A new excerpt from a forthcoming book reports that Donald Trump contemplated leaving the GOP to form a new party. In Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show—due for release on Nov. 16—ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl writes that Trump made the threat during a heated phone call with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel after boarding Air Force One for the last time on Jan. 20—the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“[McDaniel] called to wish him farewell. It was a very unpleasant conversation,” Karl writes, according to ABC News. “Donald Trump was in no mood for small talk or nostalgic goodbyes. He got right to the point. He told her he was leaving the Republican Party and would be creating his own political party.”
Trump told McDaniel that the Republican Party will “lose forever” without him, Karl writes.
Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.—who had accused the RNC of not being loyal enough to his father and who had “all but declared the old Republican Party didn’t exist anymore” at the Jan. 6 rally—was also on the phone, Karl reports in the book.
“I’m done,” the elder Trump told McDaniel on the phone, according to Karl’s account. “I’m starting my own party.”
“You cannot do that,” McDaniel replied. “If you do, we will lose forever.”
Trump responded, “Exactly. You lose forever without me. I don’t care. … This is what Republicans deserve for not sticking up for me.”
However, McDaniel told the outgoing president that he wouldn’t just ruin the GOP, he’d also ruin his own legacy. “This isn’t what the people who depended on you deserve, the people who believed in you,” she said. “You’ll ruin your legacy. You’ll be done.”
Karl also claims that McDaniel and the rest of the RNC leadership eventually got Trump to stay in the party by saying that they would stop paying his legal bills if he left the party and that they would withhold an email address list for 40 million Trump supporters.
“It’s a list Trump had used to generate money by renting it to candidates at a steep cost,” Karl writes. “The list generated so much money that party officials estimated that it was worth about $100 million.”
Trump claims the story is “bulls—t.”
Both Trump and McDaniel denied the story about the Air Force One call, according to ABC News. “ABC Non News and 3rd rate reporter Jonathan Karl have been writing fake news about me from the beginning of my political career,” Trump said in a statement. “Just look at what has now been revealed about the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax. It was a made up and totally fabricated scam and the lamestream media knew it. It just never ends!”
And in an interview with Karl for the book, Trump—who has previously been registered as an independent and a Democrat, according to Newsweek—said the story was “fake news.” He said that “many people” suggested a third party but he never considered leaving the Republican Party.
“You mean I was going to form another party or something?” Trump said during the interview. “Oh, that is bulls—t. It never happened.”