Trump backed down from threat to leave Republican Party: book

Former President Trump told officials at the Republican National Committee (RNC) that he would leave the GOP before ultimately backing down from the threat, a new book claims. 

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel at one point during Trump’s final days as president called him to “wish him farewell,” according to reporting by ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl contained in his new book, which is set to be released later this month. 

Karl describes the call between Trump and McDaniel as “very unpleasant” and noted the former president’s eldest son was also on the call. 

“Donald Trump was in no mood for small talk or nostalgic goodbyes,” Karl writes. “He got right to the point. He told her he was leaving the Republican Party and would be creating his own political party. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. was also on the phone. The younger Trump had been relentlessly denigrating the RNC for being insufficiently loyal to Trump. In fact, at the Jan. 6 rally before the Capitol riot, the younger Trump all but declared that the old Republican Party didn’t exist anymore.”

After Trump told McDaniel he was “done” with the RNC, she implored him to stay, saying if he didn’t “we will lose forever,” Karl writes. 

“Exactly. You lose forever without me,” Trump replied, Karl added. “I don’t care.”

Trump had already made the decision to start his own political party, according to Karl, with the author describing the situation as “a done deal.” 

An official at the RNC told Karl that the organization made it clear to Trump that if he did indeed leave the party to start his own, it would “stop paying legal bills incurred during post-election challenges” and withhold its list of more than 40 million Trump supporters used for fundraising. 

“It’s a list Trump had used to generate money by renting it to candidates at a steep cost,” Karl notes. “The list generated so much money that party officials estimated that it was worth about $100 million.”

“It’s a totally made up and fabricated story, it’s fake news,” Trump said in a statement provided to The Hill. “Jonathan Karl is a third-rate reporter working for ABC Non-News,” the former president added.

McDaniel also denied Karl’s reporting when contacted by ABC News. 

“This is false, I have never threatened President Trump with anything,” McDaniel told the outlet. “He and I have a great relationship. We have worked tirelessly together to elect Republicans up and down the ballot, and will continue to do so.”

— Updated at 8:55 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Legal affairs of Donald Trump Politics Ronna McDaniel Ronna McDaniel

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