Photo: AP

On Sunday, at the twice-yearly gathering of the libertarian mega-industrialist Koch brothers’ donor network, Charles Koch told some 400 conservative financiers in no uncertain terms that his network of dark money organizations would not be supporting Donald Trump. What is more, Koch said, rumors that he would support Hillary Clinton are “a blood libel.”

“At this point I can’t support either candidate, but I’m certainly not going to support Hillary,” the 80-year-old Koch told the audience, gathered in Colorado Springs. According to the Associated Press, attendees included at least three governors, four senators, and four members of the House of Representatives—including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Republican nominee Donald Trump held a rally in Colorado Springs on Friday, but he was not invited to the gathering for donors who pledge to give at least $100,000 annually to Freedom Partners. “I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch,” he tweeted on Saturday. “Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better!”

The Kochs’ primary concern now is “to preserve the country’s financial future, and to eliminate corporate welfare,” Charles said on Sunday. “Since it appears that neither presidential candidate is likely to support us in these efforts...we’re focused on maximizing the number of principled leaders in the House and Senate who will.”

“To address the current political crisis, our first objective is to stop the worst federal policies regardless of who is the next president,” Koch said. “We’ve got to remember that Republican presidents advance a lot of bad policies, just like Democrats do.”

Koch Industries general counsel and senior vice-president Mark Holden told the Guardian that the Freedom Partners’ network total budget is about $750 million through the end of the year. Those funds would be directed towards competitive Senate races in at least five states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin and Florida. Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said that his group—one of the most powerful and well-financed in the Kochs’ network—is “not engaged” with the presidential election at all.

As it happens, “blood libel” is a very specific and fraught term. From the Anti-Defamation League:

The “blood libel” refers to a centuries-old false allegation that Jews murder Christians – especially Christian children – to use their blood for ritual purposes, such as an ingredient in the baking of Passover matzah (unleavened bread). It is also sometimes called the “ritual murder charge.” The blood libel dates back to the Middle Ages and has persisted despite Jewish denials and official repudiations by the Catholic Church and many secular authorities. Blood libels have frequently led to mob violence and pogroms, and have occasionally led to the decimation of entire Jewish communities.

The blood libel is particularly appalling in light of the fact that Jews follow the Hebrew Bible’s law to not consume any blood, which is found in the book of Leviticus. In order for an animal to be considered kosher, all its blood must have been drained and discarded.

Governor of Wisconsin and Koch acolyte Scott Walker told the AP that, while “I certainly respect their point of view on this,” he still prefers Trump to Clinton. “I don’t endorse everything about him. I certainly don’t endorse everything he says,” Walker said. But: “In the end, choosing between the two, I still believe that any Republican including Donald Trump is better than Hillary.”