Business Donors and Top GOP Leaders Hold Secret Conclaves to Stop Donald Trump

Tim Cook and Donald Trump AP Photos
AP Photos

Multiple sources are reporting that GOP insiders, governors, donors, and tech CEOs recently gathered at two separate meetings to keep GOP frontrunner Donald Trump from winning the party’s nomination for president.

One gathering was at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Park City, Utah. The governors were treated to a slide show purporting to prove that Trump could be held to less than the 1,237 delegates he would need to win the nomination outright.

According to the Washington Post, the plan was predicated on Trump losing such states as Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and a few others. If Trump is kept from winning outright, the slide show contended, then a brokered convention would result, and from there party insiders could push someone other than Trump for the nomination.

The key, though, is to keep Trump to the lowest delegate count possible. “It’s one thing if [Trump] goes to the convention and he’s got 48 percent, 49 percent of the delegates,” Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam said. “Then it’s a hard thing to see if there’s a convention floor battle. But if he goes to the convention and he’s got 35 or 40 percent, that’s a whole different thing.”

The Huffington Post reported that a handful of tech CEOs also met the weekend of March 6 at an isolated Georgia resort with GOP leadership to derail the Trump train.

The meeting on Georgia’s Sea Island was reportedly attended by Apple’s Tim Cook, Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk, Facebook investor Larry Page, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R, WS), along with several other GOP leaders. The meeting was sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.

While the event was supposed to be off-the-record, Weekly Standard chief William Kristol tweeted that the meeting was haunted by the “specter of Donald Trump.”

“The key task now, to once again paraphrase Karl Marx, is less to understand Trump than to stop him,” Kristol reportedly wrote. “In general, there’s a little too much hand-wringing, brow-furrowing, and fatalism out there and not quite enough resolving to save the party from nominating or the country electing someone who simply shouldn’t be president.”

The group of leaders also discussed the possibility of a brokered convention and reviewed plans to keep Trump from gaining the GOP nomination.

This is, of course, far from the only time GOP insiders have tried to float the idea of a brokered convention.

Recently audio of Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan was leaked wherein the operative discussed similar plans to force Trump into a brokered convention and for keeping him below the needed delegate county ahead of the convention. The audio was reportedly from a meeting of top Rubio donors held in New York.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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