Dozens of former GOP officials who hate Donald Trump are in talks to form a center-right breakaway party, because they view the Republican party as 'unwilling to stand up' to the former president, according to Reuters which cites four anonymous sources.
Those involved in the discussions include what Trump supporters call 'swamp' creatures; former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, George W Bush and Trump himself - along with former GOP ambassadors and Republican strategists, and former CIA officer Evan McMullin, according to those involved. Think: Lincoln Project types.
Last Friday, McMullin co-hosted a Zoom call with more than 120 of them too discuss the breakaway strategy, which would run on a platform of "principled conservatism" that adheres to the Constitution and the rule of law - which they say Trump has 'trashed.'
If there were to be a new, independent faction of the GOP or a new party all together, it shouldn't only include Never Trumpers. Rather, it should unite all those who now commit to American democracy, truth and reason and who desire a political identity centered on those things.— Evan McMullin 🇺🇸 (@EvanMcMullin) February 11, 2021
McMullin told Reuters that the former officials are concerned over Trump's 'grip on Republicans and the nativist turn the party has taken.'
Among the call participants were John Mitnick, general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security under Trump; former Republican congressman Charlie Dent; Elizabeth Neumann, deputy chief of staff in the Homeland Security Department under Trump; and Miles Taylor, another former Trump homeland security official. -Reuters
Call participants are said to e dismayed that over half of all Congressional GOP - eight senators and 139 House reps - voted to block certification of the 2020 election results in favor of Joe Biden, just hours after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot which temporarily disrupted the proceedings.
"Large portions of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy," said McMullin. "The party needs to recommit to truth, reason and founding ideals or there clearly needs to be something new."
I desperately want the GOP to be healthy party, committed to our values, truth and the American republic, but Senate Republicans' still likely protection of the insurrection's leader – their leader – even after reliving the insurrection today, is a clear sign that it will not be.— Evan McMullin 🇺🇸 (@EvanMcMullin) February 10, 2021
According to McMullin, just over 40% of those on last week's Zoom call backed the idea of a breakaway, national third party - while another group favored forming a "faction" which would operate either inside the current GOP or outside of it.
Potential names include the Integrity Party and the Center Right Party. A faction could be called the Center Right Republicans.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller, when asked about the discussions for a third party, said "These losers left the Republican Party when they voted for Joe Biden."
Meanwhile, a representative for Republican National Committee chairwoman Rona McDaniel told Reuters to refer to a recent statement she made last month on Fox News, saying "If we continue to attack each other and focus on attacking on fellow Republicans, if we have disagreements within our party, then we are losing sight of 2022 (elections)."
"The only way we’re going to win is if we come together," she added.