During the presidential campaign, about the only common ground between billionaire conservative Charles Koch and Republican nominee Donald Trump was a colorful disregard for each other.
Koch complained the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton was like opting for cancer or a heart attack. And Trump bashed big-money donors, deriding his Republican rivals as “puppets” who went knocking on Koch’s door for backing.
Not surprisingly, the Koch network largely sat out the 2016 presidential election and, Trump went on to win without them. Normally such a high-profile snub would carry a steep political price, shutting doors to the new administration.
But in recent months, Koch’s sprawling network of conservative advocacy groups has exerted surprising influence in the Trump administration, scoring some early accomplishments and pushing its priorities to the top of the White House agenda.