Project 2025 explained: Inside Trump campaign’s transition plan for the next Republican admin

Project 2025 explained: Inside Trump campaign’s transition plan for the next Republican admin
Project 2025 is aimed at preparing an easy presidential transition if Donald Trump wins in November (Getty Images)

Project 2025: A look at the Republican agenda for a potential Trump second-term

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Republicans prepared a mandate to institutionalize Trumpism if Donald Trump wins in November (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Republicans introduced the Project 2025 plan that could dramatically reshape the American balance of power if former president Donald Trump retakes the White House in November. Conservative American think tank the Heritage Foundation and 50 conservative organizations launched this project in April 2022 to pave the way for the next conservative president. Project 2025's flagship publication, the 900-plus page long Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, highlighted what a second Trump administration would be like. The ultimate aim is "institutionalizing Trumpism" in the creation of a "government-in-waiting" for a likely upcoming GOP administration. Take a look at what Project 2025 is and what it aims to do.

1. What is Project 2025?

WASHINGTON - MAY 31: The exterior view of the south side of the White House is seen May 31, 2005 in Washington, DC. Vanity Fair Magazine reported that former FBI official W. Mark Felt claimed himself was ?Deep Throat,? the anonymous source who provided information to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward?s famous Watergate investigation report that led to the former President Richard Nixon's resignation. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Project 2025 is a mandate for the next Republican occupant of the White House (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Project 2025 is a $22 million presidential transition agenda aimed to help the conservative administration create policies, personnel lists, and transition plans that could act as a blueprint for Trump to kickstart his second term if he wins in November. The major aim is to address the 45th president's failures the first time when his team was ill-prepared to bend the typical protocols of Washington. Project 2025 is similar to the Heritage Foundation's playbook for former President Ronald Reagan when he took office five decades ago. It played an influential role in shaping Reagan's domestic and foreign policy.

2. Legality of Project 2025

WASHINGTON - JUNE 5: The U.S. Capitol is shown June 5, 2003 in Washington, DC. Both houses of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives meet in the Capitol. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
Critics of the unitary executive theory argue Project 2025 could lead to autocracy (Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)

Project 2025 is considered a product of the president's executive power, making it legal despite the criticisms. Usually, incoming presidents depend on Congress to formulate policies. Therefore, critics of the unitary executive theory (that suggests Congress's lack of power to limit the president's executive branch control) argue Project 2025 could lead to autocracy. "Project 2025 is the brainchild of American extremists who want to convert the nation from a democracy to an autocracy," said Mary Guy, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Public Affairs. 

3. The four-pillar vision
'Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise' is the first pillar of Project 2025 (

According to the Project 2025 website, the program's four pillars are the policy agenda, personnel database, training, and 180-day playbook. The first pillar is the 'Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise', which is a manifesto for the upcoming Republican president. The second pillar is a recruitment program, a type of conservative LinkedIn, to create a database for the loyal ones wishing to serve in the administration. Pillar three, the "Presidential Administration Academy," will train both the new recruits and existing officials to help them effectively execute the president's agenda. Pillar four is a "Playbook" that includes draft executive orders and specific transition plans for the first 180 days of the new administration.

4. Addressing Donald Trump's failures

BETHESDA, MD - OCTOBER 04: In this handout provided by The White House, President Donald Trump parti
Project 2025 aims to remedy Donald Trump's pitfalls during his first presidential term (Getty Images)

Project 2025 is indirectly a plan to address Trump's failures during his first administration, which apparently stemmed from the behavior of not reading his briefs while in office. According to the Mandate, "one set of eyes reading these passages will be those of the 47th President of the United States." The project aims to reorganize the "blob" of powerful people and replace the bureaucracy that undermined the 45th president's administration. It also welcomes the conservatives to make "an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State."

5. Reversal of Joe Biden's climate and environment agenda

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the annual U.S.-ASEAN
Project 2025's recommendation includes the reversal of President Joe Biden's environmental policies (Getty Images)

Project 2025 overshadowed Trump's vow to close the border and deport the illegal migrants entering the US. Instead, it focuses on climate and the environment, paving the way to reverse President Joe Biden's policies. Project 2025 recommended an immediate rollback on the incumbent's "radical climate agenda" and "war on fossil fuels" and reinstating the Trump-era policies. Repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, eliminating the Clean Energy Corps, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations in the Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are other recommendations put forth by the project. In addition, it also suggested the reopening of the Trump era's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the development of oil fields.

6. Restoration of America's global primacy

BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 9: U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping arrive at
If Donald Trump wins, defeating the threat of China led by Xi Jinping would be a primary aim (Getty Images)

Bringing back the United States' authority as a global power is another aim of Project 2025. Section 2 of the Mandate suggested placing the Departments of Defense and State as "first among equals"  along with the executive branch and focusing on international relations. According to Project 2025, the success of the next conservative administration "will be determined in part by whether [Defence and State] can be significantly improved in short order." Though it heavily concentrates on China, the Mandate says, "The next conservative President has the opportunity to restructure the making and execution of US defense and foreign policy and reset the nation's role in the world." In terms of defense, this reset means "defeating the threat of the Chinese Communist Party" is the top priority, followed by building the wall on the Southern border. In addition, expanding the role of the Pentagon and defense personnel along with reduced forces in Europe would give the country an "Army force structure by 50,000 to handle two major regional contingencies simultaneously."

7. Nuclear arsenal development

EVERGLADES CITY, FL - APRIL 08: A rocket is seen painted on the wall of a building that was used to support the launching of conventional and nuclear tipped Nike missiles in reaction to any Russian attack in the Everglades National Park on April 8, 2010 near Everglades City, Florida. As U.S. President Barack Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia sign their nuclear arms control treaty today, relics like this former missile site are a reminder of how far the relationship between the United States and Russia has come. The missile base was built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1963 at the height of the Cold War and was finally closed in 1979. Former workers whom the park service has interviewed say the site contained nuclear tip warheads that were ready to be fired if needed. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Project 2025 contains suggestions to expand the United States' nuclear weapon power (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Project 2025 heavily favored Trump's love for nuclear weapons. It claimed the Department of Energy should focus on "developing new nuclear weapons and naval nuclear reactors," and the US should "expand" its nuclear weapons to "deter Russia and China simultaneously." It further recommended that the next conservative administration "end ineffective and counterproductive nonproliferation activities like those involving Iran and the United Nations." All these favor Trump, who had repeatedly bragged about the possibility of using nuclear arsenals during his Oval Office tenure.

8. Radical shakeup of American diplomacy

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 12:  U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak to the media at a press c
Donald Trump's potential second administration would install political ambassadors to organizations like NATO (Getty Images)

As per Project 2025, the next Republican administration should "significantly reorient the US government's posture toward friends and adversaries alike – which will include much more honest assessments about who are friends and who are not. This reorientation could represent the most significant shift in core foreign policy principles and corresponding action since the end of the Cold War." In addition, it also suggested bringing back the first Trump administration's "tough love" approach to the country's role in international organizations. Another suggestion of appointing "political ambassadors with strong personal relationships with the President" in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could reshape the American diplomacy if Trump' wins a second term.

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