The political network of influential groups funded by the powerful conservative billionaire Charles Koch intends to oppose the Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential bid — and will actively seek support for an alternative during the Republican presidential primaries, according to an Americans for Prosperity official.
In a memo shared with CBS News, AFP Chief Executive Emily Seidel wrote to supporters and donors that “the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter.”
The AFP sat out the last two GOP presidential cycles, but now the group joins the conservative Club for Growth in working openly to oppose Trump’s 2024 candidacy. Many of the party’s biggest individual donors, such as finance billionaires, also Kenneth C. Griffin and Stephen A. Schwarzman have signaled their opposition to the current Trump campaign, but others are holding back for now.
The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
The return of one of the major spendthrifts of American politics in the field of presidential primaries poses a direct challenge to the bid for the return of the former president. The three-page missive repeatedly suggests that the AFP is taking responsibility for stopping Trump, with Seidel writing, “Many people are frustrated. But very few people are in a position to do anything about it. The AFP is. Now It’s time to rise to the occasion.”
The move marks the most notable example to date of an overt and coordinated effort within conservative circles to prevent Trump from winning the GOP nomination for a third straight presidential election. Some Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated with Trump after a disappointing midterm election in which he blamed himself for elevating flawed candidates and polarizing ideas. But in the absence of a consolidated effort to stop Trump, many critics fear he will be able to exploit GOP divisions and chart a path to the nomination, as he did in 2016.
Trump still has no formal GOP opponents, but his former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is is expected to announce his presidential bid in mid-February. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who considered his run to 2024, will visit the first primary state of South Carolina also in February.
Though the memo didn’t name a spending goal, the AFP-affiliated super PAC spent more than $69 million in the 2022 cycle, according to revelations from the Federal Election Commission.
The AFP memo also said the group “intends to engage earlier and more aggressively in the congressional primary and also bring more voters into the primary process.” The memo noted that in the 2022 midterm, AFP backed Sen. Eric Schmitt in the Republican Senate primaries in Missouri, along with a number of other successful candidates in key House primaries as well.
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