GOP presidential candidates meet in Park City

Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie and others take a ski-town meeting with Sen. Mitt Romney and donors

PARK CITY, Utah — Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum are meeting in Park City today with Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and others on the second day of a two-day, closed-door donor summit aimed at finding a viable alternative to Donald Trump.

Meeting organizer Spencer Zwick, a co-founder of Solamere Capital, a private equity investment firm, and a former Romney campaign finance chair, told Axios the attendees from the Romney/Ryan network “don’t just accept that Donald Trump is the nominee.”

Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan appears Tuesday in Park City at a two-day, closed-door meeting of Republican presidential candidates and donors.
Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan appears Tuesday in Park City at a two-day, closed-door meeting of Republican presidential candidates and donors.

Other speakers at the summit include Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and former attorney general Bill Barr.

Pointedly not present: candidates Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, although Ryan told CNBC that any “non-indicted” candidates were welcome to attend.

“I understand Candidates that are losing by 57 to 70 Points are getting together with RINO Paul RINO, Mitt ‘The Loser’ Romney, Bill ‘No Guts or Talent’ Barr, and some broken political ‘investors’ that will soon come to me, as most others already have. These failed Candidates should have started by campaigning effectively, which they didn’t because they don’t have the skill or the talent!” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Tuesday.

“Romney, who today couldn’t get elected ‘dogcatcher’ in the Great State of Utah, should have beaten an absolutely failed first-term Obama,” Trump added.

“Here’s a radical idea: voters should decide who the nominee is, rather than Super PACs or closed-door mega donor summits,” Ramaswamy wrote on X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday, saying the Park City gathering  “epitomizes all that’s wrong with the broken GOP.”

Zwick told The Washington Post that the Park City gathering understands that it is foolish to pretend Trump isn’t looming over the Republican presidential primary. “But this group is not just going to sit back and say, ‘OK, well, let’s just accept that Donald Trump’s going to be the nominee.’

“If people in this room, and at this gathering, start to really get behind one or two of these candidates, you’re going to see some real movement in the polls. … At some point, and hopefully, in the not too distant future, we can start to coalesce around a smaller group of candidates.”

The meeting in Park City is the eleventh annual gathering for the E2 Summit, which “mostly focuses on discussions about foreign policy, tech and business,” msn.com reports, saying it is “a powerful coming together of tuned-in and well-connected Republicans.”

It was the highest-profile appearance by politicos in Park City since President Joe Biden held a fundraiser in the area in August.

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