About three dozen former members of the Trump administration got on a conference call last Monday to brainstorm how they might kill their ex-boss’s reelection dream. They also hope to prevent any of his hand-picked candidates from getting into office in 2022, 2024, or ever.
As CNN reports, the top-ranking member of the alliance is former White House Chief of Staff and retired Marine Corps General John Kelly. Kelly—who was only able to “monitor” the hour-long call for ten minutes due to a prior commitment—was joined by former Trump White House communications directors Alyssa Farah Griffin and Anthony Scaramucci; Olivia Troye, the former Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Mike Pence; ex-Department of Homeland Security official Elizabeth Neumann; and former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs.
Also on the call was Sarah Tinsley, top aide to onetime Trump national security advisor John Bolton. Tinsley shared some of the polling information gathered by the John Bolton super PAC which suggest that Trump’s sway over the GOP is dwindling.
Former White House communications director Stephanie Grisham missed the call due to COVID, but tells CNN she’s part of the group as well.
Helping to lead the call was Miles Taylor, the former DHS chief who famously wrote an anonymous New York Times op-ed piece rebuking Trump as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” in 2018.
According to Taylor, the group was “overflowing with ideas” on how best to take down Trump. Possible tactics included “shining a light” on Trump’s corporate benefactors and targeting his preferred candidates in primary and general elections. Kelly, however, isn’t sold on the idea of endorsing any particular candidates.
In terms of the group’s specific battle strategy, one member told CNN, “We’re still trying to figure out what it is.”
The member added, “Outcomes are key… this cannot just be a professional trolling operation, putting out ads like the Lincoln group.”
“We all agreed passionately that letters and statements don’t mean anything,” Taylor told the network. “The two operative words are ‘electoral effects.’ How can we have tangible electoral effects against the extremist candidates that have been endorsed by Trump?”
Many members of the unnamed alliance are already known by their powerful disdain for Trump. Kelly, for instance, said that Trump is not “a real man” for his cowardice in the face of the excrement-smearing January 6 mob.
Still, if and when the other members choose to reveal themselves, some surprises may be in store. One person on the call noted that there were “a lot of faces I had not seen speaking publicly about why Trump is dangerous. People who had not previously spoken out who were now willing to speak out and share their perspective.”
Other members don’t even like each other. When Taylor admitted he was the anonymous New York Times op-ed writer, Farah Griffin tweeted, “I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly tipped backwards.”
But Troye says that such differences won’t distract the group from its common goal, adding that there was “something powerful about the fact that not everyone on this call was friends. Whatever history there has been, they put that aside.”
The group is considering having another call this week.
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