Trump trade war

Koch network admits defeat on anti-Trump trade war ad campaign

Charles Koch
Charles Koch. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The network funded in part by billionaire and Republican megadonor Charles Koch is shifting gears in its efforts to combat President Donald Trump's trade war with China, CNBC reports, after sources told the outlet that its TV ad campaign has fallen flat.

Why it matters: Leaders of the network told CNBC that the argument they're selling to voters — that tariffs are costing American consumers — isn't resonating. "It doesn’t penetrate with the people that are willing to go along with the argument that you have to punish China," a senior Koch official told CNBC.

America's consumers are happy but its CEOs are scared

Illustration of market chart with chasm in the middle
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Business Roundtable on Wednesday announced that CEO confidence fell to the lowest level in 3 years — a doom-and-gloom indicator that contrasts the high levels of consumer optimism.

Why it matters: Top executives are feeling the pain from the trade war, prompting them to hold off on spending decisions that propel economic growth. Consumers, so far unshaken by tariffs and similar threats, could be the economy's saving grace.