Charles Koch: ‘You’d Think We Could Have More Influence’ on 2016 Race

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January 8, 2016 1:05 p.m.

This post has been updated.

Billionaire oil tycoon Charles Koch lamented to the Financial Times that he and his brother haven’t had as much “influence” as they hoped to in the 2016 presidential race. In an interview flagged Friday by Politico, Koch said that presenting a list of the Kochs’ political priorities to the candidates failed to shift their focus.

The list “doesn’t seem to faze them much,” Koch said. “You’d think we could have more influence.”

Koch said in November that he planned to refrain from endorsing any individual candidate, and his view of the field seems to have soured further since then.

“It is hard for me to get a high level of enthusiasm because the things I’m passionate about and I think this country urgently needs aren’t being addressed,” he said.

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Though the billionaire conservative donor said he would eventually end up supporting a candidate he agreed with on some subjects, he expressed particular distaste for Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Koch said that Trump’s proposal of a ban on Muslim immigration would “destroy our free society” and knocked Cruz’s suggestion that the U.S. combat the threat of terrorist groups like the Islamic State by carpet-bombing swaths of territory in the Middle East.

Pointing out that there are some 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, he asked, “what are we going to do: go bomb each one of them?”

According to the Financial Times, the network of conservative donors tied to Koch and his brother David are expected raise almost $900 million for the 2016 election cycle.

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