George Conway—husband of senior presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway—and several other Republicans launched a political action committee Tuesday to oust President Donald Trump and lawmakers that support him from office in 2020, even if it means a Democrat majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“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,” founders of the campaign wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.
George Conway, along with political strategists Steve Schmidt and John Weaver and media consultant Rick Wilson, are the founders of the Lincoln Project, which sees Trump as both unfit for office and harmful to the Constitution. The project’s goal is to defeat the president and “Trumpism” at the ballot box in November.
Using former President Abraham Lincoln as their guide, the co-authors of the op-ed wrote that America is at a point in its history reminiscent of Lincoln’s time when its leader had to save the union and weave the nation back together.
“But those wounds can be bound up only once the threat has been defeated. So, too, will our country have to knit itself back together after the scourge of Trumpism has been overcome,” the op-ed said.
Newsweek reached out to the White House by email but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Tim Murtaugh, Trump Campaign communications director, told Newsweek that the co-authors of the op-ed were part of the Washington, D.C., swamp Trump promised to drain when he was elected president. Murtaugh claimed the co-founders of the Lincoln Project were “upset they’ve lost all of their power and influence inside the Republican Party,” adding that labeling them conservative or Republican was an “insult” to true conservatives and Republicans.
Conway retorted that being Republican used to mean standing up to fiscal responsibility, free markets, the rule of law and against foreign tyrants, Now, he told Newsweek it seems being conservative or Republican, as defined by the “Republican Party apparatus,” means one thing, “unwavering fidelity to the incompetent, narcissistic, sociopath in the White House, and to his senseless, self-serving whims.”
“We aim to restore conservatism to a set of enduring principles and to save it from the cult of personality some have caused it to become,” Conway said.
Newsweek reached out to the other co-authors of The New York Times op-ed but did not receive a response in time for publication.
One way to defeat the threat would be for Senators to vote in favor of removing Trump from office through the impeachment process, they wrote. On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance two articles of impeachment against Trump to the House. If the House approves the articles, it would prompt a trial in the Senate.
Undeterred by his wife’s leadership in Trump’s 2016 campaign and her position in the administration, Conway emerged as an advocate for the president’s impeachment.
In November, Lt. Col. Alender Vindman, the top Ukrain specialist on National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a foreign service aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified before the House Intelligence Committee about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. During the call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, amounting to what Democrats believe is an abuse of power.
Conway, who regularly uses Twitter to opine about the president, posted on the social media site that Vindman’s and Williams’ testimony were “absolutely devastating” to the president. He called Trump’s actions on the calls “perfectly impeachable.”
Trump has denied he did anything improper when he spoke to Zelenskiy and claimed that it was part of his job as president to investigate corruption. After Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment on Dec.10, Trump told reporters before leaving the White House that he considered the push to impeach him a “disgrace.”
If the impeachment process doesn’t result in Trump’s removal from office, a long-shot the op-ed authors acknowledge, the Lincoln Project will work to make sure he doesn’t return to the White House.
The super PAC, according to the op-ed, will target “disaffected” conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states to vote for “patriots who will hold the line.” Although there are policy differences between the founders of the Lincoln Project and national Democrats, if blocking Trump and his actions from another four years in the Oval Office means Democrats take control of the Senate and expand their majority in the House, it’s an end to a means the PAC can accept, the authors wrote.
Conway and his colleagues criticized Trump for failing to commit himself to order, civility and decency in a manner that is necessary to be president of the United States. As someone without the “moral compass nor the temperament to serve,” the co-authors claimed the problems Trump “brings upon himself” put a burden on the American people.
Congressional Republicans, according to the op-ed, emboldened the president by embracing his actions, abandoning “conservatism and longstanding Republican principles.” Therefore, the Lincoln Project will also target them for removal from office if they’re up for reelection in 2020.
This article has been updated to include comments from Trump Campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh and George Conway.