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The Stop Trump Summit: The Brave Never-Trump Republicans

Stuart Stevens, George Conway, and Tara Setmayer decided that principle trumped partisanship.

George Conway
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
George Conway on CNN in 2020

The Republican Party could have stepped away from the abyss in 2024. But three months before the Iowa caucuses, it is looking like GOP voters have decided on a rendezvous with authoritarianism. Back in 2016, the hopeful interpretation was that the nomination and election of Donald Trump was a historical accident—never to be repeated.

If only.

But beginning in 2016, and continuing through the tempestuous Trump administration, brave Republicans chose conviction over conformity. They decided that principle trumped partisanship.

They did what I hope liberal Democrats would have done if the misbegotten Democratic Party had somehow ever nominated George Wallace or anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. They abandoned their party and became never-Trump former Republicans.

This transition was particularly difficult for would-be GOP officeholders and political consultants whose livelihoods depended on Republican clients. That’s why I so deeply admire those former Republicans who made that fateful step. People like political consultant and author Stuart Stevens, who was the top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign against Barack Obama. People like Tara Setmayer, a regular GOP commentator on cable TV, who had worked for seven years as a communications director on Capitol Hill for a conservative congressman. People like George Conway, a leading Washington litigator and longtime member of the Federalist Society, who emerged early in the Trump years as one of the president’s most insightful critics.

This Wednesday, October 11, I will be chatting with these three courageous apostate Republicans at The New Republic’s Stop Trump Summit. What I will be looking for are their insights on how to convince 2024 swing voters of the threat to democracy posed by a Trump presidential race. With their longtime Republican pedigrees, they will have a perspective and an angle on the likely Joe Biden–Donald Trump race that’s different from Democratic orthodoxy. And it is also important to understand the personal sacrifices each of these three Never-Trumpers faced because of their unwillingness to silently tolerate the hostile takeover of the party of John McCain and Romney by an authoritarian vulgarian.

I am inviting you to attend in person (if you are in New York) or via livestream (if you’re not) the entire Stop Trump Summit. This will be a major event, featuring those who know Trump well and some of his sharpest critics, all speaking to the most important issue of our times: how to prevent a Trump restoration in the 2024 election. A year from now, early voting will be in full swing, and there isn’t time to lose.

Major speakers at the Stop Trump Summit include: his niece, psychologist Mary L. Trump; Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro; former Trump official and “Anonymous” whistleblower Miles Taylor; constitutional scholar and Trump impeachment manager Jamie Raskin; broadcast journalist Don Lemon; the Reverend Al Sharpton; abortion rights expert Jessica Valenti; lawyer and Supreme Court expert Dahlia Lithwick; journalist Joan Walsh; journalist Molly Jong-Fast; ghostwriter of Trump: The Art of the Deal Tony Schwartz; award-winning journalist and leading Trump expert David Cay Johnston; plus many more.

We so hope to see you there or on the livestream.