In what is yet another twist to this already extraordinary campaign season, top officials at the Koch-backed Freedom Partners will meet with members of Donald Trump's campaign, according to a top Koch official.
Trump's team has requested a meeting with the wealthy conservative activists who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on political activity in recent years but have openly expressed their disapproval of Trump and even at one point considered mounting an opposition campaign to Trump.
The Koch organization agreed to the meeting, James Davis, spokesperson for Freedom Partners confirms, and among the attendees on the Koch side will be Mark Holden, Chairman of the Board of Freedom Partners, the main political arm. The news was first reported by USA Today after an interview with Charles Koch.
“We are happy to talk to anybody and hope they understand where we’re coming from, and they will have more constructive positions than they’ve had,” Koch told USA Today in an interview.
The meeting comes as Trump's campaign is struggling to put in place the infrastructure necessary to run a general election presidential campaign against a well funded challenger, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While the organization is behind on nearly every component of a presidential campaign, including data, messaging, and staffing, fundraising is a critical crutch.
The donor network had planned to spent more than $200 million on presidential politics this election cycle but the Koch brothers have been highly critical of Trump and have indicated that they plan to stay out of the presidential race unless a candidate emerged that met their criteria of "a positive message in support of the issues we care about." Instead they have indicated that they will focus their financial resources on targeted Senate and House races.
Trump has ties to the Kochs. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, worked for Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity in New Hampshire before he signed on with Trump. But Trump has been unable to leverage that connection. Koch representatives have openly dismissed their interest in Trump and Trump, in return, has joined Democrats in mocking the billionaire conservatives.
Trump has called the "puppets" and said, "I don’t need his money. I got my own money."