Donald Trump Claims Republicans' Project 2025 has Nothing to Do With Him: ‘Abysmal'

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Donald Trump rushed to distance himself from the Republicans’ highly controversial Project 2025 Friday, calling parts of it “ridiculous and abysmal.”

The ex-president used his Truth Social platform to disavow the platform, drawn up by the Heritage Foundation, which offers a 900-page preview of how the most powerful think-tank in the conservative movement wants him to govern. He acted three days after the man who drew it up told Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

Among Project 2025’s most controversial–and potentially electorally costly–plans are restricting access to contraception; using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for heightened “abortion surveillance”; and revoking a Department of Defense policy funding travel for abortion. It calls the line-up of policies “Restoring the Family as the Centerpiece of American Life.”

But Trump posted on his platform, “I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. 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.”

I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal....I have nothing to do with them.

This is how Trump used his social media platform to disavow the 900-page manifesto drawnup for him by the Heritage Foundation, which has extreme anti-abortion measures.

Truth Social/Daily Beast

The move suggests that Trump’s aides are concerned that Democrats have been able to insert Project 2025 into the public mind and associate Trump with its most radical ideas, at a time when the Republican Party should be on the front foot. Trump has had a poll boost from the crisis in Joe Biden’s presidency caused by his stumbling debate performance, but there are concerns in his campaign that a focus on abortion policy would give Democrats a potent weapon.

Democrats pounced on Trump’s statement on Friday, using it as an opportunity to continue to try and tie the two together.

“Donald Trump and Project 2025 are one big MAGA operation, coordinating on an extreme blueprint to rip away freedoms and undermine democracy — and they’ve made it clear themselves,” a DNC spokesperson said, adding: “Trump can’t hide his ties to the dangerous, unhinged MAGA loyalists at Project 2025, and the American people will stop them at the ballot box in November.”

The Heritage Foundation tried to pre-empt any Republican fallout from Trump’s disavowal, saying in a statement on Friday the group doesn’t speak for any presidential candidate.

“We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy & personnel recommendations for the next conservative president,” the group’s Project 2025 X account posted. “But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement.”

Trying to throw Project 2025 overboard matches recent rhetoric from Trump on abortion, where he has attempted to navigate between his base’s fundamentalist anti-abortion position and the reality that there is wide popular support for pro-choice policies. Notably, on Tuesday, the Trump campaign released a version of its plans for the party platform at the Republican National Convention this month without making any mention of abortion. At the same time, Trump has tried to claim that “everybody” wanted Roe v. Wade overturned and abortion policy returned to the states. And his promise of a clear abortion policy has been coming for many months; it was, for example, due “on Monday morning” according to a Sunday April 8 post on Truth Social.

Project 2025 was created by Kevin Roberts, the Heritage Foundation’s president, who was lambasted this week as “a coward” by MSNBC’s Joe Reid for his veiled threat of bloodshed. “He’ll be at a country club somewhere, golfing, while the real violent people, the armed people, the Proud Boys types, do the actual dirty work,” she said on her show, The Reid Out.

President of the Heritage Foundation Kevin Roberts speaks during a press conference

Other aspects of Project 2025 include making it possible for Trump and his aides to fire tens of thousands of government workers by ending their protection from political interference. The idea is based on claims that a “deep state” is trying to prevent Republicans enacting their policies, but it would then allow Trumpworld to stuff their followers into government positions.

Trump’s claim that “I know nothing” of the people drawing up Project 2025 echoes his long history of denying that he knows people with whom an association might be damaging. Among those he has denied knowledge of are white supremacist David Duke; the Proud Boys; never-Trumper George Conway whose wife Kellyanne was his campaign manager; jailed 2016 campaign aide George Papadopoulos, whom he had previously called “excellent”; and most expensively of all, E. Jean Carroll. Despite being adjudicated to have sexually assaulted her by a New York jury, he has continued to claim not to know the former advice columnist, to whom he has been ordered to pay $83.3 million in damages for defaming on top of $5 million for the sexual assault.

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