Trump Denies Involvement with “Project 2025” Despite Far-Right Agenda Ties “Some of the Things They’re Saying Are Absolutely Ridiculous”

 Trump Denies Involvement with “Project 2025” Despite Far-Right Agenda Ties “Some of the Things They’re Saying Are Absolutely Ridiculous”


One of the most ominous elements of former President Donald Trump’s potential second-term agenda is a massive playbook dubbed “Project 2025.” A leading scholar of far-right regimes suggests that Trump’s recent attempts to distance himself from it are a classic move of his authoritarian cult-of-personality leadership style.

Last week, Kevin Roberts, president of the far-right Heritage Foundation— the key organization behind Project 2025—hinted at political violence against anyone who might dissent against a second Trump administration. During a radio interview, Roberts proclaimed that the United States was in the midst of a “second American Revolution” that he promised would be “bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

Trump, on his Truth Social platform, posted that he had “nothing to do with” Project 2025 and had “no idea who is behind it,” even though he “wish[ed] them luck.” He added, “I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal,” without specifying which parts he found objectionable.

Project 2025’s 920-page playbook, “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” features contributions from several former Trump administration officials and advisors. The section on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Border Patrol was chiefly authored by former senior DHS official Ken Cuccinelli, who a federal judge found was illegally appointed to his position. Trump immigration advisor Stephen Miller is also a key architect of Project 2025, according to Axios.

The section on “The Executive Office of the President of the United States” was authored by Russ Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget in Trump’s White House. Vought, who heads the Center for Renewing America, one of Project 2025’s main partner organizations, is rumored to be a top contender for White House chief of staff should Trump win the November election.

As Slate contributors Norman Eisen and Joshua Kolb reported, Trump has a long record of making far-right, authoritarian promises about how he would wield power in a second term, documented by NYU’s Just Security publication’s “Autocracy tracker.” Democracy scholar Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a contributor to the tracker, wrote that Trump’s attempt to distance himself from Project 2025 is “one of the oldest dictator tricks,” noting that “gaslighting” is a common tactic among authoritarian leaders.

“Dictators sometimes pretend not to know what is happening so they can blame their officials for the destruction and keep their personality cults in good shape,” she wrote. Project 2025’s playbook includes controversial proposals such as a total ban on all abortions without exceptions for rape or incest, ending marriage equality, radically expanding oil drilling in federally protected lands, banning books and curriculum about slavery, ending free and reduced school lunch programs, defunding the FBI, and packing the federal judiciary with far-right judges, among others.

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