The death of billionaire GOP power player David Koch on Friday morning showed the best and worst of Twitter, with plugged-in journalists quickly disseminating news of his death — and then ghoulish users rushing into the fray to memorialize their most vile thoughts.
The Koch brothers have for decades been loathed by the left, with their generous apolitical philanthropy obscured by their more widely reported donations to GOP politicians and causes. And Trump supporters don’t exactly back them either, given the wide philosophical gap between the billionaire brothers and the president.
So Friday’s news sent many who already view the Koch brothers as Republican boogeymen to their keyboards to “celebrate” David’s passing and taunt his grieving older brother, Charles.
Tweets such as “Today Charles Koch is learning how overjoyed the world will be when he dies” and “Here’s hoping Charles Koch follows in his brothers David Koch’s footsteps…” did little to help the social media site’s reputation as a toxic cesspool of negativity.
Other users simply celebrated David’s passing, while some criticized those who dared to mourn him.
“When a bad person dies they don’t suddenly become a saint. Their legacy of destruction and pain doesn’t just float away. David Koch is dead, we have to deal with the fallout of his villainy for hundreds of years,” liberal writer Oliver Willis wrote.
And those tweets may have been among the least vulgar and least vicious.
Hundreds of other critics kept the invective rolling — or even upped the ante:
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro noticed the “glee” over Koch’s death and called it “a perfect example of how poisonous our politics have become.”
Koch’s family, in a statement attributed to Charles, confirmed David’s death at age 79.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother, David,” Charles Koch said in the news release. “Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life.”
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Koch was reportedly worth about $59 billion, making him – along with his equally wealthy older brother – one of the richest people in the world.
The Koch brothers more recently had drawn the ire of President Trump after snubbing his bid for the White House in 2016 and then announcing earlier this year that they would not support the president’s 2020 reelection bid.
David leaves behind his wife, Julia Flesher, and their three children.