Anti-Trump Republicans plan to form 'breakaway third party'
Former US Republican Party officials, disgusted by former President Donald Trump's alleged incitement of crowds who stormed the US Capitol, plan to make a breakaway centre-right third party, according to report by Reuters.
The idea reared its head during a Zoom call last Friday involving over 120 participants, among them former elected Republicans, former officials in four past administrations, ambassadors, and party strategists.
Evan MucMullin, chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and an independent candidate in the 2016 presidential election, confirmed the call took place.
Three other people confirmed the call and the discussion about a splinter party, but asked not be named.
The party plans to run on a platform of "principled conservatism".
It appears to be a political knee-jerk reaction from former Republican officials worried about the party’s consolidation of nativism and disregard for the rule of law under Trump.
On Wednesday, US senators at Trump's second impeachment trial heard how the former leader incited insurrection and "revelled" in the violence of thousands of supporters storming Congress to try and overturn his election defeat.
After weeks of inflaming Americans by telling them the election was stolen, Trump became "inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection" at the US Capitol on 6 January, said lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin.
A day earlier, a large majority of Republicans voted that they considered putting a former president on trial to be unconstitutional, making it highly unlikely that Democrats can obtain the two-thirds majority in the Senate required for conviction.
Discussions over forming a new party reveal the deepening rift among the broader ranks of the Grand Old Party over Trump's false claims of election fraud and the deadly storming of the US Capitol.
"Large portions of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy," McMullin told Reuters. "The party needs to recommit to truth, reason and founding ideals or there clearly needs to be something new."
Names thrown around for the new party include the Integrity Party and the Centre Right Party.
If the appetite for a national breakaway party wanes - given numerous failed attempts to do in the past - participants in the call also discussed the option of building a centre-right faction within the Republican Party.