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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Former President Donald Trump is trying to distance himself from Project 2025, a roadmap for what a second Trump presidential term could look like, with plans that include banning abortion and pornography, ending same-sex marriage, and purging the federal government of anyone not loyal to Trump.

“I know nothing about Project 2025,” Trump said in a July 5 post to Truth Social, according to Axios. “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.”

However, dozens of people who crafted the 900-page “presidential transition project” had prominent roles in Trump’s administration.

The project, spearheaded by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, has 36 authors and dozens of contributors. Of the authors, 26 served either in the Trump administration or on the 2016 Trump transition team, according to a review by the American Independent.

Among them is Ken Cuccinelli, who Trump illegally appointed acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and an acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Cuccinelli allegedly directed DHS officials to downplay the threat of white supremacists and Russian election interference.

Peter Navarro, who served as trade adviser to Trump in the White House and who is now serving four months in federal prison for refusing to testify before the House select committee that investigated the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is also an author. Navarro spread lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election and has claimed credit for the idea to try to get Congress to block certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

Another contributor is Russ Vought, the former director of the Office of Personnel Management under Trump. Vought, a self-proclaimed Christian nationalist, has advocated for shutting down the government and counseled House Republicans not to raise the federal debt ceiling in 2023.

Paul Dans, the director of Project 2025, also served as chief of staff in the Office of Personnel Management under Trump. 

In addition to banning the abortion drug mifepristone and purging the federal government of those considered disloyal toTrump, Project 2025 also calls for expanding Trump’s power by putting the Department of Justice under his control, banning transgender people from the military, and eliminating regulations that bar anti-LGBTQ discrimination. 

Trump’s attempt to distance himself from Project 2025 came after Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts appeared on the “War Room” podcast of former Trump administration official Steve Bannon and said, “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

Roberts gave a speech in February in which he said the Heritage Foundation wants no credit for the proposals in Project 2025, adding he wants Trump to take credit, according to CNN.

Polling shows Project 2025 is unpopular.

A survey conducted in June by Navigator Research found that very few people had heard of the plan, but that the more voters learn about it, the more they oppose it, with the rate of those informed voters against the plan skyrocketing from 28% to 67%. The survey found 49% of voters who have heard of the plan believe that its most concerning impact is that it “would threaten American rights and freedoms.”

President Joe Biden has linked Trump to Project 2025.

“Trump is lying about Project 2025,” Biden said on X. “It’s his people and his plan. But it’s your freedoms and future at risk. Trump’s ‘project’ will destroy America. If you don’t believe me, google it.”

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