President Donald Trump recently announced that, since he feels that the US is on the losing side of our many trade deals, he plans to implement tariffs.
In particular, Trump plans to impose a 10% tariff on imported aluminum and a 25% tariff on imported steel. These planned tariffs have caused billionaire and Republican supported Charles Koch to formally speak out against President Trump.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Koch said:
“One might assume that, as the head of Koch Industries — a large company involved in many industries, including steel — I would applaud such import tariffs because they would be to our immediate and financial benefit. But corporate leaders must reject this type of short-term thinking, and we have. If we are to have a system in which businesses can succeed long term, policies must benefit everyone, not just the few…”
Koch’s feelings about the tariff’s could cause Trump to lose the support of several Republican lawmakers. While Koch identifies as a free-market libertarian, his family and his company donate millions to high profile Republicans. Or, depending on one’s viewpoint, Charles Koch and his brother David buy politicians. Mitch McConnell has thanked Charles and David both for their support (read: massive campaign contributions). Paul Ryan scored $500,000 from the Koch family after helping to insure the passage of the new tax bill.
Other Republican politicians who have received enormous contributions from Koch include Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio, and Roy Blunt. Koch money buys the power of Republican lawmakers. If those same lawmakers want to keep their power, and the money Koch provides them, they’ll undoubtedly give his feelings about the tariffs more weight than President Trump. Of all the people in the world, Trump shouldn’t be surprised to learn that money talks.