POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Former Republicans, Including Evan McMullin, Float Possibility Of Forming ‘Center-Right’ Party

Feb 11, 2021, 9:34 AM | Updated: 9:36 am

FILE: Independent candidate Evan McMullin  (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)...

FILE: Independent candidate Evan McMullin (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

A group of more than 100 former Republican officials have discussed the possibility of forming a conservative party due to their unhappiness with the direction of the GOP under former President Donald Trump and the likelihood he’ll be acquitted at the end of his second impeachment trial, according to Republicans who participated in the conversation.

Former Republican House Rep. Charlie Dent confirmed to CNN that he and about 120 Republicans held a conversation last Friday about whether to form a new party or a new faction within the Republican Party that would operate independently from the GOP.

“Clearly, there are a number of Republicans like myself and other Republican leaders, who want a clean break from President Trump, and we are kind of rallying around some core founding principles like truth and honesty, and democracy, and rule of law,” the former Pennsylvania congressman, who is a CNN contributor, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday.

The remarkable move would exemplify how fractured the Republican Party is, but Trump still has a high approval rating among Republican voters and the two-party system has dominated the US political system for centuries.

Reuters first reported on the Zoom call that included former officials who served in the GOP administrations of Trump, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan talking about the Republican Party’s future and the possibility of forming a center-right breakaway party.

The call came nearly a month after the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol, when Trump supporters attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election, believing the false claim promoted by Trump that it was stolen from him. One week later, the US House voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” with 10 Republicans joining with Democrats.

Despite the visceral presentation from House impeachment managers during Trump’s Senate impeachment trial this week, Republican senators have signaled that they will vote to acquit Trump, arguing Democrats have not made a strong case that Trump’s words led to the violent actions in January and that the trial is unconstitutional since Trump is a former president.

Dent told CNN on Thursday that Trump is likely to be acquitted and “will not be held to account,” and he will then attempt to take down Senate Republicans who vote to convict him and the 10 GOP House members who voted to impeach him.

“That’s what I’m most fearful of now, that Trump will feel vindicated. He’ll feel like he’s been exonerated,” Dent said, adding that he thinks Trump will try to hold those who voted against him “accountable in his own perverse way.”

Dent told CNN that Republicans like himself believe it’s important to rally around GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Fred Upton of Michigan, and GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, “who stood up for truth, for principle and want to make a clean break and want this party to be different.”

“What we want is, we don’t want to cling to the past, cling to a man who is disgraced, in any way, shape, or form. We don’t want to follow that man who brought nothing but defeat and misery and insurrection,” Dent said. “Let’s go forward, not backwards.”

Anthony Scaramucci, who did a very brief stint as White House communications director under Trump, also confirmed he too is a part of the discussions with other former Republican officials to form a “center-right party.”

“I think what’s happened over the last three or four days has fortified a very large group of people” who believe that if Senate Republicans don’t convict Trump that the “party is going to split into two pieces” so that it’s “diluted and completely weakened,” Scaramucci told CNN’s Cuomo.

Scaramucci predicted that Trump will be acquitted in his Senate trial and that 5-20% of the GOP will break off and start a new party.

“It will be a center-right party that will be cooperative with the Democrats and it will liquidate the nonsense on the far-right,” said Scaramucci.

Evan McMullin, a former House GOP aide and current executive director of Stand Up Republic, confirmed to CNN that he organized the virtual meeting and argued that “there’s a need for something new, whether it’s in the Republican Party or outside of it.”

“The current direction of the party is destructive, both for its own interests, but most importantly, for the interests of the country,” he told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Sunday, adding, “So as extreme as some members of Congress are getting on the Republican side, as the party deals with those related issues, there’s also an opportunity for renewal and rebirth, and that’s what we spoke about.”

He said that if a new faction is formed, they would put forth their own Republican candidates and even, in some cases, support Democratic candidates for election.

McMullin, who ran as an Independent for president in 2016, acknowledged that the Republican Party is still largely under Trump’s control.

“What we’re about is a new direction for the party, and we’re trying to unite people who are committed to our foundational values, to democracy, and to who are desiring that, regardless of who they supported in the past, and the fact our numbers are growing is the most exciting thing about it,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2024. Short...

Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox, CNN

Johnson won’t change rules over removing him from speakership after hardliners revolt

Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will not change the procedure for removing him from the speakership.

18 hours ago

FILE - New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks Feb. 16, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump coul...

Philp Marcelo, Associated Press

New York man pleads guilty to sending threats to state attorney general and Trump civil case judge

A New York man has pleaded guilty to sending death threats to the state attorney general and the Manhattan judge that presided over former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud suit.

18 hours ago

FILE - Celina Washburn protests outside the Arizona Capitol to voice her dissent for an abortion ru...

Arit John and Cheri Mossburg, CNN

Lawmakers vote against hearing Arizona bill repealing abortion ban on House floor

The Republican-controlled Arizona House of Representatives once again failed to advance a repeal of the state’s 160-year-old abortion ban Wednesday

2 days ago

In this image from video from Senate Television, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., presiding over the Sen...

Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate has dismissed all impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ending the House Republican push to remove the Cabinet secretary from office over his handling of the the U.S.-Mexico border and ending his trial before arguments even began.

2 days ago

Paris Hilton is pictured at a news conference....

Tran Nguyễn, Associated Press

Paris Hilton backs California bill to bring more transparency to youth treatment facilities

Hotel heiress and media personality Paris Hilton is backing California legislation that aims to bring more transparency to discipline used at facilities for troubled teens.

3 days ago

FILE: Getty Images...

Sylvia Hui, Associated Press

UK lawmakers will vote on a landmark bill to gradually phase out smoking

A plan by Britain’s government to introduce a landmark smoking ban that aims to stop young people from ever smoking is set to clear its first hurdle on Tuesday, despite vocal opposition from within Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Former Republicans, Including Evan McMullin, Float Possibility Of Forming ‘Center-Right’ Party