Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is waging a crusade to save the Republican Party by finding a conservative alternative to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, but he is getting no thanks from the Republican National Committee.
The conservative pundit confirmed to the New York Times in a piece published Saturday that he circulated a memo to conservative allies pushing for an independent candidate who could still get on general-election ballots at this late stage in the 2016 race. Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has thrown his support behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), are two of the names that were circulated for the role.
RNC officials were quick to try to to quash this discussion. Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told Breitbart News on Sunday that “any effort to facilitate a third party ultimately is helping to elect Hillary Clinton.”
“The Republican Party must be united to take back the White House,” Spicer said.
Kristol seems unlikely to give up his campaign any time soon, though. In a tweet Monday morning, the Weekly Standard editor framed RNC leadership—particularly chairman Reince Priebus—as puppets in thrall to an unwieldy candidate.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 21, 2016
He also tweeted out links to an op-ed set to be published in his magazine on March 28 that argues the party’s best recourse would be to rally around Cruz and prevent Trump from acquiring enough delegates to win the nomination outright. Nominating an independent candidate would be a “track two” strategy, he argued.
“Trump is a master at sensing and exploiting decay,” Kristol wrote in the column. “His showmanship impresses, his bullying intimidates, his bravado seems bracing. But while decadence may explain a demagogue’s success, it is no excuse for yielding.”
The Weekly Standard editor has been a vocal critic of Trump since the billionaire businessman first declared his candidacy last summer.