Top Republican establishment forces are joining up to eliminate Donald Trump from the presidential race through a “guerrilla campaign,” backed by secret donors, The Wall Street Journal reports Saturday.
In a page-one story, the paper reported that anti-Trump efforts are being spearheaded by a one-time Republican National Party online communications director who worked briefly for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s failed bid for the GOP nomination.
The group, called Trump Card LLC , is headed by former RNC employee Liz Mair. A detailed memo of their plans, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, says without efforts from GOP establishment, “Trump is exceedingly unlikely to implode or be forced out of the race.” Further, Mair asserts in the memo, “the stark reality is that unless something dramatic and unconventional is done, Trump will be the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton will become president.”
Trump Card’s plan is to expose Trump’s policy positions as not being conservative. In the past, Trump has advocated higher taxes, supported affirmative action, called for a government-run, single-payer healthcare system used by Canada and Britain, and backed the Supreme Court’s Lowe decision that gives government the right to easily seize private property for private businesses.
Trump Card is not alone in efforts to target the billionaire front-runner.
One super PAC for Ohio Gov. John Kasich has begun with a series of anti-Trump advertising, while ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush attacked Trump on Friday and a Club for Growth-related super PAC plans to resume attack ads in Iowa against the New York billionaire. The Club’s ad campaign in Iowa has been cited for Trump’s sagging numbers in that state, which show rival Ben Carson leading the field there.
And noted Republican strategist Rick Wilson, currently working for a Rubio super PAC, has offered to prepare attack ads hitting Trump on his record.
Until now, campaigns have shied away from attacking Trump directly, but as the year comes to an end and the primary elections near, Trump remains at the top of most national GOP polls.
But Mair said her group’s efforts have been going on for several weeks, and the structure of her organization will allow donors to remain anonymous. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said on Friday that Mair worked for Walker, so “who can blame her” for her new push.
And Saturday morning, Trump himself called out Mair on Twitter. Mair was forced to resign in March from Walker’s campaign after she made a series of comments on Twitter that bashed the state of Iowa and its role in the presidential nomination process.
Trump Card, as a limited liability company, does not have to disclose donors to the Federal Election Commission, and Mair claims donors backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kasich, and Bush are interested in backing her initiative, but worry that making donations public will hurt their candidates’ campaigns.
Rick Wilson told The Wall Street Journal that he believes there will be many people donating to an anti-Trump effort, as they are taking the threat that Trump “will destroy the Republican Party and lose the general election to Hillary Clinton seriously.”
On Thursday, New Day for America, the super PAC that backs Kasich, started a series of ads that mention the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, and say that “on-the-job training” for the White House does not work. Trump threatened to sue the organization. And on Friday, Bush told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Trump’s talk about closing mosques and registering refugees is “just wrong” and shows weakness, not strength.
Mair’s efforts could include ads set to intentionally tweak Trump, including comparing him to his foe, Rosie O’Donnell, said the memo, or ads that show his support of socialized medicine or eminent domain and use a Trump impersonator to show him insulting people.
The goal is to keep Trump supporters from voting, the memo said, not to convert them into backing other candidates. Trump Card hopes to gather a quarter-million dollars from donors throughout several other candidates’ camps for their push.