Over 100 Republicans sign letter threatening to form third party

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More than 100 Republicans, including some former elected officials, have signed a letter threatening to break from the GOP and form a third party, taking aim at the party's embrace of former President Donald Trump and his continued false claims that the 2020 election was "stolen."

"[W]hen in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice," read the preamble to their letter released Thursday. "We, therefore, declare our intent to catalyze an American renewal, and to either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative."

Naming the effort, "A Call for American Renewal," the group is calling for the Republican Party "to rededicate itself to founding ideals—or else hasten the creation of an alternative."

PHOTO: President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas, Jan. 21, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas, Jan. 21, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)

Miles Taylor, the former Trump Department of Homeland Security official who anonymously wrote a book and New York Times op-ed criticizing the Trump administration, co-organized the effort, which includes former members of Congress, governors, ambassadors, Cabinet secretaries, state legislators and Republican Party chairs among the 152 signatories.

The initiative's website indicates it's an extension of Stand Up Republic and The Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR), another group organized by Taylor that calls for reforms to the Republican Party.

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Though most are retired and haven't announced plans to run for office, notable names include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former Transportation Secretary under George W. Bush, Mary Peters. Former congressional representatives include Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma. Former Trump press secretary Anthony Scaramucci and official Olivia Troye also signed the statement.

PHOTO: Miles Taylor in Washington, DC, Nov. 16, 2020. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Miles Taylor in Washington, DC, Nov. 16, 2020. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images, FILE)

The effort comes on the heels of House Republican leaders voting to remove Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership because of her continued criticism of Trump and his baseless claims that the 2020 election was "stolen."

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Cheney, in an interview with NBC's "Today Show" which aired Wednesday, warned that Republicans won't be able to convince voters to trust their agenda "if we are building our party on a foundation of lies."

The coalition teased more action to come including a town hall on "renewing America," saying it "cannot stay quiet in the face of rising political extremism."

ABC News' Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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