Donald Trump woke up this morning and bluntly declared war on the Koch Brothers, the pair of conservative billionaires who have been bankrolling the campaigns of numerous Republicans for years. This was a surreal moment of biting the hand that feeds. But this wasn’t merely Trump picking a random fight to try to distract us from today’s kickoff of the Paul Manafort trial. Trump suddenly has a serious problem when it comes to the Kochs, which prompted his meltdown.
Yesterday the Koch Brothers officially decided not to bankroll the Republican candidate who’s challenging Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. This is a huge deal, as the GOP needs to take that seat in order to keep its Senate majority intact. The Kochs and their political arm are saying that the Republican candidate in question simply doesn’t meet their standards of fiscal conservatism. But that’s just rhetoric. The Kochs know that the GOP desperately needs to win this race in order to keep Donald Trump afloat. By not funding this race, they’re making Trump a sitting duck.
Funding this North Dakota race would be relative pocket change for the Koch Brothers – and they’ve previously funded Republican candidates who were much further removed from their “standards.” So either the Kochs are trying to punish the Republican Party for not having delivered enough pet legislation in return over the past two years, and they don’t care that it’ll lead to Trump’s demise, or the Kochs are doing this because they want Trump gone.
We’ll see what the Koch Brothers end up doing with the Republican Senate candidates they’ve already begun funding in other states. But without North Dakota, the GOP will likely lose its majority. If the Democrats take control of the Senate, every committee will immediately begin exposing Trump’s various crimes in one nationally televised hearing after another. No wonder Trump lashed out at the Kochs this morning. They just decided to feed him to the wolves.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report