U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday slammed the powerful Koch-led political operation as "globalist" and "a total joke", rejecting the conservative group amid signs of a growing public fissure between the president and business over trade.
"I have beaten them at every turn", Trump wrote of the Kochs.
Her Senate seat, along with those in West Virginia, Indiana, Montana and Missouri, are critical given the Republicans' narrowly 51-49 hold on the chamber.
"Heitkamp is seen as one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection", The Hill reported, noting that Trump crushed Hillary Clinton in the Roughrider State. "If Cramer doesn't step up to lead, that makes it hard to support him".
So far, 10 GOP House lawmakers and two senators have been targeted by the Koch network's political arm due to their support for the $1.3 trillion spending package passed by Congress in March or for voting against spending clawbacks. The Trump White House budget office now predicts that next year's federal deficit will exceed $1 trillion, while reaching a combined $8 trillion over the next 10 years.
Trump has defended his trade policies, saying he backs free but "fair" trade to support US workers.
Donors at the conference indicated they would spend as much as $400m (£304m) on the USA mid-term elections this November.
At the two-day gathering, network leaders pointed to their recent ad campaigns thanking Sen. Some of the network's biggest donors and most experienced activists are Trump's most ardent supporters. Phillips criticized Cramer's votes on spending bills and other legislation.
The development marked a dramatic escalation in the Kochs' willingness to buck partisan loyalties.
Some Trump loyalists were furious at perceived contradictions in the Koch network's behavior and anxious that it could complicate the president's 2020 re-election. More than 500 of them are gathered for the three-day retreat here at the sprawling Broadmoor resort, which encircles a man-made lake and looks out to a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. Bannon asked in a brief interview with The Associated Press.
Phillips said AFP has met with Cramer's team to express their concerns, "but maybe he needs to hear from you, give Kevin Cramer a call", Phillips urged a ballroom filled with donors who have contributed a minimum of $100,000 to the network.
"I regret some of the lawmakers we have supported", Koch said.
"We support policies that help all people improve their lives".