A collection of over 150 high-profile Republicans released a letter this week warning that if the GOP does not make specific changes, they will formally split from the party and form a third party.

“When in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice,” reads the preamble to the full statement.

Among those who signed the letter are former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, former Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters, former House Representatives Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma.

The statement is expected to focus on the GOP’s allegiance to former President Donald Trump, which these Republicans believe has no place in the future of the party. The Republicans’ letter comes days after a closed-door GOP House vote removed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from her position as the party’s House Committee Chair because of her denouncing of the Capitol insurrection and unwillingness to accept Trump’s election lies.

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When discussing the letter, Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security official and current organizer of the third party effort, said, “I’m still a Republican, but I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth because how quickly the party has divorced itself from truth and reason. I’m one of those in the group that feels very strongly that if we can’t get the G.O.P. back to a rational party that supports free minds, free markets, and free people, I’m out and a lot of people are coming with me,” Taylor said in a statement to the New York Times.

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