita, Kansas – the home of Koch Industries.
Former South Carolina governor Haley also has ties to Koch’s extensive donor network and has previously attended the family’s donor conclaves.
Like DeSantis, she is likely to declare her candidacy for the Republican nomination later this month.
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