Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher this week and confirmed that he is done with the Republican Party.
Maher opened the interview by confirming that Scarborough considers himself an independent, and that it is his view that the Republican Party is now beyond saving.
“No doubt about it,” Scarborough replied.
The ex-congressman and morning TV host went on to describe former President Trump as a fascist, making light of supporters who claim that they back Trump because of his stance on “the issues.”
“Now you tell me, what the fuck does that mean?” Scarborough asked. “What issues does this guy share with conservatives?! He left with the biggest deficits ever, biggest debt ever, he undercut all of our allies…”
These sharp criticisms of Trump are nothing new for Scarborough, who frequently allowed Trump to be a guest on his Morning Joe program during the 2016 campaign. Earlier this year Scarborough called out Trump as “a cancer on the conservative movement, a cancer on the Republican Party. He’s tearing it to shreds right now.”
Following the reaction to the January 6th riots in Washington, it was reported that Trump himself had entertained the idea of breaking with the GOP and creating a new Patriot Party to carry his banner. But as the dust has settled, it now seems clear that Trump and his allies will retain control of most of the Republican Party’s machinery for the immediate future.
This might lead some to wonder if Scarborough, who has been aggressively attempting to stake out ground as an anti-Trump conservative media figure, could be involved in a reported effort to organize a new political party on the right.
The early stage discussions include former elected Republicans, former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, ex-Republican ambassadors and Republican strategists, the people involved say.
More than 120 of them held a Zoom call last Friday to discuss the breakaway group, which would run on a platform of “principled conservatism,” including adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law – ideas those involved say have been trashed by Trump.
The plan would be to run candidates in some races but also to endorse center-right candidates in others, be they Republicans, independents or Democrats, the people say.
Evan McMullin, who was chief policy director for the House Republican Conference and ran as an independent in the 2016 presidential election, told Reuters that he co-hosted the Zoom call with former officials concerned about Trump’s grip on Republicans and the nativist turn the party has taken.