Several dozen self-described movement conservatives met in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to discuss ideas and options on how to stop Donald Trump from clinching the Republican nomination for president.
“There is considerable reason to believe that this nomination fight is far from over and that anybody other than Trump can win a clear majority of delegates,” Quin Hillyer, a longtime conservative columnist and activist who is serving as a spokesman for the group, told The Daily Caller after the meeting.
Several dozen people attended the meeting, including conservative activist Erick Erickson and Arizona Rep. [crscore]Trent Franks[/crscore], but the names of most other participants were not released. The group also doesn’t have a name — but is being referred to as a movement conservative, ad hoc anti-Trump group.
On his website, The Resurgent, Erickson published a statement the group agreed to release:
We are a group of grassroots conservative activists from all over the country and from various backgrounds, including supporters of many of the other campaigns. We are committed to ensuring a real conservative candidate is elected. We believe that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, a Hillary Clinton donor, is that person.
We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party. It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.
We call for a unity ticket that unites the Republican Party. If that unity ticket is unable to get 1,237 delegates prior to the convention, we recognize that it took Abraham Lincoln three ballots at the Republican convention in 1860 to become the party’s nominee and if it is good enough for Lincoln, that process should be good enough for all the candidates without threats of riots.
We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot.
Lastly, we intend to keep our options open as to other avenues to oppose Donald Trump. Our multiple decades of work in the conservative movement for free markets, limited government, national defense, religious liberty, life, and marriage are about ideas, not necessarily parties.
The notion of getting behind a third-party candidate, if Trump wins the nomination, also appears to have come up: The Washington Post reported that Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse’s name was mentioned during the meeting as a potential third-party candidate conservatives could encourage to run if Trump becomes the nominee.