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More than 100 Republicans, including former officials and lawmakers, threaten to split from GOP

Miles Taylor, right, in 2019 on Capitol Hill, when he was chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, with Kirstjen Nielsen, who was homeland security secretary at the time.
Miles Taylor, right, in 2019 on Capitol Hill, when he was chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, with Kirstjen Nielsen, who was homeland security secretary at the time.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

More than 100 Republicans, including some former elected officials, are preparing to release a letter this week threatening to form a third party if the Republican Party does not make certain changes, according to an organizer of the effort.

The statement is expected to take aim at former president Donald Trump’s stranglehold on Republicans, which signatories to the document have deemed unconscionable.

“When in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice,” reads the preamble to the full statement, which is expected to be released Thursday.

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The effort comes as House Republican leaders are expected on Wednesday to oust Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from their ranks because of her outspoken criticism of Trump’s election lies.

“This is a first step,” said Miles Taylor, an organizer of the effort and a former Trump-era Homeland Security official who anonymously wrote a book condemning the Trump administration. In October, Taylor acknowledged he was the author of both the book and a 2018 New York Times op-ed article.

“This is us saying that a group of more than 100 prominent Republicans think that the situation has gotten so dire with the Republican Party that it is now time to seriously consider whether an alternative might be the only option,” he said.

The list of people signing the statement includes former officials at both the state and national level who once were governors, members of Congress, ambassadors, Cabinet secretaries, state legislators and Republican Party chairs, Taylor said.

Taylor declined to name the signers. Reuters reported earlier that former Govs. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey will sign it, as will former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and former Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma.

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Taylor declined on Tuesday to reveal the specific changes that the coalition is planning to demand of the Republican Party in its statement.

“I’m still a Republican, but I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth because how quickly the party has divorced itself from truth and reason,” Taylor said. “I’m one of those in the group that feels very strongly that if we can’t get the GOP back to a rational party that supports free minds, free markets, and free people, I’m out, and a lot of people are coming with me.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.