Republicans start planning ‘Center Right’ third party in repudiation of Trump: Report

More than 100 Republicans fed up with former President Donald Trump are entertaining the idea of forming a third party that would exclude him and, presumably, his tens of millions of supporters, according to a report published Thursday.

Reuters — citing “four people involved in the discussions” — reported that the new party would adopt “center-right” policies in what would supposedly be a direct repudiation of Trump’s “America-first” priorities.

Early talks have allegedly involved former elected members of the GOP as well as former officials in the Reagan Bush 41, Bush 43, and Trump administrations, Republican strategists, and former Republican ambassadors.

More than 120 of them reportedly participated in a Zoom call on Friday last week to hash out how the new party would operate and what policies it would pursue under a general platform of “principled conservatism.” That would include following the Constitution and the rule of law, both of which they claim Trump ignored.

“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,” Reuters reported.

Evan McMullin, a former CIA operations officer who ran as an Independent for president in 2016 and at one point polled under Harambe the Gorilla and Deez Nuts, told the newswire he co-hosted the Zoom call “with former officials concerned about Trump’s grip on Republicans and the nativist turn the party has taken,” Reuters reported.

More than 74 million people voted for Trump in 2020, the most of any Republican candidate.

Some participants in the call included former GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who left Congress in 2018 disgusted with Trump and later went on to endorse President Joe Biden; John Mitnick, a former general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security who was fired in September 2019 amid Trump’s DHS shakeup and implementation of stricter border enforcement policies; Elizabeth Neumann, a former ranking DHS official who left the agency in April 2020 and went on to form an anti-Trump Republican group; and Miles Taylor, another former DHS official under Trump, who joined with Neumann to form the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR).

“Large portions of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy,” McMullin claimed in an interview with Reuters. “The party needs to recommit to truth, reason and founding ideals or there clearly needs to be something new.”

Asked about the Zoom call discussion of a third party, Trump spokesman Jason Miller dismissed it. “These losers left the Republican Party when they voted for Joe Biden,” he said.

McMullin told Reuters that slightly more than 40 percent of the people who participated in the Zoom call back forming a third party. Names bandied about include the Integrity Party and the Center-Right Party.

“…[T]here is a far greater hunger for a new political party out there than I have ever experienced in my lifetime,” one participant said during the call, according to Reuters.

The report comes on the heels of previous claims that Trump was considering forming a third party himself — the “Patriot Party.” But officials with the Office of the Former President distanced themselves, saying that Trump’s efforts would instead go into promoting GOP candidates more in his mold.

As for the so-called ‘establishment’ wing of the GOP showing an interest in a third political party, top party operatives considered it in March 2016 as Trump shot to the top of a crowded Republican field of presidential contenders.

To help explain why the party’s base flocked to Trump, a ProBiz Policies survey at the time found that 57 percent of Ohio voters in a primary exit poll said they felt “betrayed” by the party.

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Jon Dougherty

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