A group of about 120 anti-Trump former Republican officials is considering forming a third party after coming to the realization that the party is now led by President Trump and his supporters, according to a report published Wednesday by Reuters. The third party effort is being co-led by Evan McMullin, who ran as an independent presidential candidate in 2016. Names being considered are the Integrity Party and the Center Right Party. Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Reuters, “These losers left the Republican Party when they voted for Joe Biden.”
Dozens of former Republican officials, who view the party as unwilling to stand up to former President Donald Trump and his attempts to undermine U.S. democracy, are in talks to form a center-right breakaway party, four people involved in the discussions told Reuters.
The early stage discussions include former elected Republicans, former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, ex-Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists, the people involved say.
More than 120 of them held a Zoom call last Friday to discuss the breakaway group, which would run on a platform of “principled conservatism,” including adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law – ideas those involved say have been trashed by Trump.
The plan would be to run candidates in some races but also to endorse center-right candidates in others, be they Republicans, independents or Democrats, the people say.
Evan McMullin, who was chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and ran as an independent in the 2016 presidential election, told Reuters that he co-hosted the Zoom call with former officials concerned about 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.
Trump’s support within the Republican Party is evident by the announcement by former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman in 2022 in which Mandel proclaimed his support for “President Trump’s America First Agenda.”
Also in Ohio this week, Trump supporter Jane Timken resigned as state GOP chair in an apparent effort to position herself to run for the Senate.
Timken said in an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, “I simply can’t sit on the sidelines and watch Biden and the socialist left destroy our country, Ohio’s economy and our children’s future – which is why I decided to step aside from our work at the state party to fight for the Trump agenda and our country in another way. I will be making an announcement about my future plans in the coming weeks, but trust me when I say I intend to build on our success and continue doing all I can to advance conservative, America First policies to strengthen Ohio.”
Also this week, Newsweek reported on a poll that showed about 70 percent of Republicans would join or consider joining a third party founded by Trump.
The latest poll by CBS News/YouGov, which was conducted from February 5 to 8, shows that 33 percent (one-third) of Republicans said “yes” when asked if they would join a new party formed by Trump. An additional 37 percent said “maybe,” meaning 70 percent would join or consider joining a Trump-centered party. Just 30 percent of Republicans said “no.”
Additionally, 71 percent of Republicans said that GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump or will support his conviction are “disloyal.” Only 29 percent said they viewed these lawmakers as “principled.” And just 21 percent of Republicans said they believed Trump encouraged the January 6 violence against the U.S. Capitol, for which he was impeached for a second time a week later on January 13.
Update: McMullin tweeted Wednesday night, “There’s growing demand for something new among principled Republicans. The GOP is lost in a sea of lies and has clearly become a destructive force. Whether it’s a faction operating independently of the GOP or a new party, something new is needed. The status quo is unsustainable…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.”