Just when people thought this presidential election year couldn’t get any more bizarre, the political floor shifted and dropped again to a lower level of unbelievable.
The news came from Charles Koch in an ABC News interview Sunday. He said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton potentially might be a better president than Republican White House contenders Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Keep in mind that Koch last year, with his brother David and others, announced plans to dump $900 million to influence the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections in favor of conservative candidates.
To turn away from the Republican field would be a radical shift for Koch. Yet he said Bill Clinton was better than George W. Bush as president in controlling government growth.
Koch said he hasn’t supported, and probably won’t, any GOP candidate in the remaining weeks of the primary campaign because of their divisive rhetoric. He told ABC: “We said, ‘Here are the issues: You’ve got to be like Ronald Reagan and compete on making the country better rather than tearing down your opponents.’”
Koch lambasted Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States as “antithetical to our approach, but what was worse was this ‘We’ll have them all register (notion).’ That’s reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I mean that’s monstrous, as I said at the time.”
Trump has backed away from a proposed database to track Muslims in the U.S.
Koch also criticized Cruz’s notion of “carpet-bombing” the Islamic State militant fighters.
If the Koch reaction to the GOP presidential field isn’t weird enough, now Cruz and Kasich plan to collaborate against Trump.
Kansas City political operative Jeff Roe, who is Cruz’s campaign manager, said in a statement: “To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead.”
Kasich’s campaign on Sunday said: “Keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1,237 bound delegates before Cleveland.”
Lewis Diuguid is a columnist for the Kansas City Star.