Many Republican officials don't want Donald Trump around ― but they're also too afraid to publicly challenge him, according to Atlantic journalist McKay Coppins.
"They all wanted him gone, but nobody wanted to confront him directly," Coppins said on Monday on CNN. "There is just this fear that if they go after him or if they try to rally around somebody else they'll spark a backlash from his base."
He explained on CNN and in his latest report on The Atlantic that party insiders are hoping something happens to remove Trump from the scene, such as an indictment.
But there's also another secret hope among those silent anti-Trump Republicans.
"You have a lot of folks who are just wishing for [Trump's] mortal demise," former Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) told Coppins, according to his report in The Atlantic. "I want to be clear: I'm not in that camp. But I've heard from a lot of people who will go onstage and put on the red hat, and then give me a call the next day and say, 'I can't wait until this guy dies.'"
Asked about that on CNN, Coppins said it's not the only time he heard that sentiment.
"I was taken aback by how often I heard this," he said. "I thought it was kind of a morbid, dark joke at first. But I heard it so often that it started to become clear that this was actually what a lot of Republican believe and it just speaks to the desperation in the party."
Read his full report here, and watch the CNN interview below: