Trump’s plans if he wins a second round on the throne are nothing new, starting with an administration stocked with familiar and unqualified former trump sycophants. The new leadership would start by killing efforts to stem climate change and move on to firing thousands of disloyal employees.
It’s all in the $22 million “bold new plan” for America, a regurgitated blueprint that would give a second trump presidency practically unhinged powers. The vast number of organizations and individuals in lock step with trump is incredulous given trump’s growing list of indictments related to his claims that widespread fraud denied him reelection in 2020 to the Jan. 6, 2021, attempted insurrection by trump supporters.
Fortunately, it is beyond highly unlikely that many Republicans will actually read the nearly 1,000 page manifesto. The so-called “Project 2025 was funded by the right wing Heritage Foundation thinktank and was written by dozens of stale and sometimes, disgraced leftovers from the trump years.
At a time of record heat, deadly wildfires and unprecedented flooding around the world, the plan would eliminate agencies crucial to transitioning the nation from a petrofuel economy to sustainable forms of energy. It would hugely expand the gas infrastructure while blocking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing new pollution limits on power plants and tail, tailpipe emissions and controls over mercury and other toxic emissions.
The overarching proposals include bolstering the number of political appointees, and redeploying office personnel with law enforcement ability into the field “to maximize law enforcement capacity.”
A major goal of the scheme is to fire as many as 50,000 workers in an effort to eliminate what trump and Republicans call the “deep state” bureaucracy. Tens of thousands of the 2 million federal employees would be re-classified as at-will workers who could more easily be fired. The lost employees would be replaced by loyal trumpers, most likely many who helped write the plan and were disgraced while serving trump.
The plan also requires the Pentagon to “abolish” diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and also reinstate service members who were fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
A broad coalition of more than 70 conservative organizations has helped form the project, including the Center for Renewing America, Defense of Freedom Institute and Moms for Liberty.
The Center for Renewing America is a right-wing, nonprofit organization created by Russell Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget under trump. The organization opposes alleged censorship of conservatives big tech companies, opposes the spread of critical race theory, and advocates for stricter security measures in elections.
The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies, or DFI, is a right wing nonprofit organization that claims that public schools poorly prepare students for careers or higher education. The organization focuses on school choice initiatives that include charter public schools, private or parochial schools, micro-schools, or home schools. It was formed by Robert Eitel and Jim Blew, two former U.S. Department of Education officials under trump.
Moms for Liberty is a right wing group that fights against schools instructing on LGBT rights, race and ethnicity, critical race theory, and discrimination. Multiple chapters have campaigned to ban books that address gender and sexuality from school libraries. In 2023, the Southern Poverty Law Center termed Moms for Liberty a far-right extremist organization.
The director of Project 21 is Paul Dans, former chief of staff of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under trump.
Dale Cabaniss, the director of the government’s Office of Personnel Management, resigned in 2020, shortly after Dans was appointed. Cabaniss said she quit because of poor treatment from Dans and John McEntee, head of the Presidential Personnel Office.
Dans began his legal career as an associate at two top New York law firms LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae and Debevoise & Plimpton. The American Lawyer reported that Dans didn’t get a partnership in 2009 and began working for a small Miami law firm to help out a lawyer for Chevron who had been indicted by Ecuador as part of a conspiracy to violate environmental rules. Dans played a significant role in the legal strategy of the Chevron-Ecuador case, which was one of the biggest civil litigations in history.
Others involved in writing the plan’s 30 chapters, include Benjamin Carson, a brain surgeon, former losing, GOP presidential candidate and former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), under trump.
In December 2017, The Economist said that under Carson, HUD was “directionless,” that most of the top HUD positions were unfilled and that Carson’s leadership was “inconspicuous and inscrutable.” Under his reign, HUD scaled back the enforcement of fair housing laws, halted several fair housing investigations started by the Obama administration and removed the words “inclusive” and “free from discrimination” from its mission statement.
William Perry Pendley wrote the chapter on the Department of the Interior. Pendley was trump’s acting director of the Bureau of Land Management from 2019 to 2021. He was among a number of high-ranking acting officials in the Trump administration who was never confirmed by the Senate. Pendley left the post after a federal judge ruled that he had served unlawfully for 424 days because he was never confirmed. Pendley wrote in his chapter that environmental radicals have controlled the Environmental Protection Agency since the Carter administration.
Ken Cuccinelli wrote the section on the Department of Homeland Security. Cuccinelli served as trump’s senior official performing the duties of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) from 2019 to 2021. A whistleblower complained in September 2020 that Cuccinelli ordered the intelligence branch at DHS to modify its intelligence assessments to downplay the threat posed by white supremacy groups and to instead focus on “left-wing” groups such as the antifa movement.
Cuccinelli is an avowed homophobe and as Virginia Attorney General, he defended anti-sodomy laws and prohibitions on same-sex marriage. Cuccinelli rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, and sought to prohibit undocumented immigrants from attending universities, repeal birthright citizenship, and force employees to speak English in the workplace.
In 2020, a federal judge also ruled that Cuccinelli’s acting appointment was illegal for violating the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. Later that year, the Government Accountability Office ruled his appointment as the acting Deputy Secretary also was illegal.
The chapter on the Department of Transportation was written by Diana Furchtgott-Roth. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology at the Department of Transportation under trump.
Furchtgott-Roth has said that climate change either isn’t happening, or is not caused by human activity. In 2015, she said “the Earth has been warming and cooling for millennia, certainly before the industrial revolution. It has been steadily warming since the Little Ice Age of the 1700s. Over the past 15 years, despite increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the warming by some measures has stopped.” Contrary to Furchtgott-Roth’s claims, the vast majority of scientists have noted that not only has average global temperature continued to rise since 2015, but the plateau referred to by Furchtgott-Roth has been debunked as a myth.
She is known for opposing the minimum wage, has said the gender pay gap is a myth and that fuel economy standards kill people. Furchtgott-Roth also has objected to a federal plan to phase out gas-powered vehicles. The federal rule requires 60 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to be battery-powered electric by 2030 and 67 percent by 2032, compared to just 6 percent today.
A senior advisor to Project 2025 is John McEntee II, who served as then-President trump’s personal assistant before leading the White House Presidential Personnel Office. McEntee was fired on March 13, 2018, due to an “unspecified security issue” that was later revealed to be a problem with his gambling debts and an inability to obtain a necessary security clearance. In December 2018, trump rehired McEntee as Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office. His job with identifying and removing political appointees and career officials deemed insufficiently loyal to the administration.
Another influential GOP group was formed in April 2021 by former trump officials. The America First Policy Institute was described by Bloomberg as an “administration-in-waiting” that “includes potential cabinet members, senior White House officials and even political appointees at federal agencies.”
The institute’s areas of study or misinformation include international affairs, the environment, healthcare, immigration, media bias, social issues and values, election integrity, criminal justice reform, censorship, Critical Race Theory, energy, security, the economy, international trade, and education.
The chair of the America First Policy Institute is Linda McMahon who was trump’s administrator of the Small Business Administration and later, ran the pro-Trump superPAC America First Action. McMahon and her husband, Vince McMahon, founded World Wrestling Entertainment where she worked as the president and later CEO from 1980 to 2009.
The vice chair is Lawrence Kudlow the Director of the National Economic Council under trump. On Feb. 25, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was exploding as a global pandemic, Kudlow said, “We have contained this, I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight.”
In June 2020, after the death of George Floyd and during the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, Kudlow said, “I don’t believe there is systemic racism in the U.S.” He also defended trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexico–United States border.
Brooke Rollins is the president and CEO of the institute. She was previously the acting director of the Domestic Policy Council under trump. Prior to that role, Rollins oversaw the White House Office of American Innovation.
Rollins was formerly president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change and seeks to “explain the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels.” The foundation is funded by Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other fossil fuel interests. It also lobbied for the Texas legislature to ban the prescription of puberty blockers and hormone treatments for minors.
Trump’s former Energy Secretary Rick Perry is running the institute’s Center for Energy Independence. A former Texas governor, Perry said in 2006 that he believed that those who do not accept Jesus as their Savior will go to hell. He also described Texas’s anti-sodomy law as “appropriate.” He is the energy chair despite comments he made during his 2012 presidential campaign that the Department of Energy should be abolished. In a presidential debate, Perry also was unable to remember the name of the department.
The national security section of the institute is led by former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe who also was former national security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence and Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.
Just 35 days before the November 2020 election, Ratcliffe declassified 2016 Russian disinformation that said that Hillary Clinton had personally approved a scheme to associate trump with Vladimir Putin and Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Ratcliffe provided the disinformation to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who publicly released it. The Heritage Foundation ranked the former Texas congressman as the most conservative Texas legislator in Congress and second-most conservative legislator in the country.
Paula White-Cain is chair of the institute’s Center for American Values. White is a televangelist, proponent of prosperity theology and trump’s personal minister. The day after trump lost his bid for reelection, White led a Facebook prayer service to secure trump’s reelection through “angelic reinforcement” from “angels” from Africa and South America as well as “an abundance of rain.” At the rally preceding the January 6 Capitol attack by trump supporters, White offered the opening prayer before trump’s speech.
The vice chair for the institute’s Center for Energy and Environment is Carla J. Sands, the U.S. ambassador to Denmark under trump. Sands is a former chiropractor, socialite, and actress and was a major donor to trump’s 2016 campaign and inaugural committee.
The Office of Special Counsel ruled in February 2021 that Sands violated the Hatch Act multiple times while serving as Ambassador to Denmark by using her official Twitter account to tweet about political matters, including criticisms of Joe Biden and endorsing conspiracy theories about Kamala Harris. During trump’s last month in office, trump awarded Sands with the Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
Kellyanne Conway is the chair of the institute’s Center for the American Child. She was Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor to the President at the trump White House. She also was campaign manager of Trump-Pence 2016. While at the White House, Conway infamously used the phrase “alternative facts” to describe fictitious and disproven attendance numbers for trump’s inauguration. She also claimed that then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had trump’s full confidence hours before the president fired him. Members of Congress from both parties called for an investigation of an apparent ethics violation after Conway publicly endorsed commercial products associated with the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
Gail Wison is the engagement officer for the institute, tasked with making the White House more accessible to the public. Wison worked for Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and was deputy executive director for Black Voices for Trump. In August 2023, Harrison Floyd, the executive director of Black Voices for Trump, was charged with five felonies for his alleged role in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. Floyd is also facing federal charges in a May 2023 incident alleging that he assaulted an FBI agent in Maryland.