“Paul Ryan signed our permission slip.”
“Free The Delegates” is a campaign to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee, and now has the support of nearly 400 delegates, according to Kendal Unruh, Colorado delegate and co-founder of the group.
What started as an idea tossed around on social media has turned into a force that could derail a national campaign. Organizers admit their plan could deepen internal party strife.
“Short-term, yes, there’s going to be chaos,” said Unruh, a Cruz delegte. “Long-term this saves the party and we win the election. Everything has to go through birthing pains to birth something great. We’re going to go through the trauma of the birthing pains, but the reward will be worth it.”
Unruh, along with fellow delegate Regina Thomson and other Colorado Republicans hatched up the idea of trying to stop Trump by introducing a rule change – instead of delegates being bound by caucus and primary results, all 2,472 delegates at the convention should be able to vote their conscience for whomever they want.
And, they admit, Paul Ryan just poured fuel on their fire.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that “it is not my job to tell delegates what to do, what not to do, or to weigh in on things like that. They write the rules. They make their decisions.”
Unruh said, “Paul Ryan signed our permission slip.”
“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” Unruh said. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”
The group held a conference call late Sunday evening, where they say at least 1,000 people dialed in to the call, and delegates who attended plan to spend this week brining others on board. They hit back at GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and others who have dismissed their efforts as silly.
“Mr. Priebus needs to understand that leadership has not answered the call of the most important people in the Republican Party, and that’s the conservatives. We have always been there; we’ve endured a lot of one-way loyalty,” said Chris Ekstrom, a Dallas-based businessman and founder of Courageous Conservatives PAC, which supported Cruz’s campaign but is now backing the new movement.
One delegate from Colorado said in an email that “we will not put our delegates in an ethical dilemma” if they are unbound. “We live in America. The land of the free. As delegates, we should be free to vote our conscience.”