Lincoln Project adviser Stuart Stevens emphasized Saturday that the group is set on "burning" the current Republican Party to the ground rather than simply opposing Donald Trump.
Stevens appeared on MSNBC’s "Alex Wagner Tonight" to discuss the results of the midterm elections with fill-in host Ali Velshi. After many Trump-backed candidates lost their elections, Velshi questioned Stevens about whether this will force Republicans to "fix" themselves to have a "normal party."
"I guess the repudiation of some of the big, as you call it, waving the bloody shirt election deniers in this election could do two things. One, it could cause Republicans, like many of you at the Lincoln Project, former Republicans, to say hey, let’s fix this party, let’s fix it in the mold of Liz Cheney, of Adam Kinzinger, of conservatives who would like to be conservative, and have a normal party, and like democracy, or could shift it in the direction you just indicated. People who don’t wave the bloody shirt but still don’t really support the underpinnings of democracy that we need in this country," Velshi said.
Rather than argue for the "conservative" Republicans, Stevens revealed that his anti-Trump group has expanded its mission and is set on destroying the party entirely.
"Just to be clear, at the Lincoln Project, we are not trying to save the Republican Party. We are trying to burn the Republican Party to the ground. Because I think that is the only way that you are ever going to be able to rebuild a sane, center right party. Pain is the teacher here. And that is the only thing that will make these people try to run more normal candidates," he said.
"What do you say when you have a guy who attempted to overthrow the government of the United States, and they wouldn’t vote to convict him? There is no saving this party. You can only try to defeat it, and doing so save democracy, and rebuild from all the ashes," Stevens continued.
His comments surprised Symone Sanders-Townsend who said, "To hear you say that you are trying to bring the Republican Party down, that was something that I had never heard you particularly say before."
"Listen, I think it is going to take a long time. I think that it is going to be at least ten years before there can emerge a center right party that has any sanity," Stevens responded.
He continued, "Republicans got into this because they abandoned any pretense that there was some sort of moral governing philosophy guiding them. They did this deal with the devil with Donald Trump, and as I said, and I believe, it breaks my heart to say this, because I feel like I am in part responsible for it, Donald Trump didn’t change the Republican Party, he revealed it. People don’t change deeply held beliefs in a few years, unless there is some intervening event."
"They just proved that they cared about nothing but power. And that is why they don’t have any agenda, they don’t have any governing philosophy, and they are running all of these lunatics," he said.
Although the Lincoln Project previously purported to defend real conservatism in the face of Trump, they have acted increasingly against many Republican candidates regardless of their ideology or connections to the former president.
In September, Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt tweeted that DeSantis would "kill" his political opponents if given the chance.
Most infamously, the Lincoln Project was behind a viral hoax to paint Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s followers as White supremacists ahead of the gubernatorial election in 2021.