The founder of the Patriot Party said he and others involved in the burgeoning movement were not discouraged by former President Donald Trump’s comments on third-party rumors at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“We were not discouraged by President Trump’s comment’s at CPAC and it only strengthened our resolve to continue on our path to support Constitutional Conservative candidates and petition drives,” William Johnson, chair of the Idaho Patriot Party PAC, told The Epoch Times via email.
Trump in his Feb. 28 speech said, “We’re not starting new parties.”
“They kept saying, ‘He’s going to start a brand new party,'” he added. “We have the Republican party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news.”
“Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote so that you can never win,” Trump quipped. “No, we’re not interested in that.”
That statement “took many of us by surprise,” Johnson told The Epoch Times.
“Some feel that he turned his back on the grass roots movement that supports him, that he turned his back on MAGA and the Patriot Party movement itself,” he said, using the acronym for Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
“With no clear path forward it is clear We The People will need to continue moving forward on developing our own campaigns without the help of President Trump.”
Rumors about Trump starting a new patriot party flew late last year and early this year as a number of Republicans distanced himself from him. But after getting acquitted for a second time by the Senate last month, Trump has begun wielding his influence on the party, and even many detractors admit he’s likely to win the 2024 Republican primary if he decides to run for president again.
The MAGA Patriot Party, which is different from Johnson’s movement, claimed allegiance with Trump’s campaign in January, sparking a quick disavowal. That party’s founder told The Epoch Times that the claim was a filing mistake and that many Trump supporters “feel like it was Trump turning his back on the ones willing to fight for him.”
Johnson has said he would welcome Trump’s support as he works with people in other states to build a party, which is done through winning elections. The Patriot Party is focused on attracting both former Republicans and Democrats, with an emphasis on “conservative constitutional values,” he previously told The Epoch Times.
In the new messages, Johnson said the Trump team’s plan to primary so-called RINOs, or “Republicans in Name Only,” will not work.
“The reason why I believe this is that you have Precinct Committeemen that vote on who gets to run in the primaries in the GOP,” he wrote. “In order to get a Patriot Majority into these positions, they need another 100k seats filled in order to get close to a majority. If there is no reform in our voting system, then this strategy will do no good. It will be a waste of time and money on the part of the GOP. The Patriot Party PACs are focused on what we can do at the state level to achieve our goals. We will support petition drives for voting and ballot integrity and support campaigns of Constitutional Conservatives at the City, County an[d] State level.”
The party is working on building its own media platforms, with a TV network expected to launch soon.