Ex-GOP senator suggests forming new party, calls Trump 'ringmaster' of Republicans

William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and Defense secretary under former President Clinton, blasted GOP lawmakers challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election in a Thursday interview in which he suggested the formation of a new political party. 

Cohen made the comments on CNN's "The Situation Room" while discussing Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOvernight Defense: Biden administration expands Afghan refugee program | Culture war comes for female draft registration | US launches third Somalia strike in recent weeks Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE's (R-Mo.) plans to object during Congress's counting of the Electoral College vote on Wednesday. Cohen called Hawley's actions "shameful" but warned that Republicans are just following President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE's lead, calling him the party's "ringmaster."

"We have to remember that the current occupant of the White House is a ringmaster and what he expects to do is snap his whip and all the elephants hop up on chairs," Cohen said. "What they have to understand is he is going to continue to snap the whip whether he's in office or out of office. And every time they're going to have to jump up and sit on that stool to satisfy him and his supporters."

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"He is always going to up the ante, he cannot be satisfied. There's nothing in him. There's no moral core, and so they are going to be extorted or bribed in order to avoid a primary in 2022 or 2024," Cohen continued.

Discussing the future of the Republican Party, Cohen noted a clear divide among GOP lawmakers, saying more centrist Republicans such as Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (Maine) are very different from Trump allies. He asked: Where are the lawmakers "standing up for the rule of law?"

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"For Trump it is pathological, for those who are jumping up to support him, it's diabolical and I don't think it's diabolically clever. I think they will find they will be hostage for the rest of their time in the Senate and going forward if they are only there to appease the Trumpsters," he said.

"Maybe it's time for a new party. One that abides by the rule of law," Cohen concluded. "But also faithful to the people of this country, who vote to elect them."

Cohen's New Year's Eve comments come just days before Congress's counting of the Electoral College vote. Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel Kinzinger58 percent say Jan. 6 House committee is biased: poll Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign MORE (R-Ill.) said Wednesday he thinks as many as 100 Republicans could challenge the results.

The move is considered a long-shot bid to overturn the election, but more Republican lawmakers have come out in support of the effort.