Trade is one of the biggest sticking points between Trump and the Koch's, who traditionally support Republican candidates. At a Koch summit in Colorado Springs over the past weekend, many donors griped about the Trump administration's tariffs and the negative impact they could have on the U.S. economy.
Still, they generally didn't appear to want to go as far as pledging to support Democratic candidates this fall. On the other hand, Americans for Prosperity, one of the key groups in the larger Koch political organization, has suggested it could do just that.
At a Sunday reception for donors attending the summit, Chris Wright, CEO of Denver based Liberty Oilfield Services, and his wife Liz, agreed that Republican candidates should lose support of the network if they back Trump's tariffs. But they laughed off the idea of Democrats taking over the House of Representatives.
"Liz has pointed out humorously recently the one good thing about all of this is how Democrats have become pro free trade," Chris Wright said. "But do we think Democrats taking control of the House is going to help the advance of free trade?" he asked.
"Absolutely not," Liz Wright interjected.
Art Pope, the CEO of privately held Variety Wholesalers and a longtime seminar attendee, claimed the administration's trade policies have left him "less personally satisfied with President Trump" compared with a year ago.
But he said he disagrees with recent Senate legislation that would curb the president's authority over trade policy. The groups within the Koch political network, on the other hand, wrote a letter in June calling on congressional lawmakers to support a bill introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that would scale back Trump's trade authority.
"I would rather persuade President Trump that his policies aren't going to accomplish his goals," Pope said when he was asked about the bill.