Steve Bannon has a warning for candidates supported by the conservative Koch political donor network – just ahead of crucial midterm elections this fall.
"You take Koch money, it's going to be toxic. We are going to let people know that if you take Koch money there's a punishment," Bannon, former chief White House strategist and Trump campaign chief executive, told CNBC in an exclusive interview. "If you take money from people who are against the president and are looking to put a knife in the back of the president, you are going to pay."
The strategist declined to elaborate on what the punishment would look like. The Koch network traditionally backs Republican candidates, but has recently said it is open to supporting Democrats who favor the group's policies.
Bannon's threat came hours after President Donald Trump fired back at the Koch network, which has intensified its criticism of the administration's policies in recent days. A Koch-linked group unveiled an ad buy targeting Trump's hard-line trade policies during a weekend summit.
"The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade," the president said in a two-tweet tirade early Tuesday. "I have never sought their support because I don't need their money or bad ideas."