Billionaire political donor Charles Koch said Democrat Hillary Clinton may make a better president than any of the Republicans vying for the job and derided the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
The chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries, in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” broadcast Sunday, also criticized “a tax code that subsidizes the wealthy.” This year’s Republican candidates, now whittled down to Trump, Cruz, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have failed to win his backing because they aren’t addressing that issue, he said.
Charles Koch and his brother David, whose combined net worth is $106 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting Republicans whose platforms are consistent with their small-government views. Charles Koch took issue with the idea that the size of their donations give him and his brother “control” of the party’s agenda.
“If I controlled the Republican Party, we wouldn’t have a two-tiered system. We wouldn’t have a tax code that subsidizes the wealthy,” Koch said. ‘We have this corporate welfare that benefits established companies and makes it very difficult for somebody to get started.”
Koch said the U.S. has to “get rid of all” tax breaks. “I don’t hear any of the Republican candidates talking about this two-tiered system and getting rid of it. So that’s why we haven’t supported any of them,” he said.
The billionaire’s assessment of Clinton was based in part on the White House record of her husband. Bill Clinton “wasn’t an exemplar. But as far as the growth in government, the increase in spending, it was two and a half times” more under Republican George W. Bush than it was under Clinton, Koch said.
He stopped short of saying he would endorse the former secretary of state.
“We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way.”
Asked if sitting out the 2016 presidential election was a possibility, Koch said “we’ll see,” adding, that he wanted specifics from the Republican candidates. “We’d have to believe their actions will be quite different than the rhetoric we’ve heard so far.”
Koch said Trump’s proposal to create a register of all Muslims in America was “reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I mean, that’s monstrous.”
Cruz’s suggestion to carpet-bomb parts of the Middle East to go after terrorists was hyperbolic but disturbing, he said. “I mean, that a candidate, whether they believe it or not, would think that appeals to the American people, that is frightening.”