A Guide to Project 2025, the Right’s Terrifying Plan to Remake America

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Donald Trump has plenty of plans for his second term, even if he’s publicly pretending he doesn’t know anything about them. 

In early July, the former president sought to distance himself from Project 2025, claiming he knows “nothing” about the Heritage Foundation’s “Mandate for Leadership,” conservatives’ 887-page policy agenda for the next Republican president. The plan offers a terrifying vision for America, one that the Heritage Foundation is dead set on implementing. “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be,” the group’s president, Kevin Roberts, said in early July after the Supreme Court ruled that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution.

Trump’s attempt to distance himself from the project isn’t very convincing. Rolling Stone identified at least seven members of the Republican National Committee charged with developing the GOP’s platform in preparation for a second Trump term who have ties to the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025. Close advisers and former cabinet officials who served the former president, including adviser Stephen Miller, former White House Director of Personnel John McEntee, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson have been linked to the project.

Trump and his allies are very much aware of Project 2025, and are primed to put the plan into action the day after Trump is sworn in for a second term. Here’s everything you need to know about Project 2025, and what it could mean for the future of life in the United States. 

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What is Project 2025? 

Project 2025 is shorthand for the Heritage Foundation’s “2025 Presidential Transition Project.”

The plan is described by the right-wing think tank as “the conservative movement’s unified effort to be ready for the next conservative administration to govern at 12:00 noon, January 20, 2025.” 

“It is not enough for conservatives to win elections,” the group writes on its website. “If we are going to rescue the country from the grip of the radical Left, we need both a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on day one of the next conservative administration. The project will build on four pillars that will, collectively, pave the way for an effective conservative administration: a policy agenda, personnel, training, and a 180-day playbook.” 

Essentially, the Presidential Transition Project is a guide and handbook for a potential second Trump administration on how to achieve a laundry list of conservative goals and reshape the government and American institutions in their image. Trump was very amenable to the Heritage Project’s aims during his first term in office, and there’s plenty of reason to believe he’d embrace their plan if he were to win another term.

What’s in Project 2025?

The nearly 900 pages that comprise Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership tackle everything from abortion and immigration to the future of federal agencies and civil rights laws. 

Critical to Project 2025’s implementation is the notion that “personnel is policy.” The creators of the project have touted work on a database of hyper-conservative Trump loyalists that would “collect résumés and vet thousands of potential applicants in advance of Jan. 20, 2025, when the next president takes office.” This of course would require the forced ouster of thousands of current government employees. 

These appointees and staffers would be tasked with implementing the project’s wider agenda, which includes proposals that would overhaul America’s approach to several key issues, including:

Abortion: Project 2025 calls for using every governmental lever possible to torch access to abortion and restrict reproductive health care. The plan would rescind the FDA’s approval for commonly used abortion medication like mifepristone, or otherwise restrict its use; limit access to emergency contraceptive options such as the morning-after pills and IUDs; and dissolve the Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force established by the Biden administration and replacing it with government-wide directives promoting anti-choice policies. 

Roger Severino, who served as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights under Trump, wrote in the chapter on the HHS that “the FDA is ethically and legally obliged to revisit and withdraw its initial approval” of mifepristone and that abortion pills are “the single greatest threat to unborn children.” The plan would also utilize federal government agencies for the purpose of “abortion surveillance.”

Climate: Project 2025 calls for rolling back emissions regulations and reversing all of the Biden administration’s progress in fighting the climate crisis. The plan would dismantle the Inflation Reduction Act, increase fossil-fuel extraction on public lands, eliminate clean-energy programs, gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and enact other measures that would supercharge America’s drive toward climate disaster. The plan says explicitly that the United States has an “obligation to develop vast oil and gas and coal resources,” and calls for ending “the focus on the climate crisis and green subsidies.” 

Immigration: Project 2025 also serves as a blueprint for cracking down on immigration. It calls for eliminating visas that grant legal status to immigrant victims of crime and human trafficking; the mass arrest and deportation of undocumented migrants; restricting eligibility for asylum claims and implementing fees for the application process; and finishing the border wall. The plan also suggests “a creative and aggressive approach” to taking on drug cartels. Rolling Stone reported earlier this year that Trump has proposed sending kill teams into Mexico to take out cartel leaders — regardless of whether the Mexican government is on board with the plan.

And those are just the toplines — virtually every aspect of the current functions of the federal government are covered by the policy package. Project 2025 would also codify policies advancing legal, social, and medical discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans; slash corporate tax rates and significantly reduce the budget of the Internal Revenue Service; and fulfill plenty of other right-wing fantasies.

Critically, many of the powers currently distributed among government agencies would be placed under more direct control by the president. The Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security would be abolished, and the Justice Department would become a vehicle for retribution. The restructuring would advance a conservative ideology known as “unitary executive theory,” a legal theory holding that the American president has direct control over all policy made by agencies under the umbrella of the executive branch, and that significantly weakens other government branches’ abilities to check the powers of the presidency. 

Who is involved in Project 2025? 

While the project is being coordinated by The Heritage Foundation, they are seeking counsel from a lot of former Trump administration officials. 

The table of contents and introduction of Project 2025’s primary document features plenty of prominent names from Trump’s orbit, including former Trump Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and former White House aide Peter Navarro. 

On their website, Project 2025 lists over 100 partner organizations operating as members of the project’s advisory board. These include prominent pro-Trump groups like America First Legal, Moms for Liberty, the National Rifle Association, Turning Point USA, and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. 

Critical among these figures is Russell Vought, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump, who now serves as the Republican National Committee’s 2024 platform policy director and also authored Project 2025’s chapter on the executive office of the president. 

Vought is a leading candidate to take up a position as White House Chief of Staff should Trump triumph in November. Project 2025 senior adviser John McEntee — Trump’s former head of the White House personnel office, now a viral right-wing TikTok bro — is also a top candidate to join the administration, likely in an enforcer role.

What else has Trump said about Project 2025? 

Trump tried to distance himself from Project 2025 shortly after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in July that America is “in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

“I know nothing about Project 2025,” he wrote on Truth Social. “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.”

His claim to “know nothing” about the project is dubious — to say the least.

Trump’s followers in Congress also brushed off Project 2025 following Roberts’ comments. “Think tanks do think tank stuff. They come up with ideas. They say things,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told CBS News, adding that Roberts “is not running for president.”

What are Biden and Democrats saying about Project 2025?

Biden’s campaign and Democrats in Congress have sounded the alarm about Project 2025 since the debate. “He’s trying to hide his connections to his allies’ extreme Project 2025 agenda,” Biden said in a statement released following Trump’s denial that he knew about the project. “The only problem? It was written for him, by those closest to him. Project 2025 should scare every single American.”

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Biden’s campaign has been posting about it on social media, as well, including in a lengthy X thread highlighting the Trump-connected Republicans who have helped author the proposal.

Biden did not, however, mention Project 2025 and what it would mean for the United States during the debate, when he had the attention of tens of millions of voters.

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