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Koch network slams Trump's 'destructive' tariffs and 'divisiveness'

A conference of donors in Charles Koch's political network on Saturday blasted President Trump's trade war and antagonistic style of politicking.

"The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage," said Brian Hooks, one of Koch's top deputies. "When in order to win on an issue, somebody else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite people to solve the problems of this country. You see that on trade: In order to get to a good place on trade, convince the American people that trade is bad."

In a recorded video message to the meeting, Koch himself labeled Trump's approach to tariffs a "destructive" tendency of "protectionism." A rejection of innovation has "doomed many," Koch warned.

The Koch brothers (David Koch retired earlier this year) have long been critical of Trump. They declined fundraising requests from the president in 2016, and Charles said Trump's principles are "antithetical" to his own, calling Trump's Muslim registry proposal "reminiscent of Nazi Germany," "monstrous," and "frightening." More recently, the megadonors clashed with the White House over immigration, urging Trump to take a Democratic deal that would have protected from deportation young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.