Former officials, anti-Trump activists pledge $50M for Republicans who support impeachment

A group of anti-Trump Republicans are pledging to raise $50 million to help reelect GOP lawmakers who vote to impeach or remove President Trump from office.

The effort by the new group, the Republican Accountability Project, is intended to offer political protection to GOP lawmakers who may be weighing impeachment but fear potential retribution from Trump and his supporters.

“We want to say to any Republican who votes to impeach or remove Donald Trump: You will not be left alone. We will help you against primary challenges,” Bill Kristol, the board chairman of the group, said. “And before the challenges emerge, we will help explain your vote to your constituents. So do the right thing. We will have your back.”

The effort comes as the House barrels toward a vote on an article of impeachment charging Trump for his role in inciting a mob of his supporters to swarm the U.S. Capitol last week. The ensuing riots prompted lawmakers and others working in the building to evacuate. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died amid the riots.

The riots came as members of Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College vote.

The House is expected to vote on the article on Wednesday. If approved by the lower chamber, Trump will become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

The president’s first impeachment in late 2019 drew no support from House Republicans. This time, however, several GOP lawmakers are weighing potentially joining the chamber’s Democrats in voting to impeach Trump.

But a vote in favor of impeachment comes with potentially steep political risks.

Despite growing dissent among some in his party, Trump still commands the support of a sizable base of supporters, many of whom have either excused the president’s role in inciting last week’s violence or have baselessly accused leftist groups of orchestrating the riots.

Republicans have for years been reluctant to run afoul of the president, fearing that it could cost them the much-needed support of his most loyal fans. 

That’s where the Republican Accountability Project hopes to step in. 

In a statement announcing the $50 million effort on Tuesday, the group said that it wants to “ensure that ample resources are available for those principled Republicans who do the right thing and hold Trump accountable for inciting an attack on the U.S. Capitol to defend against primary challengers.”

The group’s efforts aren’t only intended to defend incumbents. The Republican Accountability Project also wants to target GOP lawmakers “who have enabled or capitulated to Trump by objecting to certify a free and fair election.” That includes helping “credible” primary challenges to pro-Trump incumbents.

The group will also back candidates in open or redistricted seats “who would be principled Republicans if elected to office.”

The Republican Accountability Project is being spearheaded by Kristol and Sarah Longwell, a Republican consultant who has long been critical of Trump. The effort is also being led by two former Trump administration officials, Elizabeth Neumann and Olivia Troye, both of whom have emerged in recent months as fierce critics of the president.

Tags Bill Kristol Campaign finance Donald Trump donations Impeachment Joe Biden Republican Accountability Project Sarah Longwell
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