Koch brother: Trump plan would 'destroy free society'

Story highlights

  • Charles Koch is one half of the political kingmaking brothers who have pledged $900 million to back Republican candidates this election cycle
  • Asked about Trump's proposal for a registry of Muslims in the U.S., Koch said, "Well, then you destroy a free society"

(CNN)GOP kingmaker Charles Koch said he is "disappointed" by the field of 2016 Republican candidates and sharply criticized the rhetoric and policies put forth by front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Koch, who along with billionaire brother David famously pledged to spend $900 million supporting Republicans in 2016, expressed dissatisfaction with the GOP primary thus far during a lengthy interview with the Financial Times published Friday.
Asked about Trump's proposal for a registry of Muslims in the U.S., Koch said, "Well, then you destroy a free society ... Who is it that said, 'If you want to defend your liberty, the first thing you've got to do is defend the liberty of people you like the least?'"
Koch also panned Cruz's aggressive strategy to fight ISIS, which has included calls for "carpet bombing" and declarations that Cruz would direct strikes until "sand glows in the dark."
"I've studied revolutionaries a lot," Koch said. "Mao said that the people are the sea in which the revolutionary swims. Not that we don't need to defend ourselves and have better intelligence and all that, but how do we create an unfriendly sea for the terrorists in the Muslims communities? We haven't done a good job of that."
Noting that 1.6 billion Muslims live around the world, Koch asked, "What are we going to do, go bomb each one of them?"
Later in the interview, Koch said he was unimpressed by the rest of the Republican field.
"It is hard for me to get a high level of enthusiasm because the things I'm passionate about and I think this country urgently needs aren't being addressed," he explained.
And though the Kochs' political operation has highlighted their priorities to the candidates, "it doesn't seem to faze them much," Koch said. "You think we could have a little more influence."
The Koch brothers have said they will not endorse during the primary, and plan instead to save their considerable financial firepower for the general election and the eventual Republican nominee.