It's 'now or never' for ex-Trump aides weighing speaking out

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This Sept. 9, 2020, photo provided by Elizabeth Neumann shows Neumann at her home in Chantilly, Va. With just weeks left before the Nov. 3 election, it's decision time for a number of current and former Trump administration officials who are debating whether to speak out against President Donald Trump. (Elizabeth Neumann via AP)

WASHINGTON – Elizabeth Neumann wrestled with the decision for weeks. She worried about the backlash, the impact it would have on her career, potential threats to her family.

But the former Department of Homeland Security official, who had resigned in April, reached a breaking point after President Donald Trump deployed Homeland Security agents to Portland, exacerbating tensions there. She decided it was worth the risk to speak out against Trump, whom she had come to view as a threat to the country.

“Enough is enough," said Neumann, the former assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention. “People need to understand how dangerous a moment we are in.”

There are plenty of others weighing the same decision.

With just weeks left before the Nov. 3 election, now is the moment of truth for current and former Trump administration officials debating whether they, too, should step forward and join the chorus of Republican voices trying to persuade on-the-fence voters to help deny Trump a second term.

“It’s now or never," said Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at DHS, who has been working to recruit others to join the effort. In interviews, Taylor has accused Trump of routinely asking aides to break the law, using his former agency for explicitly political purposes, and wanting to maim and shoot migrants trying to cross the southern border.

“Those who witnessed the president’s unfitness for office up close have a moral obligation to share their assessment with the electorate," said Taylor, who launched the group REPAIR — The Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform — to bring together concerned former officials.

A related group, Republican Voters Against Trump, has compiled nearly 1,000 video testimonials from Republicans across the country who want Trump out. Strategic director Sarah Longwell said her goal was to provide a "permission structure" to help wavering Republicans feel comfortable opposing Trump.