Dozens Of Republican Officers In Talks To Kind Anti-Trump Get together
Reuters – Dozens of former Republican officials who see the party unwilling to stand up to former President Donald Trump and his attempts to undermine US democracy are in talks to form a center-right party, four people involved in the discussions told Reuters.
Early discussions include former Republican elected, former Republican officials of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, former Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists.
More than 120 of them held a Zoom call last Friday to discuss the breakaway group that would run on a platform of “principled conservatism,” including compliance with the constitution and the rule of law – ideas those involved say were devastated by Trump.
The plan would be to run candidates in some races but also support center-right candidates in others, be they Republicans, Independents or Democrats, people say.
Evan McMullin, who served as chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and ran for independent in the 2016 presidential election, told Reuters that he co-hosted the Zoom call with former officials concerned about Trump’s influence on Republicans and the nativist The turn of the party had been taken.
Three other people confirmed the call and discussions to Reuters for a potential splinter party, but asked not to be identified.
Those on the call included John Mitnick, General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security under Trump; former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent; Elizabeth Neumann, deputy chief of staff, Homeland Security under Trump; and Miles Taylor, another former Trump Homeland Security officer.
The talks highlight the large internal party divide over Trump’s false claims of electoral fraud and the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Most Republicans remain deeply loyal to the former president, while others seek a new direction for the party.
The House of Representatives charged Trump on January 13 with incitement to riot by exhorting thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol on the day Congress convened to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Callers were particularly dismayed that more than half of the Republicans in Congress – eight senators and 139 House representatives – voted to block certification of Biden’s election victory a few hours after the Capitol siege.
Most Republican Senators have also indicated that they will not support Trump’s conviction in this week’s Senate impeachment trial.
“Large sections of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy,” McMullin told Reuters. “The party must stand up again for truth, reason and founding ideals, or there must be clearly something new.”
When asked about the third party discussion, Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, said, “Those losers left the Republican Party when they voted for Joe Biden.”
A representative of the Republican National Committee referred to a recent statement by Chair Ronna McDaniel.
“If we keep attacking each other and focusing on attacking other Republicans when we have disagreements within our party, we will lose sight of 2022 (elections),” McDaniel told Fox News last month.
“The only way we’re going to win is if we get together,” she said.
The Biden White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McMullin said just over 40% of those who called Zoom last week were in favor of the idea of a breakaway national third party. Another option under discussion is the formation of a “faction” operating either inside or outside the current Republican Party.
Names considered for a new party include the Integrity Party and the Center-Right Party. If instead it is decided to form a parliamentary group, the center-right Republicans, among others, will be discussed.
Members recognize that the US political landscape is littered with the remains of previous failed attempts at national third parties.
“But there is a far greater hunger for a new political party than ever before in my life,” said one participant.
(Reporting by Tim Reid; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Peter Cooney)