A Republican presidential primary season feud between billionaires has broken out as bombastic GOP candidate Donald Trump has found himself at odds with the ultra-wealthy philanthropist brothers Charles and David Koch.
The Koch brothers, whom Lawrence O’Donnell characterized as “at least 40 times richer than Donald Trump” in an above-embedded video posted last week to MSNBC’s YouTube channel, snubbed the real estate mogul and reality star by refusing to invite him to a presidential candidates’ retreat last weekend in Dana Point, CA with 450 top conservative political donors. According to CNN, candidates Carly Fiorina, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz attended the retreat.
On Sunday, Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast the GOP candidates who attended the summit and tweeted, “I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?”
The New York Times notes that a Koch-affiliated political data company also refused to work for Donald Trump’s campaign.
Representatives from the Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Action Fund donor network have reportedly indicated that the top five candidates under consideration by the PAC are Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio.
The libertarian-leaning Koch brothers have made issues like reforming the U.S. criminal justice system, stamping out corporate welfare, and relaxing immigration laws their 2016 political spending priorities and have recently teamed up with President Obama to push for reforms to federal sentencing guidelines for non-violent criminal convictions. George and David Koch found themselves with a more relaxed view on immigration policy than Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as, according to Reason, the pro-union Sanders slammed the Koch brothers’ “open borders” immigration position, calling it “a right-wing proposal.”
On the other hand, Donald Trump has taken a hard-line stance on immigration, controversially saying during his presidential announcement speech, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Charles Koch, who invoked American political icons like Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony in a speech before donors this weekend, told USA Today in April that his donors want a candidate with an inspiring message, “We’re telling [candidates] that if they want our support, one way to get it is articulating a good message to help Americans get a better understanding and a better appreciation of how certain policies will benefit them and will benefit all America.”
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