After choosing to skip recent primaries, conservative billionaire Charles Koch and the network of donors he leads announced it will oppose former Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, instead choosing to “seek a new chapter” in the GOP’s history.
In a memo released publicly on Sunday, the chief executive of the Koch network’s flagship group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), Emily Seidel wrote, “At a time in our country when millions of Americans are struggling, we must always remember why AFP is engaged in elections: to help elect candidates who will pass policies that empower people to improve their lives.”
Tucker Carlson torpedoes Koch Brothers: Wake up, they’re open-borders RINOs undermining the GOP https://t.co/nroLKxPzWP pic.twitter.com/0GMQvr9SAr
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AFP, Seidel continues, “aspires to be the home for voters and policy makers, regardless of political party, who want to change the trajectory of our country toward one guided by core American principles, principles like freedom and empowerment and a strong constitutional system so that all people have the opportunity to live their American Dream.”
“Given all that’s at stake right now,” the memo reads, “we are redoubling our focus on this vision and taking our strategy to do this to the next level.”
Seidel points to today’s “broken politics” and the “toxic situation” in Washington, D.C. and says Republicans are “nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles.”
Not only are Americans “rejecting” these candidates, the memo claims, Democrats see the situation as a “political opportunity” to push even more “extreme policies.”
“The best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter,” writes Seidel.
While Trump is never mentioned by name, it is clear from the three-page memo that the AFP sees it as its duty to stop him from gaining the nomination.
RNC sounds alarms warning donors to ditch Koch brothers after more anti-Trump, pro-Dem moves https://t.co/KobvgEo4we pic.twitter.com/yY5JIRMvLl
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 4, 2018
“When you understand the landscape… it’s clear,” writes Seidel, “Our country must move past the current political situation – we’ve got to turn the page on the past several years.”
“Lots of people are frustrated. But very few people are in a position to do something about it. AFP is,” the memo continues. “Now is the time to rise to the occasion.”
“The move marks the most notable example to date of an overt and coordinated effort from within conservative circles to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination for a third straight presidential election,” The Washington Post reports, adding that, “absent a consolidated effort to stop Trump, many critics fear he will be able to exploit GOP divisions and chart a course to the nomination as he did in 2016.”
In terms of how much money AFP is willing to spend to defeat the former President, The Post explains:
While the memo didn’t name a spending target, AFP’s affiliated super PAC spent more than $69 million in the 2022 cycle, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures. The Koch network joins the Club for Growth, another of the largest outside spenders, and several of the party’s biggest individual donors, such as finance billionaires Kenneth C. Griffin and Stephen A. Schwarzman in signaling their opposition to Trump’s current campaign. Others are holding back for now.
The last time the Koch network got involved in primary politics was in 2015 when they backed five presidential candidates.. Trump bested all five of them.
This time around, the group is going to endorse just one candidate before this summer ends, a source familiar with the discussions told The Post.
The memo appears to back up that claim.
“AFP Action is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward, and who can win,” Seidel wrote.
Trump pounds on ‘overrated’ Koch brothers as ‘a total joke’: ‘I don’t need their money or bad ideas …’ https://t.co/rwZAtjsIlg pic.twitter.com/hpBBZJxTC4
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 31, 2018
Donors learned of this plan at a meeting of the Koch network in Palm Springs, Calif., according to The Post. In attendance were Republican Representatives Nancy Mace (S.C.) and Andrew Ogles (Tenn.) and Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.).
AFP’s Super PAC supported each of their campaigns in 2022, and Schmitt has already endorsed Trump, The Post notes.
With a vow of resources, data-targeting technology, Latino outreach, and a million grassroots activists spread across all 50 states, Seidel writes in the memo, “The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that.”
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