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 TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SasseHillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Lawmakers ask for briefings on Chinese targeting of coronavirus research On The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic MORE (R-Neb.) and outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump asserts his power over Republicans 'Never Trump' Republicans: Fringe, or force to be reckoned with? The Memo: Can the Never Trumpers succeed? 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.