On his final day in office, former President Donald Trump threatened to leave the Republican Party, according to a new book.
Trump made the declaration during a call with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Jan. 20, ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports in his upcoming book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, according to ABC. During this "very unpleasant" conversation, which took place as McDaniel called to bid Trump farewell, Trump reportedly "told her he was leaving the Republican Party and would be creating his own political party," declaring, "I'm done."
In response, McDaniel reportedly told Trump he "cannot do that" because "if you do, we will lose forever," to which Trump shot back, "Exactly. You lose forever without me. I don't care." Trump, who had been fighting to overturn his 2020 election loss, reportedly proclaimed "this is what Republicans deserve for not sticking up for me." McDaniel warned Trump that if he did so, he would "ruin your legacy," but Karl reports Trump seemed quite serious about the threat.
"He was putting the party chairwoman on notice that he had decided to start his own party," Karl writes. "It was a done deal. He had made up his mind."
After the call, McDaniel reportedly informed RNC leadership about Trump's threat, and the RNC subsequently made clear that if Trump followed through on it, the party "would immediately stop paying legal bills incurred during post-election challenges," as well as "render Trump's most valuable political asset worthless," referencing his campaign email list reportedly estimated to be worth around $100 million. Days later, Trump backed down from his threat, the book says.
McDaniel denied the reporting, telling ABC, "This is false, I have never threatened President Trump with anything." Trump also denied the report, saying, "You mean I was going to form another party or something? Oh, that is bulls--t. It never happened." Read more at ABC News.