During an interview with ABC News on Sunday, conservative billionaire Charles Koch said that “it’s possible” that Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton could be a better president than the current GOP candidates.
But Clinton was swift in rebuffing Koch’s kind words, tweeting just hours after the interview aired that she was not interested in the endorsement of anyone who denies climate science or supports voter suppression.
Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote. https://t.co/TWN4zYhMBh
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 24, 2016
During Sunday’s interview, Koch praised certain parts of Bill Clinton’s presidency, arguing that he was “in some ways” a better president than George W. Bush. Under Bush’s presidency, Koch said, both the increase in spending and growth of government were larger than under Clinton.
That led ABC News’ Jonathan Karl to ask whether Hillary Clinton might be a better president than the current GOP candidates.
“It’s possible,” Koch said. “It’s possible.”
Karl then asked whether Koch could see himself supporting Clinton in the upcoming election. Koch did not answer directly, saying that her actions would have to be very different from her rhetoric to garner his support. Koch then added, however, that the same could be said for some of the current Republican candidates.
“But on some of the Republican candidates we would — before we could support them, we’d have to believe their actions will be quite different than the rhetoric we’ve heard so far,” he said.
Koch’s potential support for a Democratic candidate would be a major deviation from his record of heavily supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes. Koch, whose vast wealth is based largely on fossil fuels, has made a point of denying man-made climate change, saying that he believes the world has been “warming some” but that “there’s a big debate on that” (97 percent of actively-publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is a human-driven phenomenon, and the world has been absolutely shattering heat records over the past year).
Koch Family Foundations — a group of charitable organizations funded by Charles and his brothers — have also consistently given money to organizations that deny climate change. A November study from Yale sociologist Justin Farrell found that that funding has had a significant effect on the public perception about climate change, helping to cast doubt on the scientific consensus surrounding the issue.
Clinton, for her part, has attacked Koch’s climate denial in the past. In a January speech, she blamed the Koch family’s influence for Republican’s history of climate-denial, saying that “most [Republicans] are not that ill-informed. They just have to do what the Koch brothers tell them.”
Clinton’s swift rejection of Koch’s support stands in stark contrast to Republican front runner Donald Trump’s handling of an endorsement from David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. In February, Trump was asked whether he would reject endorsements from Duke and other white supremacists, and told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he didn’t know anything about Duke or white supremacists, a response that led to considerable controversy before Trump eventually disavowed Duke and the KKK almost a week later.