Former President Donald Trump threatened the head of the Republican National Committee (RNC) with his departure from the party after some of its members refused to back his false claims of fraud in the 2020 election, a new book reports.
A book written by ABC News’s Jonathan Karl, titled “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” details the last days of the Trump administration, including Trump’s conversation with RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, which took place on January 20 during his final Air Force One flight as president.
McDaniel had called to wish Trump a farewell from office. But Trump was “in no mood for small talk or nostalgic goodbyes,” Karl wrote. Instead, Trump “got right to the point. He told her he was leaving the Republican Party and would be creating his own political party.”
Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s eldest son, was also on the call with McDaniel, Karl said in his book:
The younger Trump had been relentlessly denigrating the RNC for being insufficiently loyal to Trump. In fact, at the January 6 rally before the Capitol Riot, the younger Trump all but declared that the old Republican Party didn’t exist anymore.
Trump explained he was leaving the party because not enough Republicans were willing to agree with his claims that his loss to now-President Joe Biden was due to election fraud.
“You cannot do that. If you do, we will lose forever,” McDaniel reportedly said to him in response.
“Exactly. You lose forever without me,” Trump retorted. “I don’t care.”
In the days following Trump’s conversation with McDaniel, RNC leadership reminded him that he still depended on them for a number of resources.
The RNC noted that they would be an enormous asset to his potential election run in 2024 and threatened not to pay legal fees relating to Trump’s election challenges if he left the party. They also said they would withhold data from him, including tens of millions of email addresses.
Five days after his talk with McDaniel, Trump reversed course and said he’d stick with the GOP after all, Karl’s book details.
A Trump departure from the GOP could have been cataclysmic. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in October showcased that the former president still enjoys significant support from Republican-leaning voters.
When asked if Trump should run for the presidency again in 2024, 78 percent of GOP voters said they wanted him to do so, versus just 16 percent who said no.
But when the question was posed to all voters participating in the poll, not just Republican-leaning ones, the general consensus was that voters didn’t want Trump to run again. Just 35 percent of all respondents said they’d like him to run for president in 2024, while nearly 6 in 10 respondents, or 58 percent, said they didn’t want him to.