Americans for Prosperity, the influential political arm of the Koch network, officially endorsed Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign on Tuesday, pledging to deploy its nationwide coalition of activists and significant financial resources to assist Haley in the GOP primary against former President Donald Trump.
In a memo announcing the endorsement, AFP president and CEO Emily Seidel stated, “AFP Action is proud to throw our full support behind Nikki Haley, who offers America the opportunity to turn the page on the current political era, win the Republican primary, and defeat Joe Biden next November. She has what it takes to lead a policy agenda to tackle our nation’s biggest challenges and ensure our country’s best days are ahead. With the grassroots and data capability we bring to bear in this race, no other organization is better equipped to help her do it.”
Seidel outlined that Americans for Prosperity would immediately shift its focus to bolstering Haley’s primary and general election campaigns through strategic advertising investments, mailers, and voter contacts utilizing their network of conservative activists. The organization, which has been gathering information from Republican primary voters, aims to present effective arguments against Trump.
In response, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung dismissed Americans for Prosperity as “the political arm of the China-first, America-last movement.” He asserted that no amount of funding from various sources would hinder the MAGA movement or prevent Trump from securing the Republican nomination.
The longstanding feud between Trump and the Koch network, which refused to support Trump’s reelection in 2020, has intensified over the years. The Kochs criticized Trump’s populist policies and divisive leadership style, citing a misalignment with traditional conservative values, particularly on trade.
News of the Haley endorsement reverberated in political circles, with Utah Sen. Mitt Romney predicting it would be a “huge boost” to her campaign. However, DeSantis spokesperson Andrew Romeo likened the Koch endorsement to support for the Trump campaign, emphasizing that every dollar spent on Haley’s candidacy should be reported as an in-kind contribution to Trump.
Despite pushback from the DeSantis camp, the Koch network is confident in Haley’s ability to defeat both Trump and Biden. Senior adviser Michael Palmer highlighted Haley’s “sustained momentum” in recent months and argued that she is better positioned to win the election. In response, Haley expressed gratitude for the support of Americans for Prosperity, emphasizing the critical choice between freedom and socialism, individual liberty and big government, and fiscal responsibility and spiraling debt. She stated, “We have a country to save, and I’m grateful to have AFP Action by our side.”