Trump’s Claim to ‘Know Nothing’ About Project 2025 Is Ridiculous

It’s January 21, 2025, you wake up in a full-blown fascist state; Donald Trump materializes on your TV in a hot dog suit. “We’re all trying to find the guy who did this,” he says. 

That’s the vibe the former president gave off on Friday, as sought to distance himself from Project 2025, the conservative Heritage Foundation’s 887-page policy agenda for the next Republican president. 

“I know nothing about Project 2025,” posted Trump, who implemented nearly two thirds of the Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations in his first year as president.

“I have no idea who is behind it,” wrote Trump, whose close allies and administration officials authored multiple chapters of the report. The former president went on: “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.” 

Meanwhile, over at the Republican National Committee, at least seven of the individuals tasked with overhauling the party’s platform in anticipation of Trump’s second term in office have connections to Project 2025 — starting with Russell Vought, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget during Trump’s administration. 

Today, Vought is policy director for the RNC’s 2024 platform committee. He was also the author of Project 2025’s chapter on the executive office of the president, outlining the policy priorities the next Republican president should seek to implement earliest in his administration. 

Vought, a leading contender for chief of staff in a second Trump administration, is also a former president of Center for Renewing America, one of the organizations listed on Project 2025’s advisory board.

In addition to Vought, the RNC platform committee includes Tony Perkins. Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, which is also a member of Project 2025’s advisory board. Ed Martin, president of the Eagle Forum, is deputy policy director of the RNC platform committee this year; the Eagle Forum is yet another member of the Project 2025 Advisory Board.

Other platform members are connected with Turning Point USA, another Project 2025 advisory organization. David Barton, a platform delegate from Texas, and Chad Connelly, a platform delegate from South Carolina, have both spoken at events for Turning Point USA, which also paid Kimberly Guilfoyle, another RNC platform committee member, $60,000 for a two-and-half minute speech introducing her fiancé, Donald Trump Jr., at a rally on January 6, 2021. 

Still others involved in drafting the party’s 2024 platform, like Kevin Marino Cabrera, a platform delegate from Florida, have ties to the America First Legal Foundation — the group that has reportedly been “tasked with helping to implement Project 2025.” (Cabrera, a veteran of the Trump 2020 campaign, worked at the group after the former president lost his first bid for re-election in 2020.)

The Project 2025 advisory board includes still more organizations helmed by former high-ranking Trump officials: Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows leads the Conservative Partnership Institute; Trump White House advisor Stephen Miller is the president of America First Legal. 

Top Trump aide Johnny McEntee, who is expected to serve as an enforcer in a potential second Trump administration, is a senior advisor for Project 2025. Troup Hemenway, Project 2025’s associate director, worked in the Trump White House. Roger Severino, who served as a top Trump administration health care official, helped articulate Project 2025’s goals for the Department of Health and Human Services, including its radically right-wing proposals to restrict abortion. 

The section containing policy proposals for the next Department of Justice was drafted by Gene Hamilton, who worked in Trump’s DOJ and Department of Homeland Security. Today, he heads America First Legal with Stephen Miller.

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This is a long way of saying what is plainly obvious: Trump’s insistence that he has “no idea who is behind” Project 2025 is absurd. 

“Project 2025 is the extreme policy and personnel playbook for Trump’s second term that should scare the hell out of the American people,” Ammar Moussa, the rapid response director for President Joe Biden’s campaign, says in a statement. “Project 2025 staff and leadership routinely tout their connections to Trump’s team, and are the same people leading the RNC policy platform and Trump’s debate prep, campaign, and inner circle.

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