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The Trump H.R. Shadow Battle

The two groups wants to forge a ready-on-day-one army of trained political appointees and a clearly-defined ideological action plan.
The two groups wants to forge a ready-on-day-one army of trained political appointees and a clearly-defined ideological action plan. Photo: Mary Altaffer/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
October 18, 2023

While the Republican establishment ostensibly wrestles over the obvious headaches of the day—defeating Biden in ’24, say, or praying that some House speaker candidate reaches 217 votes without totally humiliating the party—another political operation is taking place just out of sight. Or rather, two of them. 

Project 2025, a semi-secretive undertaking of the Heritage Foundation, and the America First Policy Institute, a collection of Trump administration all-stars and hangers-on, are already blueprinting and fantasy-drafting the future right-wing administration of their dreams. Whereas Heritage had started laying out the groundwork for Project 2025 two years ago to staff a “turnkey” operation for whichever Republican won the nomination—notably, they announced the Project’s existence at an event headlined by Ron DeSantis—AFPI was specifically built as a sinecure for Trump loyalists. “It’s basically the Trump administration in exile,” a conservative insider told me