Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol dropped a Memorial Day weekend teaser on Twitter on Sunday:
Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016
Kristol has been stressing the need for a #NeverTrump alternative for several weeks, telling CNN on May 4, “I’m not with Trump, but I’m not with her, so I’m looking for an independent candidate.”
“Ben Sasse, senator from Nebraska, very bright, young, promising senator has said he can’t support Donald Trump and he doesn’t want to support Hillary Clinton. Let Ben Sasse run, he can take Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, who would not accept being Trump’s vice-presidential candidate. Maybe she would like to run with Sasse, they can argue about which order to have the ticket in,” Kristol said. “So, I’m saying right here on CNN, Sasse, Haley, Haley, Sasse, they’re both fine with me. No, I would like there to be an independent Republican candidate because I can’t support Trump, and I can’t support Clinton.”
The Washington Post reported May 14 that the movement to draft an independent candidate included Kristol, Mitt Romney, Erick Erickson and strategists Mike Murphy, Stuart Stevens and Rick Wilson.
On the list of names considered for recruitment: Sasse, John Kasich, former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), retired Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, and Mark Cuban. The drafting committee reportedly received many “no” answers.
Sasse, the most vocal #NeverTrump Senate Republican, penned an open letter earlier this month advocating for a single-term third-party choice to mop up “this messy moment.” But Sasse dropped hints that the choice shouldn’t be Sasse, as a leader who could step in at this time “should be able to campaign 24/7 for the next six months. Therefore he/she likely can’t be an engaged parent with little kids.”
Still, supporters on Twitter have been encouraging the first-term senator’s candidacy.
Trump fired back on Twitter, calling Kristol a “dummy”:
Bill Kristol has been wrong for 2yrs-an embarrassed loser, but if the GOP can’t control their own, then they are not a party. Be tough, R’s!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2016
If dummy Bill Kristol actually does get a spoiler to run as an Independent, say good bye to the Supreme Court! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2016