DENVER — More than 100 Republican heavyweights could part ways with the Grand Old Party on Thursday and create their own movement if conservatives don't ditch President Donald Trump and his influence over elections.
The names of who signed the letter have not been released, but an excerpt from the letter was leaked to the New York Times stating, "When in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice."
Sarah Lenti, a Denverite and former Republican, says she has felt those forces before. She left her post as a policy adviser on Republican presidential campaigns to join the Lincoln Project as Trump was gearing up for his second run.
"When you look at the cult of Trump, it's less about policy as it is about loyalty to a figure," Lenti said. "The Republican Party needs to get back to a party built on policy competition, and they've lost that."
But she says the move, no matter how bold, is unlikely to gain steam.
"They're just going to siphon off Republicans from Republicans and make it easier for Democrats to win," Lenti said. "If your strength is waned, you're hurting yourselves."
The letter is being released one day after Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney was ousted for her opposition to Trump and his behavior on Jan. 6 that contributed to the riots at the U.S. Capitol.
"I think she's very brave," Lenti said. "I don't know that this bodes well for her getting reelected in Wyoming. And with respect to a possible presidential run, it seems like the pulse of the Republican Party is with Trump right now."