- The political arm of the network backed by billionaire Charles Koch is releasing a slate of digital ads in key states aimed at former President Donald Trump.
- The ads argue a Trump nomination in 2024 would effectively give President Joe Biden a second term.
- The digital ads, one of which is called "Biden's Secret Weapon," are targeted at voters in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada, all key primary and caucus states.
The political network financed largely by billionaire Charles Koch is launching a wave of digital ads targeting former President Donald Trump.
The ads argue that if Trump becomes the Republican nominee next year, it will lead to President Joe Biden winning reelection.
Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC that received millions of dollars during the 2022 election cycle from the Charles Koch-chaired Koch Industries and the Koch-backed Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, gave CNBC a first look at some of the new digital ads.
Koch, who's worth more than $60 billion, and his network notched several wins while Trump was in office, including tax cuts and the appointments of multiple conservative Supreme Court justices. The network traditionally backs Republican candidates.
But Koch's group also had its differences with the former president, including on Trump's trade war with China. Trump, likewise, ripped the Kochs in a 2018 tweet tirade, saying they've become a "total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade."
One of the spots, titled "Only Way," has a voiceover saying, "The only way Biden wins is if we nominate Trump again." Another ad, called "No Thanks," says, "Trump can't win" and "we need new leadership."
A third clip, named "Biden's Secret Weapon," says: "What's Biden's secret weapon? Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. Biden wins the White House and gets the House and Senate, too."
Americans for Prosperity Action was active during the 2022 midterm elections and could be on the precipice of exceeding their historic spending spree last cycle. Federal Election Commission records show the super PAC so far this cycle has spent over $300,000 on independent expenditures opposing Trump and Biden.
The PAC finished the 2022 election cycle spending almost $70 million, with their three top candidates being former Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and former Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz. All three were also endorsed by Trump.
All of the Koch digital ads cite public polling that say how key voters don't want Trump to be president again. Many of those same polls also show that many voters don't want Biden to run for a second term, either. An NBC News poll taken in April shows that 70% of those polled say Biden shouldn't run for reelection, with another 60% saying Trump shouldn't run.
These ads, according to Americans for Prosperity Action spokesman Bill Riggs, are targeting voters in the key early primary and caucus states Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada. Riggs noted that the new ad buys come after Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel said in a February memo to staff and activists that it would support a GOP candidate for president other than Trump.
"We made clear in February that Washington is broken and our country is in a downward spiral because of it. To write a new chapter for the country, we need to turn the page on the past – and that requires new leadership," Riggs said in an emailed statement. He added that the Koch-backed group has not made a decision on who it plans to support in the Republican primary for president.
Recent data from Morning Consult shows Trump with 56% of support in the Republican primary, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trailing with 22% of the vote.
The ads are also targeting voters at a tumultuous moment for Trump. He faces arraignment Tuesday in a federal criminal case over his retention of classified and top secret military and government documents. Trump has referred to the case as the "boxes hoax."