Top Donald Trump donors tried to set up a meeting between the GOP presidential nominee and Charles Koch in Colorado Springs on Friday, but Koch aides rejected the meeting, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the outreach.
Koch and his brother David Koch, who helm an influential network of advocacy groups and major conservative donors, have been sharply critical of Trump’s rhetoric and policy stances and have indicated they do not intend to support his campaign.
Trump in turn has blasted the Kochs and other major conservative donors as puppeteers to whom his GOP primary rivals were beholden, while he touted the independence from Big Money he said he achieved by largely self-financing his campaign. But the billionaire first-time candidate has dialed back his anti-donor rhetoric since he clinched the GOP nomination and began active fundraising for a general election campaign in which his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and her allies are expected to spend upward of $1.5 billion.
The Koch brothers and Trump are in town for separate events…Trump is attending a fundraiser, and the Kochs for the kickoff of the annual summer summit of their donor network at a tony resort in Colorado Springs.
But Republicans familiar with the push said top Koch aides rejected the idea of a meeting. “It is not going to happen,” said one of the Republicans, adding that the Kochs appear unlikely to back away from their repeated declarations that they don’t plan to spend any money in the presidential race, and will instead refocus their spending down ballot.