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Tipsheet

Trump's 2025 Plan for the Executive Could Deliver a Lethal Blow to the Deep State

AP Photo/John Locher

Former President Donald Trump might not have won the 2024 general election, but seeing that he’s the frontrunner for the nomination, it’s best to have an agenda. This plan isn’t your run-of-the-mill list of legislative priorities that every candidate drafts on foreign and domestic policy. What Trump has planned for 2025, should he win, goes beyond most white papers we’ve seen thus far. 

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This action item is a far cry from his 2016 transition. It’s about retooling the executive, which The New York Times described as a Nixonian overhaul on steroids. It’s a juiced-up unitary executive theory put into practice. Allies of the former president discussed how the current model is tailored for liberals and their agenda. For a conservative to operate this system successfully, the entire institution must be revamped, giving the executive broad powers. 

The increase in presidential power will trigger liberals and probably spur weeks’ worth of free media about how Trump is a fascist. Ignore the noise, but this overhaul will allow the president to purge thousands of government workers and get the intelligence community in line. The deep state as we know it could suffer a fatal blow, as the president, under this Trump protocol, could systematically remove troublesome officials who have acted in bad faith over the past decade (via NYT): 

Donald J. Trump and his allies are planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands. 

Their plans to centralize more power in the Oval Office stretch far beyond the former president’s recent remarks that he would order a criminal investigation into his political rival, President Biden, signaling his intent to end the post-Watergate norm of Justice Department independence from White House political control. 

Mr. Trump and his associates have a broader goal: to alter the balance of power by increasing the president’s authority over every part of the federal government that now operates, by either law or tradition, with any measure of independence from political interference by the White House, according to a review of his campaign policy proposals and interviews with people close to him. 

Mr. Trump intends to bring independent agencies — like the Federal Communications Commission, which makes and enforces rules for television and internet companies, and the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces various antitrust and other consumer protection rules against businesses — under direct presidential control. 

He wants to revive the practice of “impounding” funds, refusing to spend money Congress has appropriated for programs a president doesn’t like — a tactic that lawmakers banned under President Richard Nixon. 

He intends to strip employment protections from tens of thousands of career civil servants, making it easier to replace them if they are deemed obstacles to his agenda. And he plans to scour the intelligence agencies, the State Department and the defense bureaucracies to remove officials he has vilified as “the sick political class that hates our country.” 

“The president’s plan should be to fundamentally reorient the federal government in a way that hasn’t been done since F.D.R.’s New Deal,” said John McEntee, a former White House personnel chief who began Mr. Trump’s systematic attempt to sweep out officials deemed to be disloyal in 2020 and who is now involved in mapping out the new approach. 

[…] 

“The notion of independent federal agencies or federal employees who don’t answer to the president violates the very foundation of our democratic republic,” said Kevin D. Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation, adding that the contributors to Project 2025 are committed to “dismantling this rogue administrative state.” 

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This operation isn’t covert; it’s all over Trump’s campaign materials. And it does indicate that this theory will be put to the ultimate test in the courts. If the Left went haywire over the former president’s executive order on immigration, erroneously called the “Muslim ban,” imagine how anti-Trump attorneys and the media would react to this pledge to increase presidential power. We’ll see the historical illiteracy the Left often exhibits; even the Times noted above that F.D.R., a hero of modern American liberalism, tried to expand the powers of the executive. The man tried to pack the Court, too. 

It's one of the few instances where we have a Republican who can see what the modern fight is about vis-a-vis institutional power. Democrats have decades ahead of us on this front. The Left has weaponized the Justice Department to go after its political enemies for eight years under Obama and now under Joe Biden. We need to have the same stomach to do the same. Small government ethos regarding these matters were nice dinner table conversations until federal agents under Democratic attorneys general started raiding private homes. It’s time to take the gloves off, and if people have a problem with a president enhancing powers to get rid of annoying, lefty officials who can’t understand their side lost in an election, as we saw in 2016, then that’s their problem. I’m willing to take this plan out for a spin to see if we can’t bring some accountability to the intelligence community. The other side isn’t playing by the rules, and equal protection under the law isn’t guaranteed when Democrats are in charge.

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