On Sunday, Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and prominent conservative political donor, said that it is “possible” Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would make a better president than some of the candidates for the GOP nomination.
In the interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl aired on Sunday Mr. Koch was asked if he thought Bill Clinton was a better president than George W. Bush, responding, “in some ways. In other ways, I mean he wasn't an exemplar. But as far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, it was two and a half times [more] under Bush than it was under Clinton.”
The interviewer followed up by asking if Koch thought another Clinton – Hillary – could be a preferable option over the potential GOP candidates. “It’s possible,” Koch responded, “it’s possible.”
He went on to qualify that before he could ultimately support her, Clinton’s implemented policies would have to be different from those she has publicly claimed and campaigned on. "We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way," Koch said.
Charles Koch, who along with his brother David, comprise a powerful political team, consistently contributing enormous amounts of money to conservative and libertarian candidates.
Following a three-day retreat in 2012, the Koch brothers along with 250 to 300 other individuals pledged to contribute $100 million to oppose and defeat President Obama’s reelection campaign, with $60 million of that coming from the two brothers alone ($60 million from Charles and $20 million from David).
That was the ninth year they had hosted the controversial conference through their umbrella political organization Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, in the California desert. In 2015 the Freedom Partners’ conference included appearances by Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker, among other previously prominent candidates in an effort to court the nearly $1 billion that the conference represents leading up to this year’s election.
However, as the current political situation develops, the Koch brothers have withheld their support, paying out less than half of their $889 million budget for the 2016 election.
Referring to the current Republican race, Koch said in his Sunday interview, “we haven't put a penny in any of these campaigns, pro or con," Koch said. "That's not what we do. What we're trying to do is build alliances to make the country better.”
In specific reference to current GOP candidates Koch continued, ”These personal attacks and pitting one person against the other – that's the message you're sending the country," he said. ”You're role models and you're terrible role models. So how – I don't know how we could support ‘em."
Koch addressed Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim comments specifically saying his proposal for a temporary travel ban is “antithetical,” continuing with, "what was worse was this 'we'll have them all registered,'" Koch said. "That's reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I mean – that's monstrous as I said at the time."
These comments from Charles Koch come as Hillary Clinton continues to edge out Bernie Sanders in the democratic race, holding a 15-point lead among voters heading into Pennsylvania.
While the billionaire conservative contributors have been withholding their support for the current GOP candidates, it is difficult to imagine the powerful Koch duo supporting a Democratic candidate for president.