A group of conservative leaders who met in Washington, D.C., on Thursday have issued a statement
calling for unity at the Republican National Convention to defeat Donald Trump.
The group included RedState.com founder Erick Erickson, Bill Wichterman, President George W. Bush's liaison to the conservative movement, and Bob Fischer, a South Dakota businessman.
The meeting was touted ahead of time as an effort to find a "true conservative" in the general election even if that meant having the person run as a third-party candidate
The statement released Thursday afternoon urged party unity against Trump at the July 18 to 21 convention. Trump himself has urged Republicans to unite behind him as the party standard bearer against Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.
The anti-Trump group's statement did, however, hint at "other avenues" available to defeat Trump should he end up winning the nomination.
A specific nominee that the group would support is not named, though it notes that Abraham Lincoln did not win the Republican nomination until the third round of balloting.
Here is the complete statement:
"We are a group of grassroots conservative activists from all over the country and from various backgrounds, including supporters of many of the other campaigns. We are committed to ensuring a real conservative candidate is elected. We believe that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, a Hillary Clinton donor, is that person.
"We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party. It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.
"We call for a unity ticket that unites the Republican Party. If that unity ticket is unable to get 1,237 delegates prior to the convention, we recognize that it took Abraham Lincoln three ballots at the Republican convention in 1860 to become the party’s nominee and if it is good enough for Lincoln, that process should be good enough for all the candidates without threats of riots.
"We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot.
"Lastly, we intend to keep our options open as to other avenues to oppose Donald Trump. Our multiple decades of work in the conservative movement for free markets, limited government, national defense, religious liberty, life, and marriage are about ideas, not necessarily parties."
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