The Koch brothers’ conservative political network has made a dramatic move to support former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as their preferred presidential candidate in the upcoming 2020 election, according to a recent announcement from Koch network spokesperson James Davis. The move is seen as a sign that the conservative political power brokers are actively looking to derail any potential bid from current President Donald Trump.
Haley, a staunch conservative with close ties to Trump, is seen as a solid choice by the Koch network, which has long been wary of Trump’s unorthodox approach to politics. In their announcement, the network cited her extensive record in state government, her activity in international affairs and her ability to reach out to different coalitions as reasoning for their decision.
Davis said, “We feel that Nikki Haley is the best choice for conservative values to carry the GOP into the future. She has demonstrated that she is not only a strong leader and politician, but also someone who can work across the aisle and reach compromises to get things done. We believe she is the leader we need to win a critical election in 2020 for the benefit of the American people.”
The endorsement is the strongest stance that the Koch network has taken against President Trump to date and is likely to spark a backlash from the Trump administration. It remains to be seen if this will have any impact on the upcoming 2020 presidential election or if the endorsement will be lost amid the noise of a highly competitive primary contest.
Regardless of the outcome, the Koch network’s endorsement of Nikki Haley appears to be a clear effort to deny a potential Trump bid in 2020 and may serve as an indication of further power plays to come from the conservative power brokers.