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What is Project 2025? Inside the far-right’s plans for 2nd Trump presidency – National


A far-right policy agenda known as Project 2025 has increasingly become a talking point on the U.S. campaign trail as the contest between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump heats up.

Biden and the Democratic Party have been seeking to tie Trump to the controversial initiative and convince voters that its extreme conservative policies would be representative of a second Trump term. For his part, Trump says he has nothing to do with Project 2025 and believes “some of the things that they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous.”

Project 2025 comes in the form of a 900-plus-page book of policy recommendations, a blueprint for the “next conservative President.” Notably, it advocates the dismantling of the Department of Education, bringing the Department of Justice (DOJ) under presidential control, criminalizing abortion drugs and abolishing the Federal Reserve, among many other suggestions.

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To help achieve this dramatic reshaping of the U.S. government, the project recommends that thousands of federal workers be fired and conservative appointees take their place. The initiative has gone so far as to release an online questionnaire, vetting individuals for a “Presidential Personnel Database” that the next President can use to staff the federal bureaucracy.

“Our goal is to assemble an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State,” the project proclaims on its website.


James Bacon, center, talks to fairgoers at the Project 2025 tent at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. Organizers signed up hundreds of people, to build out a database of potential federal employees, inviting them to be trained in government operations.


AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Experts are alarmed that if these proposals were set in motion it would degrade America’s system of checks and balances and push the country towards authoritarianism. Many of the proposals would trigger immediate legal and constitutional challenges.

Who’s behind Project 2025?

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, published the sprawling manifesto in April 2023.

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The project claims to not speak for any presidential candidate, though it believes Trump will win and he can “decide which recommendations to implement.”

Despite Trump saying he has “no idea who is behind” Project 2025, journalist Judd Legum was first to report that 31 out of the 38 people who helped write and edit the book served in Trump’s administration or were nominated to positions in it.

This is also not the first time the Heritage Foundation has created a presidential “transition project.” The first such project was published in 1981 ahead of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

“By the end of that year, more than 60 percent of its recommendations had become policy,” reads the forward of Project 2025.

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Policy agenda

Department of Education

“Federal education policy should be limited and, ultimately, the federal Department of Education should be eliminated,” Project 2025 reads. Oversight of education should instead fall to the states and federal funding for education should be handed out to states “as grants over which they have full control.”

The project also proposes gutting Title IX regulations, which prohibit sex-based discrimination in schools, as well as discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The proposal suggests overturning some of these protections, and restoring regulations enacted by Trump’s former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, which defined “sex” under Title IX to mean “only biological sex recognized at birth.”

Department of Homeland Security


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“Our primary recommendation is that the President pursue legislation to dismantle the Department of Homeland Security,” Project 2025 recommends. Instead, the department should be broken up and absorbed by other agencies, they attest.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be combined with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be absorbed by the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Coast Guard would fall under the purview of the DOJ or Department of Defence.

Notably, the proposals call for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to be privatized.

Department of Justice

The DOJ enjoys a high degree of independence for the purpose of administering justice, but Project 2025 would see the President control the agency. DOJ decisions should “always be consistent with the President’s policy agenda and the rule of law,” the book reads.

Project 2025 contends that the DOJ has become a “bloated bureaucracy with a critical core of personnel who are infatuated with the perpetuation of a radical liberal agenda and the defeat of perceived political enemies.”

Colin Seeberger, a senior adviser at liberal think tank Center for American Progress, pushed back on that notion.

“To suggest that the Biden White House is controlling the Department of Justice would be news to Hunter Biden,” he told Global News. Hunter Biden was found guilty last month of lying about his drug use to illegally buy a gun.

Trump, who has been indicted on dozens of criminal charges by the Justice Department, has vowed on the campaign trail to overhaul the agency if he wins the presidential election and pledged to use it to pursue his own opponents, including President Biden, raising fears that Trump would radically reshape the DOJ.

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In addition to bringing the DOJ under direct presidential control, Project 2025 plans to also constrain the FBI, and prohibit it from “combating the spread of so-called misinformation and disinformation.”

The plan also views diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as “unlawful discrimination” and recommends that the DOJ “prosecute all state and local governments, institutions of higher education, corporations, and any other private employers” who support affirmative action.

Energy and the environment

Project 2025 advocates downsizing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and dismantling the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which it calls “one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry.”

In its view, the dangers of climate change have been artificially inflated as a means to “scare the American public,” despite the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is already wreaking havoc on the environment, endangering peoples’ lives and costing billions of dollars in damage to private property.

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Project 2025 proposes abandoning strategies to mitigate greenhouse gases, relaxing regulations on the use of fossil fuels, and aggressively building oil, gas and coal stocks by expanding mining in the Arctic.

In general, it calls for America to end its “war on oil and natural gas” and do away with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies. On top of this, Project 2025 calls for America to increase its stock of nuclear warheads and “fund the design, development, and deployment” of new nuclear weapons to protect its strategic interests.

The Federal Reserve

Project 2025 advocates for abolishing the Federal Reserve and bringing in a system of free banking, which would mean that interest rates and the supply of money would no longer be controlled by the U.S. central bank.

The authors of Project 2025, recognizing how radical abolishing the Federal Reserve would be, include a number of policy recommendations for a conservative President who doesn’t want to go that far. This includes bringing back commodity-backed money by tying the U.S. dollar to the price of gold.

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It also proposes simplifying the income tax system to only two tiers — 15 per cent and 30 per cent — and dramatically lowering corporate taxes and taxes on capital gains.

The State Department and foreign policy

Project 2025 contends that the U.S. State Department, which enacts foreign policy, is largely “left-wing and predisposed to disagree with a conservative President’s policy agenda and vision,” as such, it recommends that a conservative President flood the department with loyalists.

“The next Administration should assert leadership over and guidance of the State Department by placing political appointees in positions that do not require Senate confirmation, including senior advisors,” the book reads.

As part of this movement, all U.S. ambassadors around the globe would be “required to submit letters of resignation at the start of a new Administration.”

On top of this, the proposals call for the gutting of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and giving the President broad control to direct U.S. international aid.

Health and abortion

Project 2025 calls for the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its approval of abortion drug mifepristone and for the Justice Department to enforce the 1873 Comstock Act against organizations that distribute abortion pills via mail.

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It would also deny federal healthcare providers from practicing gender-affirming care for transgender people and eliminate insurance coverage for the morning-after pill, arguing that it is an abortion drug.

While the book never explicitly says that abortion should be criminalized as a whole, the project contends that life begins at conception and its policies would make an abortion virtually inaccessible for many.

The guide also recommends that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department should “maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family.”

Expansion of presidential powers

To justify these radical policy goals, Project 2025 contends that executive power in the U.S. is vested solely in the President. Scholars refer to this as unitary executive theory and the philosophy is based on a maximally broad reading of Article Two in the U.S. Constitution.

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“In its opening words, Article II of the U.S. Constitution makes it abundantly clear that ‘[t]he executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.’ That enormous power is not vested in departments or agencies, in state or administrative bodies, in nongovernmental organizations or other equities and interests close to the government. The President must set and enforce a plan for the executive branch,” the book reads.

This reading of Article Two would give the President — a single person — sweeping powers over the U.S. government.

Project 2025 is really an authoritarian playbook that seeks to basically do away with the 250-year-old system of checks and balances that American democracy was built on,” says think tank advisor Seeberger.  “American democracy is not guaranteed. Democracies all over this world have fallen before, and they have backslid into authoritarianism. And that is exactly what Project 2025 proposes.”

To assist the President in executing their singular vision, Project 2025 calls for the return of the Schedule F employment classification for federal workers, a Trump-era executive order that would reclassify tens of thousands of civil servants as political appointees who can be easily fired and replaced.

As it now stands, just 4,000 members of the federal workforce are considered political appointees who typically change with each administration. But reinstating Schedule F could mean an increase to 50,000.

Biden rescinded Schedule F upon taking office, but Trump and Project 2025 vow to reinstate it. The measure is widely criticized as a means to retaliate against civil servants and flood the federal bureaucracy with individuals willing to bend the rules in pursuit of political aims.

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“It would really reorient the government to serve the president’s interest, not the public interest,” Seeberger says.

The Heritage Foundation has developed a database of prospective civil servants who would be ready to fill Schedule F vacancies on the first day of the new administration. They appeared at the Iowa State Fair in 2023 and signed up hundreds of people, inviting them to be trained in government operations.

Democrats have been sounding the alarm about Project 2025 but it remains to be seen if Trump would enact these recommendations if he wins the U.S. presidential election on November 5. Some of these proposals, but not all, are in line with promises Trump has made on the campaign trail.

“Unless a message is coming directly from President Trump or an authorized member of his campaign team, no aspect of future presidential staffing or policy announcements should be deemed official,” his team has repeatedly stated.

— With files from The Associated Press and Reuters





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