Trump seeks to disavow 'Project 2025' despite ties to conservative group


By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump tried to distance himself on Friday from a conservative group’s sweeping plans for the next Republican presidency, days after its leader claimed a second American Revolution was underway that would “remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

The Republican presidential candidate renounced any connection with Project 2025, a plan Democrats have been attacking to highlight what they say is Trump’s extreme policy agenda for a second term should he beat President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 election.

Many people involved in the project lead by the Heritage Foundation, America’s top conservative think tank, worked in the Trump White House and would likely help fill out his administration if he wins in November.

But Trump said on his Truth Social platform he had nothing to do with the plan.

“I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it,” he wrote.

“I disagree with some of the things they’re saying,” he continued, adding some of their assertions were “absolutely ridiculous and abysmal.”

Trump’s post came three days after Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts’ comments on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast about a second American Revolution. Democrats and others criticized what they viewed as a veiled threat of violence.

In a statement provided by a Project 2025 spokesperson on Friday, Roberts repeated his claim that Americans were carrying out a revolution “to take power back from the elites and despotic bureaucrats” and said it was the political left that had a history of political violence.

The spokesperson said that while Project 2025 provided recommendations for the next Republican president, it would be up to Trump, should he win, to decide whether to implement them.

Trump’s move to create distance with Project 2025 could in part reflect an effort to moderate his message in the final months of the race, especially with Biden’s campaign faltering after the Democratic candidate’s June 27 debate, said James Wallner, a political science professor at Clemson University.

“Trump is basically now seeking to appeal to a broader audience,” Wallner said.

The Biden campaign has stepped up its efforts to tie Trump’s campaign to Project 2025.

“Project 2025 is the extreme policy and personnel playbook for Trump’s second term that should scare the hell out of the American people,” campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement.

The 900-page blueprint calls for drastic reform of the federal government, including a gutting of some federal agencies and a vast expansion of presidential power. Trump’s statements and policy positions suggest he is aligned with some but not all of the project’s agenda.

The plans have been drawn up by the Heritage Foundation in coordination with a collection of other like-minded groups.

A number of people who worked on Project 2025 have close ties to the former president. Russ Vought, who was Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget and is heading up a key committee at the Republican National Convention, authored one of the project’s chapters.

Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to Trump who is widely expected to be tapped for a top job in a second Trump administration, heads up a legal group on Project 2025’s advisory board.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Chris Reese)



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