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Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele on Monday sent a terse message to conservatives who would quit the Republican Party to follow former President Donald Trump.

“You have 46% of people saying they will follow Trump,” Steele said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”. “I’m like, OK, there’s the door. You’re all going to do your thing, and we’re just going to pick up the pieces on this side and keep moving. And that’s the battle.

He was discussing a Suffolk University / USA Today poll that found 46% of Republicans polled would drop out of the GOP and join a Trump party if the former president decided to form one. Only 27% of those polled said they would not. The remaining number said they were undecided.

The results showed that a plurality of Republicans were in favor of Trump despite the deadly Jan.6 insurgency on Capitol Hill led by his supporters, who sought to overturn the election and hurt lawmakers who opposed Trump. Trump’s actions to incite the attack on Capitol Hill led to his second impeachment by the United States House. He was acquitted in the Senate.

Steele led the RNC from 2009 to 2011. He was a strong critic of Trump for years and in 2020 joined the anti-Trump conservative group The Lincoln Project in their fight against the 45th president.

The poll results show how deeply rooted Trump’s rhetoric has been in the party, Steele said.

“You can’t turn the corner on this,” he said. “You have the national leadership heading to Mar-a-Lago to speak with Trump,” he said, referring to meetings between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif. ) And the House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R -La.) And the former president in Florida since he left office. “About what?”

He said the GOP should now focus on what it will do next.

“And this is where the battle lines are drawn,” he said, referring to the representatives. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) And Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Both of whom have faced criticism within the party for voting with the Democrats to impeach Trump in January.

″[They’re] standing to one side saying, “This is the rational, conservative approach of small government, effective leadership, individual freedoms, etc.” ”Steele said. “And then there is this. The Trump Party.

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