Politics

Conservative Leaders Reveal Plan To Get Personnel In Order After Trump Administration Chaos

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Conservative leaders have an ambitious plan for training thousands of personnel to staff the next Republican presidential administration.

Project 2025, spearheaded by The Heritage Foundation, is an ongoing initiative run by former Trump officials attempting to train conservatives to govern effectively during future Republican presidential administrations. (RELATED: Conservative Groups Are Building An Army Of Personnel To Take Over The Government)

Paul Dans, director of Project 2025 and former chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under President Donald Trump, said the initiative will develop an “entire cadre of special operators” to function in an administration.

Project 2025 expects to have 10,000 people in a “conservative LinkedIn” designed to be a “center portal for any conservative staff in the government,” Dans said. The database would exist to prevent the staffing problems and personnel turnover that plagued the Trump administration. Numerous high profile Trump employees have become staunch critics of the former President, fueling the perception from his strongest supporters that Trump was undermined from within by misguided hires. 

It will debut in March, following the launch of Project 2025’s Presidential Administration Academy on Feb.1. The academy will host 40 classes for potential personnel ranging from the federal budget process to working with career staff.

“Our Presidential Administration Academy is about equipping future political appointees, including those who have served before, to understand the rules of the road and the strategy for working effectively from within the government—so they are not learning on the job but are ready to advance the president’s agenda on Day One,” Dans said in a press release announcing the academy.

Conservatives have to get on the job much earlier. This is the first of its kind ever to design a systematized, organized approach,” Dans told the Daily Caller. He is leading Project 2025 alongside associate director Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to the president and associate director of Presidential Personnel in the Trump administration. 

Project 2025 brings together a large coalition of conservative groups with the common goal of being better prepared for the next GOP president. “What’s at stake in 2024 is bigger than any of us,” Dans said. “We have to pull together as a movement.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Leadership has provided a policy framework for GOP administrations dating back to President Ronald Reagan. The Mandate for Leadership outlines an action plan for an incoming Republican administration to pursue and famously provided thousands of suggestions for the Reagan administration in 1981. Nearly two thirds of Heritage’s 2016 mandate was adopted by the Trump administration, the think tank says.   

Project 2025’s goal is to expand Heritage’s mandate to include more of the conservative movement, an umbrella term for the network of conservative policy organizations, publications, campaign arms, interest groups, donor networks, educational institutions and elected officials working in Republican politics. (RELATED: Here’s The One Strategy That Guarantees Trump Is Going To Win In 2024)

Dans and Chretien will be publishing a policy book in April with contributions from 350 conservative thinkers. It will focus on “core things we are all united on” and provide a “menu of options” for issues where conservatives are divided, according to Dans. They did not specify what the policy options would be on issues such as trade and foreign policy. 

Conservatives are united in fighting the “political control of bureaucracy and reigning in the administrative state” because they “recognize that the policy in our democracy is set at the voting booth and that is what needs to be implemented,” Dans said. 

Chuck DeVore, Chief National Initiatives Officer at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and contributor to Project 2025, supports Dans and Chretien’s policy approach. He believes conservatives can unite around “the view that China has become such a grave and existential threat that we need to shift limited resources into deterring China.”

He also sees education and policing as issues uniting conservatives. “The states under a federal model should have actually more policy strength than the federal government with regards to education and policing,” DeVore said. 

Generating various policy options is necessary for the conservative movement when tensions between presidential candidates are lower, according to DeVore. “The thought being that you want to have the range of views available because we are not the ones picking the nominee,” he said. 

Personnel options will not be limited to political appointees and the database will range from recent college graduates to those coming out of retirement to serve. DeVore described it as a “modern personnel database tool to be able to help a newly elected president whose got his transition team and to provide them with thousands of people who have been somewhat vetted through the political realm.” 

Project 2025 will bring together conservatives across the country to ensure those outside of Washington D.C. are properly represented, an important part of Project 2025 to Jeremy Carl, a contributor to the project and a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute.

Conservatives outside of D.C. are “so much closer to certain types of problems,” Carl told the Daily Caller. He emphasized the need for “an outside the beltway perspective of a bunch of people who have chosen not to orient their lives around politics.”

Carl is based in Montana and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior under President Trump. He sees the training sessions as “‘particularly valuable for folks coming from outside the beltway,” citing his own experience with learning on the fly during an administration.  

He pointed to the 2016 Washington D.C. Republican primary, where then-candidate Trump finished third, as a demonstration of why any future GOP administration must incorporate conservatives outside of Washington.

Likewise, DeVore cautioned against relying solely on “various D.C.-based institutions that purport to be national institutions,” staffed by individuals from the “Acela corridor” between New York City and Washington, including Heritage.  

Carl was also impressed by Project 2025’s ambition, saying he was “shocked by how big they were thinking” and “not aware of something being done independently on this scale.”

His comments were echoed by Russ Vought, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump and President of the Center for Renewing America, who is contributing to the project.

“Expertise is priceless,” Vought said. Appointees have to “know how to seize control of an agency” in order to conduct “day one operating on behalf of the president,” he believes.

“Heritage’s team has done a fantastic job,” he continued. Vought praised Project 2025 for being “reflective of the movement” and hearing out different sides of conservative policy debates.

Trump has already begun campaigning for the 2024 Republican nomination against former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Trump’s most prominent rival, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is expected to announce his presidential campaign in the coming months.