Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries.
Bo Rader | Wichita Eagle | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
A political network funded in large part by billionaire Charles Koch is launching a wave of digital ads targeting former President Donald Trump.
The ads claim that if Trump becomes the Republican nominee next year, it will lead to the re-election of President Joe Biden.
Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC that received millions of dollars during the 2022 election cycle from Koch Industries, chaired by Charles Koch, and the Koch-backed Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, gave CNBC a first look at some of the new digital ads.
Koch, who is worth more than $60 billion, and his network have seen several victories while Trump has been in office, including tax cuts and the appointment of several conservative Supreme Court justices. The network traditionally supports Republican candidates.
But Koch’s group also had its own differences with the former president, including Trump’s trade war with China. Trump similarly ripped the Kochs in a 2018 tweet tirade, saying they have become “an absolute joke in real Republican circles, they oppose strong borders and big trade.”
One of the spots with the title “The only way,” has a voice that says, “The only way Biden is going to win is if we renominate Trump.” Another advertisement, the so-called “No, thanks,” says “Trump can’t win” and “we need new leadership.”
The third clip, named “Biden’s Secret Weapon,” says: “What’s Biden’s secret weapon? Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. Biden will win the White House and take the House and Senate.”
Americans for Prosperity Action has been active during the 2022 midterm elections and could be on the verge of surpassing its historic spending last cycle. Federal Election Commission records show the super PAC has spent more than $300,000 on independent expenditures against Trump and Biden so far this cycle.
The PAC finished the 2022 election cycle and spent nearly $70 million, with their top three candidates being former Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and former Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz. Trump also supported all three.
All of Koch’s digital ads cite public opinion polls that say key voters don’t want Trump to be president again. Many of the same polls also show that many voters do not want Biden to seek a second term. NBC news vote taken in April shows that 70% of those polled say Biden should not run again, and another 60% say Trump should not run.
The ads are targeting voters in key early primary states and the caucuses of Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada, according to Americans for Prosperity Action spokesman Bill Riggs. Riggs noted that the new ad buys come after Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel said in February note staffers and activists that they will support a GOP presidential candidate other than Trump.
“We made it clear in February that Washington is broken and our country is in a downward spiral because of it. To write a new chapter for the country, we need to turn the page on the past — and that requires new leadership,” Riggs said. in an email statement. He added that the group backed by Koch has not decided who it plans to support in the Republican primary for president.
Recent data from Morning Consult shows Trump with 56% support in the Republican primary, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis trailing with 22% of the vote.
The ads also target voters at a tumultuous time for Trump. He faces charges on Tuesday federal criminal case due to his retention of classified and top secret military and government documents. Trump called the case a “box fraud”.