Conservative commentator and outspoken "Never Trump" critic Bill Kristol says he is building a "war machine" within the Republican party to challenge President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race 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.
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 SasseBen SassePresident of newly recognized union for adult performers boosts membership Romney blasts Biden over those left in Afghanistan: 'Bring them home' Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal MORE (R-Neb.) and outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots 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.