The conservative political network led by billionaire Charles Koch opened a conference in Colorado with sharp criticism of President Donald Trump’s trade policies and leadership style, as it sought to demonstrate a desire for more bipartisan solutions.
“The policies right now are hurting people,” Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation and Charles Koch Institute, told reporters Saturday. “But they’re also doing very long-term damage to the country.”
Hooks, who also serves as co-chairman of the semi-annual donor gatherings that are formally called the Seminar Network, also specifically called out Trump’s no-compromise style.
“The divisiveness of the White House is causing long-term damage,” he said. “When in order to win on an issue, somebody else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite people to solve the challenges in this country.”
James Davis, a spokesman for the network, criticized the $12 billion Trump has pledged in aid to farmers hurt by falling commodity prices triggered by the president’s expanding trade war with China, Canada and other countries that are significant purchasers of U.S. pork, soybeans and other agricultural products.