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A Tendentiously Alleged Connection Between Trump and the Kochs

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


William Galston’s portrayal of the Koch network as having, until very recently, been clandestinely allied with Trumpian populists is tendentious (“The Koch Network Dumps Trump,” Feb. 8). It’s true that some policies pursued during Trump’s presidency are ones long supported by the Kochs. But none of these policies are uniquely Kochian. Every one of them – including tax cutting and reducing regulations – have long been supported also by mainstream Republicans. To suggest that Trump embraced these policies only because of insidious influence exercised by the Kochs is absurd.

Mr. Galston thinks that he seals his case when he quotes remarks delivered by Charles Koch to a gathering of key network supporters in July 2018. Mr. Koch did indeed then say that “We’ve made more progress in the past five years than I’ve made in the previous 50.” But I was in that audience and can attest that, contrary to Mr. Galston’s implication, those remarks were not about Trumpian policies – as should be obvious given that for three-and-a-half of the five years prior to July 2018 the White House was occupied by Obama. Mr. Koch was instead referring to the successes of his organization, Stand Together, at empowering  individuals to realize their potential. The majority of those efforts are focused on improving K-12 and post-secondary education, and on supporting community groups that help people who are struggling.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030