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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 TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee 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 McConnellMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee 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 BidenBiden 'disappointed' in Senate parliamentarian ruling but 'respects' decision Taylor Swift celebrates House passage of Equality Act Donald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' 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 McCarthySchiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Conservatives go after Cheney for Trump CPAC remarks MORE (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble Feehery: How Republicans can win by focusing on schools 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?"