President Donald Trump is so far unwilling to back down from a trade war with China, but that may change as pressure mounts from the influential political and donor network backed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
Executives at Americans for Prosperity, just one part of the ever-growing Koch influence empire, said that tariffs will only hurt American consumers and possibly cancel out positive effects from the Republican tax cut bill passed in December.
"From the beginning we've said that tariffs and protectionism is a bad idea," Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said in an interview Friday. "It's a tax on American consumers because a lot of the product they're buying will cost more and it hurts American industries when countries retaliate."
The group has also expressed its concerns directly with the White House.
Charles and David Koch, the leaders of Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the world, exert vast political power and influence on the right for an array of pet conservative issues, such as tax cuts.