I'm sure this is true:
In an angry conversation on his final day as president, Donald Trump told the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee he was leaving the GOP and creating his own political party -- and that he didn't care if the move would destroy the Republican Party, according to a new book by ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl....I'm more skeptical about Karl's depiction of how this was resolved:
The standoff started on Jan. 20, just after Trump boarded Air Force One for his last flight as president.
"[RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel] called to wish him farewell. It was a very un-pleasant conversation," Karl writes....
"I'm done," Trump told McDaniel. "I'm starting my own party."
"You cannot do that," McDaniel told Trump. "If you do, we will lose forever."
"Exactly. You lose forever without me," Trump responded. "I don't care."
According to the book, "McDaniel and her leadership team made it clear that if Trump left, the party would immediately stop paying legal bills incurred during post-election challenges."Karl's sources (primarily McDaniel, I assume) want us to believe that the party bravely played hardball and Trump meekly backed down. But we saw what else happened in real time. Nearly everyone in the party recommitted to kissing Trump's ass on a regular basis. We continue to be told that a large percentage of Republicans in Washington are sick of Trump and wish he'd go away, but they sure don't act that way. If the former is true, then the reason for the latter is that they're still afraid he can wreak vengeance any time he pleases.
"But, more significant, the RNC threatened to render Trump's most valuable political asset worthless," Karl writes, referring to "the campaign's list of the email addresses of forty million Trump supporters."
"It's a list Trump had used to generate money by renting it to candidates at a steep cost," says the book. "The list generated so much money that party officials estimated that it was worth about $100 million."
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake writes:
... there is some reason to believe it’s very much a bluff. Trump ditching the GOP would severely damage the party, but those around Trump have to recognize that it would also make it more difficult for him to win, which is the case McDaniel reportedly made to Trump. Conservatives might resent what Trump did to their party, and if the party put forward its own nominee, Trump’s already low apparent ceiling of 46 to 47 percent of the vote would go even lower. Trump would need to spend time on a likely doomed campaign that would probably make him a two-time loser.Give me a break. If Trump bolts the party, he'll take nearly all of its voters with him -- and when Republicans who are less enamored of Trump but aren't hardcore Trump foes take a look at polls showing the candidate of the rump Republican Party a distant third, with only Trump able to beat the evil socialist CRT Antifa open-borders Democrat (which is how they see all Democrats), they'll get on the Trump train as well. And most congressional Republicans will endorse Trump rather than the party's nominee, because they'll be afraid not to.
But this would be in the event that Trump bolts the party before primary season starts. What's more likely is that Trump will simply enter the Republican primaries and dare anyone to try to beat him. Right now it doesn't look as if he has anything to worry about -- the latest poll of the primaries, from Harvard CAPS/Harris (Mark Penn's firm), shows Trump at 47% in an eight-candidate field, with Ron DeSantis a distant second (10%), Mike Pence at 9%, and no one else higher than 6%.
Why would any potential A-list candidate dare to challenge Trump? Who wants to be the candidate who beats Trump and motivates him to take all his voters out of the GOP voter pool?
So Trump will be on the ballot in 2024 on some line or other, unless he's dead, dying, or in prison (and he might even run if he's in prison). It's up to the GOP whether he's inside the tent pissing out or outside the tent pissing in.