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Former RNC chair to Republicans looking for new Trump party: 'There's the door'

Former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele said Monday that conservatives who do not wish to be part of the party without former President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE leading it are free to leave. 

"You have 46 percent of the folks saying they will follow Trump," Steele said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I'm like, OK, there's the door. Y'all go do your thing, and we'll just pick up the pieces on this side and keep moving. And that's the battle." 

Steele was referring to a new Suffolk University-USA Today poll released Sunday that found 46 percent of Republicans would abandon the GOP and join a Trump party if the former president decided to create one.

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Only 27 percent of respondents said they would stay with the GOP, with the remainder indicating they are undecided. 

Following a blistering rebuke from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe bizarre back story of the filibuster The Bible's wisdom about addressing our political tribalism Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (R-Ky.) over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Trump issued a scathing statement against GOP leadership last week, attacking McConnell as "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" and threatening to back primary challengers to incumbents supported by party establishment.  

Steele, who led the RNC during the Obama administration and is currently considering a bid for Maryland governor, said Republicans ought not to think about Trump "in the past" but rather "where we go as a national party from here."

"I know I’m not everyone’s favorite cup of tea within my party," he said earlier this year. "I never have been. I don’t let those things bother me." 

Last year, Steele joined the anti-Trump political organization the Lincoln Project and appeared in a video endorsing President BidenJoe BidenNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors Biden celebrates vaccine approval but warns 'current improvement could reverse' MORE before the election. 

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"When you're losing Republican members and you're left with QAnon and Proud Boys, you've got to reassess whether or not you're even close to being a viable party," he said in the video. 

Steele said Monday that the recent Suffolk University-USA Today poll shows the party is still "pretty Trumpian" and that the former president's rhetoric and ideology have become "bedrock inside the GOP." 

"You've got the national leadership making their way down to Mar-a-Lago to confer with Trump," he said in reference to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMerrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE (R-La.).

"We're in this know-nothing period of the GOP," Steele concluded. "And the question for a lot of us remains, what do we do next?"