Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff on Tuesday floated the possibility of a party “purge” of Republican lawmakers who don’t support President Donald Trump.
“Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him,” Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers said at a Republican National Committee event at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, Politico reported, citing an audio recording of Ayers’ remarks.
“If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him,” Ayers added, according to the report.
Ayers, once dubbed “the most hated campaign operative in America,” warned that Republican lawmakers are “on track to get shellacked” in the 2018 midterm elections if they fail to pass Trump’s agenda.
Asked how wealthy donors could push Trump-supporting lawmakers to “change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House,” Ayers said he was not speaking on Pence’s or Trump’s behalf and recommended a boycott.
“If I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you,” he said, according to the report.
Ayers added, “Because, look, if we’re going to be in the minority again we might as well have a minority who are with us as opposed to the minority who helped us become a minority.”
At the end of the meeting, an attendee asked Ayers to clarify his advice, saying, “Are we all willing, in order to get the tax bill passed, to contact all the people we donate money to — which is a long list — and tell them the money stops coming if they don’t get something done!”
“If there’s one exception to that, that’s the RNC,” Ayers said, according to Politico. “But yes.”