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Retired GOP Politicians, Including Boehner, Start Interventionist Anti-Trump Group

State of the Union: “Our Republican Legacy” wants to revive neoconservatism.
Biden And Palin Square Off In Only Vice Presidential Debate
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Last week, several retired Republican politicians announced the creation of a new organization, “Our Republican Legacy,” to promote neoconservatism and oppose the former President Donald Trump. The group, which was announced in a Washington Post op-ed by former Senators John Danforth, William Cohen (who was also Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton), and Alan Simpson, aims to provide “resistance” and “credible leadership with sufficient funding” to oppose populism. The group notably includes the former Speaker of the House John Boehner, former Vice-President Dan Quayle, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and former Representative Adam Kinzinger as some of its founding members.

The group currently lists five main priorities: “unity,” “the rule of law,” “fiscal responsibility,” “the market economy,” and “peace through strength.” On these latter two points, the group explicitly stakes out a free trade position in opposition to tariffs, while the group defines “peace through strength” as “opposing” Russia and supporting NATO. The group’s announcement op-ed also described the January 6th protest at the capitol as one of the “darkest days in U.S. history.” 


Despite claiming to represent “traditional Republicanism,” the group states makes no mention of social conservatism, and many of its leaders are notable for their left-wing positions on social issues—Simpson in particular is famously pro-choice. Likewise, it is unclear whether the group’s “traditional Republicanism” represents the traditional positions of the GOP, given the non-interventionist and protectionist policies promoted by figures such as Robert Taft. 

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, Danforth highlighted the priorities of the group, listing free trade and foreign interventionism as “basic Republican principles on which everybody agreed.” Danforth stated that Trumpism represents “a reversal of fundamental principles that we [Republicans] have stood for really 170 years,” and compared Trump’s policies unfavorably with Abraham Lincoln’s, failing to mention Lincoln’s strong support for tariffs and courting of Russian support during the Civil War. Danforth also stated that he believes that Trump will “lose his audience” whether he wins or loses in November, and gives indication that the group intends to try to return the GOP to neoconservatism irrespective of the election’s outcome.