President-elect Donald Trump told a critical biographer and guest of billionaire David Koch to leave his West Palm Beach golf course on New Year’s Eve, forcing Koch to leave with him.
Trump’s gesture was another slight against the pro-amnesty, pro-“free trade” billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who opposed Trump during the Republican primary season and refused to help him during the general election. It also signals Trump will not necessarily play nice with the GOP political establishment and Beltway right.
The Kochs swooped in during the Tea Party revolt in 2010, training amateur political activists and trying to channel populist energy against the Obama administration into supporting the progressive-business alliance that wanted more cheap labor and lesser sentences for drug traffickers, under the umbrella term of “smaller government.”
But the “grassroots army… was not controllable,” as one former Koch staffer lamented, and the Kochs appeared curiously unwilling to make any concessions to Americans who wanted populist, nationalist policies, and relief from the relentlessly eroding forces of mass immigration and globalization. A majority of voters— some of whom saw more demographic change take place in their communities than many countries saw in a millennia—want immigration slashed in half or reduced to zero. Trump captured that energy and it propelled him to the White House, much to the Kochs’ and their network’s chagrin.
The Kochs wanted candidates amenable to their will, and Trump didn’t fit the bill. They considered him a distraction before he rocketed to first in the polls, and even toyed with the idea of spending tens of millions of dollars to attack him.