Georgia Lt. Gov. Duncan: Refocusing Energies on 'GOP 2.0' Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan speaks from his desk on the floor of the Georgia State Senate Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Atlanta. (John Bazemore/AP)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 18 May 2021 02:23 PM
Georgia's Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, after his announcement that he won't seek reelection, said Tuesday he'll focus his energies on the "GOP 2.0" movement in an effort to fix the "vacuum of leadership" in the Republican Party.
"There's no way to ignore the fact that there is a vacuum of leadership inside the GOP right now, and we're either going to ignore it or fix it," Duncan said on MNBC's "Morning Joe," explaining that "GOP 2.0" is not a new party, but a "safe place for conservative Republicans to call home."
Former President Donald Trump has slammed Duncan, Gov. Brain Kemp, and other Georgia Republicans hard over the 2020 election, but the lieutenant governor said Tuesday he thinks conservative issues started taking a back seat to the GOP's growing adherence to Trump over time.
"We've got four years to try to get this right," said Duncan. "For me, I believe, the majority of Americans believe Republicans are best to be in charge of the economy and national security and we should never leave a meeting without reminding everyone why we're good at that."
Republicans need to focus on "policy over politics," and their leaders need to "go to work every day and try to solve real problems for real people" rather than engaging in a "popularity contest," said Duncan.
He added that Trump himself could change the direction the Republican Party has taken in recent years, but he won't.
"If former President Trump got up to a microphone and denounced all the conspiracy theories and fraud and talked about a better day forward for the Republican Party, it would change in an instant," said Duncan.
But even without that happening, Duncan said he believes most Republicans will return to a "GOP 2.0 mindset, for different reasons."
"Some will get there because they 100% believe in a new strategy," Duncan said. "Some are going to partially believe, and some will just get tired of losing. The hole that Donald Trump dug for us Republicans will show up in almost every political race from coast to coast. Mayor's races, city council races, congressional races, and certainly, in the next presidential race."
Duncan acknowledged that the past six months have been "almost indescribable" for him and his family because of the response after the 2020 election results and the ongoing controversy in his state, but he has decided that the time has come to decide to either "run from the problem" or toward it.
"When you receive death threats from hundreds of Republicans from around the country, that's a problem when you're only sitting there telling the truth," said Duncan. "I'm proud of Secretary of State (Brad) Raffensperger, I'm proud of the leadership of Gov. Kemp, but we've got a problem here and we've got to address this."
He added that he has been in touch with Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who was voted out of her House leadership seat last week, and he's "proud" of her "strength and tenacity to tell the truth" and of her voting record.
"There's a better day ahead," he said. "It's time to create a movement, a movement that is worthy to ask for millions and tens of millions of people to vote for."