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Group Defends Project 2025 Guidebook   07/16 06:17


   MILWAUKEE (AP) -- At the edge of the cordoned-off perimeter around the 
Republican National Convention on Monday, hundreds of conservatives filed into 
the ornate home of the Milwaukee Symphony to hear a parade of luminaries talk 
policy and Project 2025.

   Project 2025 is the term for the Heritage Foundation's nearly 1,000-page 
handbook for the next Republican administration, which has become a cudgel 
Democrats are wielding against former President Donald Trump, who on Monday 
officially became the GOP's presidential nominee. That's because the book 
proposes sweeping changes in the federal government, including altering 
personnel rules to ensure government workers are more loyal to the president.

   The Heritage event was called "Policy Fest" and was not technically part of 
Project 2025, but the endeavor constantly came up. Speakers both downplayed it 
and pumped it up. Heritage's President Kevin Roberts called it "unprecedented 
in the history of the conservative movement," but also tried to tone down his 
rhetoric from earlier this month when he promised it would lead to a "second 
American revolution."

   "How many of you are ready to very steadily, calmly and peacefully take our 
country back?" Roberts asked the crowd Monday.

   Tom Homan, who oversaw U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the 
Trump administration, told reporters they shouldn't blow the project out of 
proportion. He said Washington think tanks often prepare plans for new 
administrations -- and indeed, Heritage's project is modeled on prior ones it 
has done stretching back decades.

   "I know the president pretty damn good," said Homan, who contributed to the 
project's immigration proposals. "He's not going to read any plan and say 'OK, 
I'm going to do this.' ... He's going to do what he's going to do."

   Trump has distanced himself from the project, which is run by several top 
appointees from his previous administration. But he's also spoken warmly about 
it, and the connection was further cemented by Trump's selection of Ohio Sen. 
JD Vance as his running mate

   Roberts said he's "good friends" with Vance and that the Heritage Foundation 
had been privately rooting for him to be the VP pick. The Ohio senator, Roberts 
said, recognizes that "we have a limited time to pursue policy."

   Democrats pounced on Vance's past praise for Project 2025.

   "JD Vance embodies MAGA -- with an out-of-touch extreme agenda and plans to 
help Trump force his Project 2025 agenda on the American people," Jaime 
Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement 
referring to Trump's Make America Great Again movement.

   Vivek Ramaswamy, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and former GOP primary 
contender who has since become a Trump surrogate, said on the stage that 
conservatives aren't entirely on the same page about what should happen in a 
second Trump term.

   "Do we want to replace the left-wing nanny state with a conservative nanny 
state?" he asked. "Or do we want to dismantle the nanny state?"

   Some of the project's recommendations, including entitlement cuts or further 
taxes on tips, conflict with some of what Trump has pledged on the campaign 
trail. Trump's campaign has stressed that he will make decisions on what he 
does if he returns to office.

   Roberts said that doesn't bother him: "It is impossible for every individual 
conservative to agree with everything in the document," he said.

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