The donor-class Koch network headed by GOP mega-donor Charles Koch is now admitting they failed to turn the American people against President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports.
In June 2018, the Koch network of organizations — which include Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, and the Libre Initiative — launched a campaign against Trump’s economic nationalist policies that have helped weaken China’s economy and brought the U.S. steel industry roaring back, mostly by imposing tariffs on various foreign imports.
The goal of the Koch network’s campaign was to champion free trade at all costs by claiming tariffs are increasing prices on consumers. The campaign, though, has been such a failure that the Koch network is halting the effort, according to CNBC:
“The argument that, you know, the tariffs are adding a couple thousand dollars to the pickup truck that you’re buying is not persuasive,” a senior Koch official, who declined to be named, said during a briefing in New York. “It doesn’t penetrate with the people that are willing to go along with the argument that you have to punish China.” [Emphasis added]
“I think that we were wrong about how to change this one. We made a bet that the kind of retail, running ads and rallies, that sort of thing, to talk about the coming harm of tariffs, which we know is coming, would be persuasive,” the same official said. “And we were wrong about that.” [Emphasis added]
Officials with the Koch network told CNBC that they will release new ads attacking the Trump administration’s economic nationalist agenda, but that they do not yet know what the message for those ads will be.
Part of that plan, Koch network officials said, will be to have nearly 100 business leaders lobby the Trump administration to return to the Washington, D.C. apparatus’s preferred free trade agenda that has persisted for nearly four decades.
While Americans remain largely split down the center on tariffs, Trump has reshaped the Republican Party into one centered on pro-U.S. worker policies which include supporting tariffs on foreign imports.
For example, the latest Harvard/Harris Poll finds that nearly eight-in-ten conservatives support Trump’s tariffs on China and about 66 percent of conservatives said the tariffs are hurting China, not the U.S.
A permanent 25 percent tariff on all Chinese imports, recent research has revealed, would create more than one million American jobs by 2024. Meanwhile, free trade with China has helped eliminate about five million American manufacturing jobs and 50,000 American manufacturing facilities. The vast elimination of working and middle-class jobs and depressed U.S. wages due to NAFTA has coincided with a nearly 600 percent increase in trade deficits.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.