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About three dozen former advisers to Donald Trump reportedly held a conference call last week to strategize what they say will stymie the former president’s political clout in this year’s midterm elections and the 2024 White House race, which is almost certain to feature Trump.
Stephanie Grisham, former White House press secretary and revealing author, spoke for the first time about the group of ever-again Trumpers on the Jan. 6 birthday but was not on call last Monday because she was ill with COVID-19, according to a CNN article published Tuesday.
Former Trump chief of staff John Kelly, along with former communications directors Alyssa Farah and Anthony Scaramucci and former Mike Pence aide Olivia Troye, were on the call, according to the network.
They were joined by “a lot of faces that I hadn’t seen speaking publicly about why Trump is dangerous,” one of the attendees told CNN. “People who hadn’t spoken up before and were now willing to speak up and share their perspective.”
Former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, who wrote an anonymous op-ed for the New York Times titled “I am part of the resistance in the Trump administration” in 2018, reportedly helped lead the call.
Taylor told CNN the group was “brimming with ideas” on how to be effective, underscoring a desire to move beyond anti-Trump messaging.
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“We all passionately agreed that letters and statements mean nothing,” Taylor told CNN. “The two key words are ‘election effects.’ How can we have tangible electoral effects against extremist candidates who have been endorsed by Trump?”
The former president, who remains hugely popular with the Republican base, has backed a slew of candidates since leaving office in gubernatorial, Senate and House races across the country.
John Bolton, a Trump national security adviser turned critic, did not join the call, but CNN reports that his top aide, Sarah Tinsley, shared polling information collected by Bolton’s super PAC that suggested that Trump’s influence in the Republican Party was waning.
Without a name, official membership, or even specific goals, the group is still in its infancy and it’s still unclear if a cohesive strategy will solidify.
Trump has dismissed other such conservative moves against him as opportunistic and out of touch.
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“We’re still trying to figure out what it is,” one participant told CNN.
The participants would have a diversity of political backgrounds and views – as well as a simmering rivalry or two – although they all share a dislike for the man they once served.
There’s “something powerful about not everyone on that call being friends,” Troye said. “Whatever the story, they put that aside.”
The group, CNN reports, may hold another call this week.