Trump Team Lies About Project 2025 Reveal its Potential to Cost Him the Election

Former President Donald Trump at FRC's 2023 Pray Vote Stand conference.

Commentary

Former President Donald Trump told one of his least convincing lies last week, posting on his Truth Social platform that he “has nothing to do” with Project 2025, the devastating plan by former Trump administration officials and MAGA movement allies to “take the reins of government” if he wins in November. “I have no idea who is behind it,” Trump claimed.

Reporters and commentators were quick to call out Trump’s ridiculous claim. Rolling Stone noted, “Meanwhile, over at the Republican National Committee, at least seven of the individuals tasked with overhauling the party’s platform in anticipation of Trump’s second term in office have connections to Project 2025 — starting with Russell Vought, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget during Trump’s administration.”

Robert Reich took on Trump’s lie in his substack newsletter Saturday, pointing out the central role played by former Trump administration officials and noting, “The Trump campaign platform is basically Project 2025. Trump’s Make America Great Again PAC is running ads calling it ‘Trump’s Project 2025. The Make America Great Again PAC also created the website TrumpProject2025.com.”

President Joe Biden’s campaign also weighed in on Trump’s claim, noting in a statement Saturday that Project 2025 “was written for him, by those closest to him.”

Trump’s literally unbelievable claim was repeated by campaign surrogates J.D. Vance and Marco Rubio on Sunday talk shows, suggesting that the attempt to distance Trump from Project 2025 is a strategic decision by his campaign, one driven by extensive news coverage of Project 2025’s far-reaching and devastatingly harmful agenda. Former Trump aide Stephen Miller claimed that he has “never been involved” in Project 2025 even though the organization he runs—America First Legal—is on the project’s advisory board.

Columnist Will Bunch wrote on Sunday, “Republicans are in a state of panic now that voters are paying attention to Project 2025, their plan for dictatorship.” In the two years since Right Wing Watch reported on the Heritage Foundation’s launch of Project 2025, and with greater intensity in recent months, national news outlets and advocacy organizations have been digging into the agenda for simultaneously giving the president virtually dictatorial power over the federal government while gutting federal agencies’ ability to protect Americans’ safety, health, environment, and fundamental rights.

Bunch credits actress Taraji P. Henson’s warning about Project 2025 at this year’s BET awards—and her challenge “Look it up!”—for initiating a “major vibe shift.” Notes Bunch,

An electorate that largely rolled its eyes when Biden or other Democrats told them that “democracy is on the ballot” in November suddenly has an ominous, TikTok-friendly two-word catch phrase for the very real and growing fears that a cult-like GOP, aided by the corrupt Supreme Court it imposed on America, has a scheme for dictatorship. Indeed, “Project 2025″ sounds a lot like the kind of conspiracy theory about a run-amok government that goes viral in the Age of Disinformation — except it’s not a conspiracy. It’s real — and set in type for anyone to read.

In a conversation on Political Research Associates’ “Inform Your Resistance” podcast, I suggested that Project 2025 has actually done a bit of a public service by making it clear just how serious the threat is. By making the unpopular right-wing agenda so explicit, Project 2025 organizers have given those of us who disagree with that agenda an opportunity to remind Americans how much of the progress made over the past century could be reversed if the far right takes power.

 

Every day, Right Wing Watch exposes extremism to help the public, activists, and journalists understand the strategies and tactics of anti-democratic forces—and respond to an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian far-right movement. The threat is growing, but our resources are not. Any size contribution will help us continue our work and become more effective at disrupting the ideologies, people, and organizations that threaten our freedom and democracy. Please make an investment in Right Wing Watch’s defense of the values we share.