WASHINGTON — A group unhappy with the Republican Party’s continued loyalty to former President Donald Trump has started discussions about forcing a new direction for the GOP — or even a new party.
About 120 GOP leaders and disaffected Republicans, including current officeholders and members of the administrations of former presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, were invited for a Feb. 5 Zoom call, said Evan McMullin, a former chief policy director to the Republican Conference who challenged Trump as an independent in 2016 and helped organize the virtual meeting.
McMullin said the Republican Party “has become sadly a dangerous force in America” in need of intervention to change direction.
“What we think is that the Republican Party is not going to self-correct on its own,” McMullin said. “There needs to be at least a faction that forces the party to change.”
Reuters first reported the meeting and discussions by the group.
A poll of the participants in what McMullin called the “new conservative summit” found that 43% want to establish a new faction inside the GOP that would support candidates and back officials such as Representative Liz Cheney who want the party to move on from Trump, he said, noting that 40% of participants wanted a new party, even knowing the challenges.
McMullin declined to identify the participants but said it was organized by the non-profit government reform advocacy group that he helps lead, Stand Up Republic; as well as the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, or REPAIR, which includes Miles Taylor, the former Trump administration official who wrote an anonymous book and essay criticizing him; and the nonprofit Principles First.
There’s no timetable for action by the group and discussions are continuing, McMullin said. The Senate vote on Trump’s impeachment for inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 to interrupt the counting of Electoral College votes could provide more impetus for action, he said.
“If the vast majority of Senate Republicans vote to protect the president even after he led a violent insurrection against the country to overturn an election, then I think it just makes even clearer the need for something new, either a faction or a new party,” McMullin said.