Election 2016

Why the Kochs Are Lovin' Trump's Cabinet Picks

For all his talk about draining the swamp, there sure will be a lot of Koch confidants in Trump's Cabinet.

Photo Credit: By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44431376

Despite having focused down-ballot in 2016, the Koch brothers—Charles and David—may soon have a more direct line to the Oval Office than ever before, as President-elect Donald Trump stuffs his Cabinet with Koch confidants.

From Politico:

From White House Counsel Don McGahn and transition team advisers Tom Pyle, Darin Selnick and Alan Cobb to Presidential Inaugural Committee member Diane Hendricks and transition-team executive committee members Rebekah Mercer and Anthony Scaramucci, Trump has surrounded himself with people tied to the Kochs.

Meanwhile, Frayda Levin, chairman of the board of Americans for Prosperity, told Politico that the Kochs are “happy that he’s picking people who have that free market background, particularly because on many issues, he is a blank slate, so anybody with expertise is in an amazing position to shape his agenda.”

More Koch-connected appointees are likely to be named.

More from Politico:

Names being considered include Koch Industries lobbyist Brian Henneberry and former company spokesman Matt Lloyd, as well as Daniel Garza, who runs a Koch-backed nonprofit called the LIBRE Initiative that courts Latinos, not to mention a handful of veterans of the Koch network’s advocacy groups who worked on the Trump campaign — from top Pence adviser Marc Short and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ex-campaign aides Stuart Jolly, Eli Miller, Scott Hagerstrom, Charles Munoz and Matt Ciepielowski.

In a July interview with Fortune, Charles Koch compared the general election choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to voting “for cancer or heart attack.”

“I’m sure he’s a fine fellow underneath,” Charles said of Trump at the time, “but when you look at our guiding principles, you see that his guiding principles are in many ways antithetical to them and a great many of his policies are antithetical.”


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Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer and nonfiction MFA candidate at Columbia University.