President Donald Trump responded strongly to the announcement that the Koch network would be more selective about endorsing Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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After the Koch network political organization, Americans for Prosperity, announced it wouldn't support the Republican candidate in a key Senate race, President Donald Trump fired back on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
Trump tore into the powerful Koch brothers, saying he didn't need their support or money for political success.
"The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade," Trump tweeted.
What's this about?
Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, singled out Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) as an example of the type of Republican the organization would no longer be supporting, saying his record on financial issues was inconsistent.
The announcement was significant, as Cramer is running against one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents in the nation, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
How did Trump respond?
Trump's response to the Koch network criticism of GOP lawmakers was to say the Koch brothers were overrated and not respected by "real" Republicans.
"I never sought their support because I don't need their money or bad ideas," Trump wrote. "They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more. I made them richer. Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn. They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed, I'm for America First & the American Worker — a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America Great Again!"
It's yet to be seen just how significant the Koch network's change in political strategy will be. Cramer was the only candidate Phillips singled out, although Americans for Prosperity has only endorsed four Senate candidates so far.
The timing of the announcement, just months away from midterm elections, could put pressure on Republican candidates who might fall outside Koch's definition of "fiscally conservative."
Koch's position on what it means to be fiscally responsible puts him and his organizations at odds with Trump, who signed a controversial $1.3 trillion spending package that included more concessions than many conservatives were comfortable with.
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