Trump to use threat of the new Patriot Party to pressure Republican senators not to convict him in an impeachment trial
Former President Donald Trump is threatening to create a new political party which he can use as leverage to pressure senators not to convict him in his impeachment trial, The Washington Post reported.
Sources close to the former president told the Post that he has been discussing his motivations for planning to start the Patriot Party.
While most former presidents largely keep a low profile after leaving office, Trump has signaled that he could continue to play an active role in the battle for ascendancy among moderate and hardline factions of the GOP following his election defeat.
Trump’s hold over the GOP grassroots means that senators face the prospects of losing their seats if Trump instructs supporters not to back them.
They reportedly include Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third most powerful Republican in Congress, who, with 10 other Republicans, voted to impeach Trump on January 13, and state GOP officials who stood up to his bid to overturn the election, such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump’s refusal to accept his loss in the presidential election, and his role in instigating the Capitol riot by supporters on January 6 in which two people were killed, has threatened a split in the GOP.
Some lawmakers, including former Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have backed Trump’s impeachment following the riots, while other GOP lawmakers and millions of grassroots Republicans have remained steadfastly loyal.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Saturday said that Trump’s impeachment trial would begin on February 8. If Trump is convicted of inciting the January 6 insurrection, he could be permanently barred from office, ending his hopes of continuing in politics.
McConnell, along with a small group of GOP senators, is open to convicting the former president. However, it is increasingly unlikely there will be enough GOP support to secure the 2/3 majority necessary for conviction.
Some lawmakers reportedly fear the prospect of reprisals from Trump supporters if they publicly oppose him.
But pressure on the GOP is now mounting from a new direction. One expert told Insider that Republicans who refuse to convict Trump could alienate wealthy corporate donors.