Editor of the Weekly Standard Bill Kristol joined a conference call between delegates, action groups, and rules experts late Tuesday evening to plan a coupe on the convention floor.
The groups “Free the Delegates” and “Delegates Unbound” organized the call. Interest in the weekly calls grew exponentially over the month of June. Only 12 people called in the first week, but that number quickly grew into the thousands. Kristol is the biggest name to join the call since it began.
Kristol dominated the news cycle last month when he announced his colleague at the Standard David French would run for president as a third-party candidate, without French’s apparent knowledge. A media firestorm grew over the course of a day until French announced he wasn’t planning on running.
Both Kristol and French joined the call Tuesday, according to The Hill. Kristol told organizers in his opening statement that organizers needed to be prepared to revolt on the convention floor in Cleveland should their representatives not vote the way they wanted.
“It’s very important to establish the principle that the delegates have the right to vote as they see fit,” Kristol said. “I think we’re on the right side of history and on the right side of rejecting someone who shouldn’t be the nominee of the Republican Party.” David French told delegates, “A rebellion on behalf of a majority of delegates would potentially rescue the party of Lincoln from making a fatal mistake.”
“The nomination of Donald Trump stands to alienate such a large percentage of the nation that the GOP may never rescue itself from minority status in this country,” French added. He went on to tell delegates they shouldn’t fear the chaos of a contested convention.
“Free the Delegates” is the most organized of the anti-Trump groups. Kendal Unruh, a delegate to the convention from Colorado, started the group. Unruh launched a multi million dollar whip operation designed to let delegates know they have the option to not vote in keeping with their state’s primary results. Unruh also started a petition with the rules committee called the “conscience clause” which allows delegates to vote the way their conscience tells them if they cannot vote for Republican presidential candidate Trump.
Some states, like Virginia and Colorado, have laws in place barring delegates from switching their votes at the convention. The group currently has lawsuits with those states to combat the legitimacy of those laws. The group believes since the primary process is organized by the political party, individual states have no jurisdiction in how a convention is operated or organized.
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