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Trump Trying To Distance From Project 2025

"Trump is now desperately trying to run from his deep ties to Project 2025... MAGA extremists' radical wish list for a second Trump term," President Joe Biden's campaign said.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Las Vegas on January 27, 2024.,David Becker/Getty Images

Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday attempted to distance himself from a conservative coalition's agenda for a far-right takeover of the federal government, prompting derision from observers who underscored close ties between the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee and the blueprint's authors.

Trump took to his Truth social media platform to claim the knows "nothing about Project 2025," a sweeping initiative spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation to boost the power of the presidency and purge career federal civil servants, who would be replaced with Trump loyalists.

"I have no idea who is behind it," Trump added, a claim that numerous observers quickly countered.

In an email entitled, "Donald Trump & Project 2025: One and the Same," Democratic President Joe Biden's reelection campaign said that "Trump is now desperately trying to run from his deep ties to Project 2025—the Heritage Foundation's 900-page deeply unpopular manifesto drafted by former Trump officials that offers Americans a preview of MAGA extremists' radical wish list for a second Trump term."

"Project 2025 is the extreme policy and personnel playbook for Trump's second term that should scare the hell out of the American people," Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement. "Project 2025 staff and leadership routinely tout their connections to Trump's team, and are the same people leading the [Republican National Committee policy platform, Trump's debate prep, campaign, and inner circle."

"Trump's Supreme Court and Project 2025 have designed the playbook for Trump to achieve his dream of being a dictator on day one, with unchecked, imperial power," Moussa added. "Allowing a self-absorbed convicted felon that kind of power would be devastating for our democracy and middle-class families. This November, voters must stop Trump from turning the Oval Office into his throne room."

As CNNdetailed Friday:

Paul Dans, the head of Project 2025, was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management during the Trump administration, and the group's roadmap for the next administration includes contributions from others who have worked for the former president, including his former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, former acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, and former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn. John McEntee, Trump's former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office and one of his closest aides while in office, is also a senior adviser for the project.

Mother Jones Washington, D.C. bureau chief David Corn said: "This is B.S. Christian nationalist Russell Vought, who is one of the Trump allies in charge of the GOP platform effort, is a coordinator of Project 2025. Trump is gaslighting once again."

Others noted that Trump's own Make America Great Again, Inc. super PAC is running ads highlighting Project 2025.

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Critics have called Project 2025 a "blueprint for autocracy"—an assessment bolstered by last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling bestowing the president with what experts described as king-like powers, which Trump's advisers have reportedly vowed to exploit if he wins November's election.

The Associated Pressreported last month that a right-wing group allied with the presumptive GOP nominee was drafting a list of federal employees who are disloyal or insufficiently dutiful to Trump, an undertaking compared with the McCarthyite anti-communist crusade during the second Red Scare in the 1950s.

Kevin Roberts, who heads the Heritage Foundation, raised eyebrows earlier this week after he said that the coming right-wing "revolution" will "remain bloodless if the left allows it to be," which some observers took as a thinly veiled threat of violence.

In his Friday Truth post, Trump said that he disagrees with some of Project 2025's agenda and that "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," he reiterated.

Journalist Mehdi Hasan responded to Trump's claim in a social media post saying, "What's revealing about Donald Trump loudly disavowing Project 2025 and falsely denying any knowledge of it is that clearly he knows how damaging it can be to his election bid."

"So why on earth did neither Biden nor the CNN moderators bring it up at the debate last week?" he asked.

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