Former Trump officials plot to blow up his influence and political future

A group of some three dozen former members of Donald Trump’s administration held a conference call Monday to strategize about countering his assault on democracy, according to CNN.

What exactly members of the group might do and whether the group might be formalized in some way remained in question. But much of the call focused on how they could effect electoral outcomes, particularly in some races where Trump has endorsed anti-democracy extremists.

Call participants ranged from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (who was only able to attend 10 minutes of the hour-long call) to administration officials who became outspoken critics of Trump during his reelection bid, such as Olivia Troye, the former Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and former Department of Homeland Security official Elizabeth Neumann.

Most of the known participants are recognizable names: former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs (who Trump fired for countering his fraud claims); former Trump White House Communications Directors Alyssa Farah Griffin and Anthony Scaramucci; and former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, who in 2018 penned the “Anonymous” New York Times op-ed criticizing Trump.

Sarah Tinsley, a top aide to former national security adviser John Bolton, also participated in the call, sharing polling collected by Bolton’s super PAC. Over a series of four polls, the surveys suggest that Trump’s influence on the GOP base is on the wane. “Tinsley said the polling shows Trump’s favorability is declining with registered Republicans and right-leaning independents,” writes CNN. (Civiqs’ daily tracking poll is also picking up a drop in Trump support among Republican and independent voters.)

Although the path forward for the group remains unclear, they reportedly agreed that their efforts needed to involve more than a series of merely symbolic statements.

One participant told CNN that the group is “still trying to figure out” what it wants to do.

But “outcomes are key,” they said, adding, “this cannot just be a professional trolling operation, putting out ads like the Lincoln group.” The Lincoln Project is the operation created by anti-Trump GOP consultants that produced a series of anti-Trump ads throughout the 2020 election cycle.

Taylor echoed the sentiment.

“We all agreed passionately that letters and statements don’t mean anything,” he told CNN. “The two operative words are ‘electoral effects.’ How can we have tangible electoral effects against the extremist candidates that have been endorsed by Trump?”

Whether this group can find a way to have a discernible impact is an open question. But the more people who recognize the threat that Trump and Trumpism pose to American democracy and then take action to oppose it, the better.

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Written by mettablog

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