- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A group of Republican critics of President Trump, including the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, is forming a super PAC to defeat the president and “Trumpism” in 2020.

The principals of the group calling itself the Lincoln Project include lawyer George Conway, former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt, veteran GOP operative Rick Wilson and John Weaver, an adviser to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

“Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet,” they wrote in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

They said they aim to “defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box.” With fundraising commitments of more than $1 million, they hope to fund advertising in several battleground states to convince Republican voters to turn away from Mr. Trump.

“Time to get off the sidelines, join our allies and defeat Trump’s enablers in Congress along with Trump,” Mr. Weaver tweeted.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh called the group “a pathetic little club of irrelevant and faux ‘Republicans,’ who are upset that they’ve lost all of their power and influence inside the Republican Party.”

“When President Trump got elected on a promise to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C., these establishment charlatans, who for years enriched themselves off the backs of the conservative movement, were the very swamp he was referring to,” Mr. Murtaugh said in a statement. “Calling any of these people ‘conservative’ or even referring to them as ‘Republicans’ at this point is an insult to conservatives and Republicans everywhere.”

Mrs. Conway, the first woman to manage a winning presidential campaign in 2016, dismissed the president’s opponents as failed political operatives.

“They never got a president elected into the White House,” she told reporters Tuesday. “I’m sure that hurts, very much. But they never really accommodated the growing Republican Party and understood how to beat Democrats and we did.”

Her husband told the Associated Press that he tried to persuade the rest of his group to include Anonymous, the unidentified administration official who recently published a book attacking the president. He said the group rejected his recommendation.

“I think the more the merrier,” Mr. Conway said. “And I hope maybe he — he or she, I don’t know who ‘Anonymous’ is — will come out someday and join the effort. Because everyone who believes as we do that Donald Trump is a cancer on the presidency and on the Constitution needs to help and join this effort.”

Mr. Trump dismissed Mr. Conway previously as a disgruntled job seeker.

Conservative commentator and author Dinesh D’Souza poked fun at the group appropriating President Lincoln’s name for their effort.

“Lincoln refused to let Democrats overturn the result of a legitimate election,” he tweeted. “That’s precisely what these clowns are trying to do. They should retitle their initiative the Calhoun Project.”

That’s a reference to John C. Calhoun, a senator from South Carolina in the 1800s whose views contributed to the South seceding from the Union.

The president enjoys very high approval ratings among Republican voters. Mr. Trump said recently his popularity with the GOP had reached 95%.

Mr. Weaver worked on Mr. McCain’s unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008 before joining Jon Huntsman’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

The super PAC’s day-to-day operations will be run by former New Hampshire GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn and Reed Galen, who also worked for Mr. McCain and left the Republican Party in 2016.

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci also lent his support to the group Tuesday, saying the Republican Party “has been hijacked by the criminal rogue” Mr. Trump “and his enablers.”

“Fight for our democracy,” Mr. Scaramucci tweeted.



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