The real truth about Trump’s ties to Project 2025

by dorothystgeorge

There’s no sugarcoating it: The last few weeks have been bad for Democrats. And yet, former President Donald Trump and Republicans still appear to be panicking. The problem isn’t President Joe Biden, who continues to combat internal pressure to step aside. Instead, the Republican Party, including apparently Trump himself, seems suddenly worried about growing mainstream awareness of Project 2025, a set of far-right policy initiatives developed by the Heritage Foundation and a slew of Trump-supporting thinkers and organizations.

The last few weeks have been bad for Democrats. And yet, Trump and Republicans still appear to be panicking.

Last week Trump took to Truth Social to deny any knowledge of the project. “I know nothing about Project 2025,” the former president wrote. “I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

You may have heard the expression, “A hit dog will holler”?

Even for Trump, someone who lies easily and without remorse, the suggestion that he has “no idea who is behind” Project 2025 is laughably false.

The truth is Project 2025 was enabled by a raft of former Trump administration officials, including Paul Dans, former chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management; John McEntee, former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office; Rick Dearborn, former White House deputy chief of staff for legislative, intergovernmental affairs and implementation; Ben Carson, former Housing and Urban Development secretary; Ken Cuccinelli, former deputy secretary of homeland security; Peter Navarro, former director of the White House National Trade Council and director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy; Christopher Miller, former acting secretary of defense; Stephen Moore, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign; Russell Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget; William Pendley, former acting director of the Bureau of Land Management; Paul Winfree, former director of budget policy; Brooks Tucker, former chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs; Roger Severino, former director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services; Kiron Skinner, former director of policy planning at the State Department; and Bernard McNamee, former commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

In fact, Project 2025 is staffed by more than 200 former officials of the Trump administration. Is it really possible that Trump is unfamiliar with the massive conservative project worked on by hundreds of his own former officials? Or is the toxicity of this agenda just that evident

Common sense and Occam’s razor would suggest it’s the latter. And it does make a lot of sense that Trump would want to try to distance himself from the project, because it is legitimately extreme.

The project’s main “playbook,” called “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” is itself is over 900 pages. In a nutshell, the playbook calls for nullifying anti-climate-change efforts while supercharging its deadly effects, abolishing the Education Department and dramatically cutting back on free school meals and the Head Start program, cutting earned benefits like Medicaid, expanding the deportation powers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, banning pornography and imposing criminal penalties for those who produce it, strictly limiting abortion and rolling back pro-choice policies, blocking federal health care providers from offering gender-affirming care to trans people and consolidating presidential power significantly. 

The fact that Trump is attempting to distance himself from this agenda is a testament to how obviously out of step it is with mainstream America. It’s not that he doesn’t agree with it; he just rightly recognizes that the vast majority of voters don’t.

The bigger point here is that nothing Trump says about Project 2025 going forward has any credibility. And that’s important context for when Trump inevitably claims he would never try to implement any part of it. I’d be slightly more likely to believe he doesn’t remember who Ben Carson is.

Brian Tyler Cohen

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political commentator, podcast host and MSNBC contributor. He hosts one of the biggest progressive channels on YouTube, with over 2 million subscribers. 

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