More than 100 Republican former officials to seek reforms, threaten new party

·3 min read

More than 100 influential Republicans plan to release a call for reforms within the GOP alongside a threat to form a new party if change isn't forthcoming, a person familiar with the effort said.

The statement, set to be released Thursday, involves a "Call for American Renewal," a credo that declares that it is imperative to "either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative." The push will include 13 yet-to-be-revealed principles that the signatories want the GOP to embrace.

This is not the first group to form as the pro-Trump and traditional conservative factions of the Republican Party remain at loggerheads. The new effort comes as a vote looms to oust Liz Cheney of Wyoming from the No. 3 House Republican leadership post for her refusal to stay silent about former President Donald Trump's repeated election lies and his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The move was first reported by Reuters, which cited some of the people involved: former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security; former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters; and former GOP Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma. Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent who ran for president as an independent in 2016, is also involved.

A push to channel anti-Trump sentiment with the "Never Trump" movement in the spring of 2016 was largely unsuccessful at the time, and none of the people backing this latest effort are serving as elected Republicans. However, it comes as Trump's pull within his party appears to have lessened. A recent NBC News poll found that 44 percent of Republicans said they support Trump more than the GOP, compared to 50 percent who said they support the GOP more than the former president.

One of the organizers is Miles Taylor, a former Trump official who, as "Anonymous," wrote an op-ed in The New York Times blasting the Trump administration in 2018.

"We're going give the GOP one last chance to get its act together and moderate, but we're not going to hold our breath," Taylor told NBC News. "We're ready to get out there and fight against the radical elements in the party to try to excise those elements from within the GOP and our national politics and to try to invest in the deeper pro-democracy bench."

Taylor suggested that the nascent movement will work to back candidates who support its principles, whether they are moderates or independents.

"Enough is enough, and the GOP has had enough time to decide whether it's going to separate itself from a man who is a chronic loser," he said, referring to Trump, predicting a "raging civil war" if the rest of the party doesn't get on board.