Haberman: Trump advisers had been concerned Project 2025 would become problem

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New York Times senior political correspondent Maggie Haberman suggested Monday that former President Trump’s aides had long been worried the Heritage Foundation’s “Project 2025” would become a problem for Trump’s campaign.

She noted that Trump’s recent effort to distance himself from the conservative think tank’s lengthy policy platform — with him saying last week he has “nothing to do with them” and doesn’t support many of their priorities — makes that even more difficult.

Haberman said that while it’s true that the Biden campaign mischaracterized the conservative agenda as a Trump-backed initiative, many of those who crafted the platform came from the former president’s administration. Those people, she added, could serve in a second Trump term if he’s reelected in November.

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“So by answering this, by giving this statement, on the one hand, yes, that statement is now going to be reflected on in most stories going forward. It’ll say, ‘Trump says he has nothing to do with this.’ But then everybody’s going to fact-check that statement, and it has just made this into a bigger deal,” Haberman told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Monday.

“This is exactly what Trump’s advisers had been concerned about for some time,” she added. “Is this statement going to make this go away? It doesn’t really seem like it.”

The 900-page 2025 Presidential Transition Project is a “governing agenda” filled with conservative priorities and insight from scholars and policy experts. It is divided into sections based on five main topics — “Taking the Reins of Government,” “The Common Defense,” “The General Welfare,” “The Economy” and “Independent Regulatory Agencies.” 

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The project makes a wide range of policy proposals, perhaps most notably reshaping the powers of the executive branch. It also calls for striking various small government agencies and rolling back funding for abortions and approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. 

Another proposal is reimplementing Schedule F, a classification for federal workers that makes it easier to fire them and replace them with loyalists. The Associated Press has estimated this could affect 50,000 workers. 

Trump initially signed an executive order in October 2020 to institute Schedule F, but President Biden pulled back the order after taking office and approved a new rule to make it more difficult to fire career civil servants. 

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When reached for comment, a Trump spokesperson referred The Hill to a campaign statement from December 2023 that shot down media speculation about staffing for a hypothetical future administration.

“Second term policy priorities and staffing decisions will not — in no uncertain terms — be led by anonymous or thinly sourced speculation in mainstream media news stories,” the campaign said at the time.

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