A group of former Trump administration officials are banding together in an effort to block their former boss from entering office again.
The meeting of the group, announced by former White House press secretary and chief of staff to the first lady Stephanie Grisham, is scheduled for next week where they will discuss how to “try and stop” former President Donald Trump and the “kind of violence and rhetoric that has been talked about and continues to divide our country.” In an interview with CNN on the morning of Jan. 6, Grisham said about 15 former Trump administration officials — some she said, who ranked higher than her — have held informal discussions and plan to meet in person.
“I think that there were a few of us who, again, have been sitting back watching him continue to manipulate and spread this big lie and continue to harm our country,” Grisham told CNN. “And [we] started some informal chats and then started throwing around ideas of what we could do, how we could formalize it.”
While Grisham did not name members of the group, POLITICO can confirm former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor, who was revealed to be the author of “Anonymous”; former national security official Olivia Troye; and Trump’s one-time, short-lived communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, are involved. None offered additional details on the group, but POLITICO confirmed an invitation was sent out to other former officials to participate as well. Grisham said next week’s meeting will be both in person and via Zoom.
“I just think that it will be important for people in this country who are still supporting him to hear from people who actually worked with him day in, day out, worked with a lot of people in his inner circle. We’re not going to just talk about the former president. We’re going to talk about the people who are surrounding him still now and who they really are,” Grisham said on CNN. “You can still be proud of his policies, you can still be behind a lot of the America First policies that he implemented, which I am, but it doesn’t have to be him. It just doesn’t have to be this man who has caused such chaos and destruction in the country.”
It’s unclear if the gathering of Trump alums next week will result in the formation of a formal political entity. If it does, it would be the latest addition to a constellation of “Never Trump” groups focused on speaking out against Trump, Trumpism and his falsehoods about the 2020 election. Last June, Taylor co-founded Renew America Movement, a group to support candidates across the political spectrum that identify as being in favor of reforms to strengthen democracy.
Despite their efforts, Trump remains the most popular figure in the Republican Party, and according to a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll, a majority of Republicans, 58 percent, believe Joe Biden was not legitimately elected president — undoubtedly fueled by Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud.
A spokesperson for the former president did not immediately return a request for comment.
On Wednesday, Grisham met with the select House committee investigating Jan. 6 and told reporters she “cooperated fully.” She was one of the first Trump officials to resign as a result of the former president’s response to the riots on Capitol Hill, and since leaving her post as chief of staff to the first lady, wrote a tell-all book about her experience serving in the administration.
Grisham told CNN she hopes to travel the country to speak to Trump supporters in an effort to help them understand “who he is.”
“This man is a master manipulator. He gets people to do his bidding. I was one of them. And I want people who believe in him now to talk to me. And I want to explain who he really is,” Grisham said. “So I’m really hoping for a good fight in 2022. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do what I can.”