Trump calls Kochs a 'total joke' after break with GOP candidate

Gov. Rick Scott     By Steve Bousquet 9 hours ago

Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota - the latest sign the conservative group is frustrated with the current state of the GOP.

"These guys want to change the direction of the country".

On Tuesday morning, Trump shifted back to regular priorities, tweeting about what was on Fox News and praising a steadfast supporter.

Trump, who makes frequent trips to Florida and his private Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago club, criticized Nelson's policies and claimed the only time he sees the senator is "five months before every election".

"Their network is highly overrated", Trump said.

Trump, who is seeking Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court in the fall, also made the case that voters need to elect more Republicans, pointing to Democratic opposition to his pick.

In particular, the Koch brothers and their network expressed their opposition to Trump's fair trade policies and tariffs, which are resulting in ongoing clashes with us trading partners, and also the president's strict immigration enforcement and border security agenda.

The midterm strategy could change in the coming weeks, but the Kochs now plan to ignore North Dakota's high-profile Senate contest, where three-term Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Cramer is vying to replace vulnerable incumbent Sen. But the billionaire industrialist pair distanced themselves from Trump during the 2016 presidential election, in part over his divisive rhetoric toward Muslims and others. Trump held a campaign rally for Cramer in June.

The Koch network says it spent $20 million promoting the bill, which turned out to be a pretty spectacular investment. "I hadn't heard them do that before".

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Trump's policies also have not always been in line with the Kochs' political group-Americans for Prosperity.

So far, 10 GOP House lawmakers and two senators have been targeted by the Koch network's political arm due to their support for the $1.3 trillion spending package passed by Congress in March or for voting against spending clawbacks.

"What they have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK?"

Dan Eberhart, an oil industry executive and a Cramer fundraiser, downplayed the financial effect on the North Dakota race.

The same group has announced this weekend they will not support Cramer.

Responding to Trump's social media attack, Koch spokesman James Davis was measured.

Asked if Democrats were to retake control of the House, he said, "I don't care what initials are in front, or after, somebody's name...."

The Koch network largely ignored the criticism. David Perdue, R-Ga., a former corporate leader and Trump ally, said in an interview. "I think this network supports people who truly respect those principles".

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