Never Trump movement splinters as its villain heads for the exit

“The reality is, is there a market for an anti-Trump Republican Party now?” said Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican operative and member of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. “I would say no.”

Just keeping the never-Trump coalition together “will be a challenge in and of itself,” said Evan McMullin, who mounted a conservative third-party presidential bid in 2016. Moving forward, the movement has to “bring more Republicans on to our side of this fight.”

Some said they intend to shield Republican lawmakers who stand up to Trump. Others floated forming a third party. And still others want to direct their energies toward rebuilding trust in government and using Trump’s ouster as momentum for reforms on government ethics, taking a page from the post-Watergate playbook.

“Can we recruit never-Trumpers to run? Can we find moderate candidates to run, is that the best thing to do? Is the best thing to do to be more helpful to Biden? I don’t think there’s any clear answers right now,” said Tim Miller, a former spokesperson for Jeb Bush and a leading never-Trumper who left the Republican Party in November.