Bill Kristol building 'war machine' to challenge Trump in 2020 primary

Bill Kristol building 'war machine' to challenge Trump in 2020 primary

Conservative commentator and outspoken "Never Trump" critic Bill Kristol says he is building a "war machine" within the Republican party to challenge President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE's 2020 reelection campaign, according to CNBC.

Kristol told the network that he's preparing "for a primary run against Trump," adding that Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is on his shortlist of possible candidates.

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Kasich was unsuccessful in his 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, only managing to beat Trump in his home state.

Kristol also said Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseMcConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal Senate approves 4B spending bill Grassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt MORE (R-Neb.) and outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley panel scraps Kavanaugh hearing, warns committee will vote without deal Coulter mocks Kavanaugh accuser: She'll only testify 'from a ski lift' Poll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it MORE (R-Ariz.) are also being considered.

“We are thinking of and doing preliminary work to prepare for a primary run against Trump,” Kristol told CNBC on Thursday. “People aren’t going to say they will run against Trump unless they have the infrastructure, but I’ve been trying to persuade people that it may not be that difficult.”

Kristol, who has called Trump "disgraceful" and "buffoonish," is the editor at large and founder of conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard. Kristol also serves as director of the nonprofit organization, Defending Democracy Together.

In a statement to CNBC, Sasse's spokesman did not deny that the senator has spoken to Kristol.

"I'm not going to comment on what other people decide to bring up in their personal conversations with the senator, but — like we've said for a long time — Ben doesn't pay any attention to the 2020 Washington rumor mill," said spokesman James Wegmann.

The Hill has reached out Kasich and Flake for comment.