Donald Trump(l), Nikki Haley(r)

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‘Desperate to light money on fire’: Koch Brothers’ PAC plan to endorse Nikki Haley in 2024 roasted by Trump team

Americans for Prosperity Action has already spent $9 million opposing Trump.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Nov 28, 2023

Donald Trump Jr. mocked the political network founded by the Koch brothers for throwing its support behind former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the 2024 presidential election.

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“It amazes me how desperate these people are to light money on fire,” Trump Jr. wrote Tuesday morning.

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Trump Jr.’s post came in response to a New York Times report published Tuesday morning that the Koch-founded super political action committee Americans for Prosperity Action would support Haley’s campaign in the GOP primary.

Other fans of former president Donald Trump had a similar response.

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In a memo announcing the endorsement, Americans for Prosperity Action senior adviser Emily Seidel wrote that internal polling suggested Haley was best-positioned to beat Trump in a primary election and President Joe Biden in a general election.

“In sharp contrast to recent elections that were dominated by the negative baggage of Donald Trump and in which good candidates lost races that should have been won, Nikki Haley, at the top of the ticket, would boost candidates up and down the ballot, winning the key independent and moderate voters that Trump has no chance to win,” Seidel wrote.

A separate memo detailing the group’s internal polling on Tuesday showed “a clear trend can be seen in terms of growing support for Haley and shrinking support” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). In Iowa, Haley notched 17% support in November—up from 6% in early August, and saw a 19-point increase in New Hampshire over the same period.

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Haley’s endorsement comes after the network, founded in 2004 by Charles and David Koch, indicated in early 2023 that it would work to block Trump from receiving a third Republican nomination.

The group has so far spent more than $9 million in independent expenditures opposing Trump this year, but none of it explicitly supported any of his rivals, according to the Times.

Trump called Charles Koch “very stupid, awkward, and highly overrated” when Americans for Prosperity Action first began spending against him.

“He said his best years were the four years during the Trump Administration, and now his people are aimlessly throwing away other people’s money,” Trump said. “Watch what happens to Charles Koch!”

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Americans for Prosperity Action’s support could prove a key resource to the South Carolinian’s campaign, as it has nearly $75 million cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission records.

In comparison, Haley’s campaign has $11.5 million cash on hand—about $800,000 less than DeSantis, and $26 million less than Trump’s campaign.

DeSantis communications director Andrew Romeo slammed the “pro-open borders, pro-jail break bill establishment” for backing “a moderate who has no mathematical pathway of defeating the former president.”

“Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley’s candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign,” Romeo added. “No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different.”

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In the announcement, Seidel included a note of “thanks and appreciation” for DeSantis and said the group was “proud to endorse him for re-election in 2022.”

“We also understand that some of the Governor’s supporters, including some who support AFP, will be disappointed in our decision,” Seidel said, before saying Trump won in 2016 “largely because of a divided primary field, and we must not allow that to happen again, particularly when the stakes are even higher in 2024.”

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*First Published: Nov 28, 2023, 10:52 am CST

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