Christine Todd Whitman and Tom Ridge are among the more than 100 Republicans who have said they'll sign a letter demanding that the party change direction. If it doesn't, the group warns, the GOP can expect to be challenged by a third political party. The group is opposed to former President Trump's continued control of the Republican Party, the New York Times reports. "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," says the statement's preamble. The letter, which is scheduled to be published Thursday, calls on Republicans to "either re-imagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation" of an alternative party.
Other former officeholders behind the letter include Mary Peters, Charlie Dent, and Barbara Comstock. Former Rep. Denver Riggleman said the group would prefer not to start another party, per USA Today. "The objective is to create a common sense coalition and policy-driven movement that pushes back against disinformation like the Big Lie" about the 2020 presidential election, Riggleman said. One of the organizers is Miles Taylor, a former Trump administration official who anonymously wrote a New York Times oped piece critical of the president in 2018, as well as a book. He said former governors, party chairmen, Cabinet secretaries and state officials plan to sign the letter, which Taylor called the first step. "If we can't get the GOP back to a rational party that supports free minds, free markets, and free people," he said, "I'm out, and a lot of people are coming with me." (Read more Republican Party stories.)