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Trump Tries, Fails to Distance Himself From Project 2025

It’s still his blueprint for governing, no matter what he says.

Donald Trump smiles as he stands behind a lectern at a Heritage Foundation event in 2017.
Donald Trump at a Heritage Foundation event in 2017

On Friday, Donald Trump claimed that the Heritage Foundation’s radical Project 2025 plan—which lays out a course for uprooting American democracy as we know it, and has been elevated by Trump’s allies—has “nothing to do” with his run for president.

“I know nothing about Project 2025,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “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.”

How can Trump both know nothing about Project 2025 and “disagree” with it? He doesn’t say. But it’s clear that he recognizes that the plan is a growing political liability.

The public severance came two days after Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts issued an ominous warning for leftists, ahead of what he called a “second American Revolution.”

“We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be,” Roberts said on Steve Bannon’s podcast War Room, celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week on presidential immunity.

“In spite of all this nonsense from the left, we are going to win. We’re in the process of taking this country back,” Roberts said.

Trump’s campaign has grown increasingly frustrated by reporting on the affiliation between the campaign and Project 2025’s agenda, despite their apparent linkage, and the program’s intention of serving as the former president’s wish list if and when he returns to office next year.

Project 2025 reflects Trump’s core political philosophy and has been boosted by key allies, including former advisers Stephen Miller and John McEntee. Trump’s own super PACs have run ads highlighting Project 2025’s policy goals. And as much as Trump wants to distance himself from the conservative apparatus, Project 2025 has been thoroughly involved in staffing a future Trump presidency: Roberts has claimed the project has already “trained and vetted” more than 10,000 people to replace executive branch employees should the presumptive GOP presidential candidate win in November. But they may have more on the way—in November, Trump allies claimed they were looking to install as many as 54,000 pre-vetted Trump loyalists to the executive branch via a “Schedule F” executive order.

“Never before has the entire movement … banded together to construct a comprehensive plan to deconstruct the out-of-touch and weaponized administrative state,” Project 2025’s director, Paul Dans, told Axios at the time.

Regardless, senior Trump advisers have warned news outlets against reporting on the connections. In statements to both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita pointed to Agenda47 as the official platform of the Trump campaign, noting that “unless a message is coming directly from President Trump or an authorized member of his campaign team, no aspect of future presidential staffing or policy announcements should be deemed official.”

Trump Claims He Never Praised Neo-Nazis—Thanks to Dubious “Fact-Check”

Congrats to Snopes for being cited by Donald Trump, who is now openly bragging that he never called the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville “very fine people.”

Donald Trump smiles weirdly
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is continuing to insist that he never called neo-Nazis “very fine people,” after a fact-checking site declared that his remarks from 2017 were misconstrued.

The presumptive Republican nominee posted on Truth Social Friday, sharing pieces of a report from the New York Post about Snopes, which had recently fact-checked Trump’s infamous defense of rallygoers at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

Earlier this month, Snopes issued a controversial “false” rating to the claim that Trump called white supremacists and neo-Nazis at the rally “very fine people.” Afterward, Trump claimed he wasn’t talking about neo-Nazis and white-supremacists, and said that they ought to be “condemned totally.”

Snopes deliberated that Trump’s full statement—“very fine people on both sides”—was referring to all of the attendees at the neo-Nazi rally, rather than a specific group of neo-Nazis at the rally. A small, but important difference, especially for Trump supporters who have been claiming for years that the former president was simply misunderstood.

During CNN’s first presidential debate last week, President Joe Biden referenced Trump’s infamous line as his rationale for running for president in 2020.

“I said I wasn’t going to run again until I saw it happen in Charlottesville, Virginia,” said Biden.  

“People coming out of the woods carrying swastikas on torches, torches and singing the same antisemitic bile they sang when back in Germany.… And the young woman got killed. I spoke to the mother. And they asked him, what do you think of those people? … And he said I think there’s fine people on both sides.”

Trump rejected Biden’s story. “He didn’t run because of Charlottesville; he ran because it was his last chance,” Trump said. “He made up the Charlottesville story, and you’ll see it debunked all over the place.” Trump insisted that this was the consensus among “every reasonable anchor,” and added that “just the other day it came out it was fully debunked,” likely referencing the Snopes rating.

Still, Biden urged, “It happened.” And he’s right.

Many were horrified by Trump’s failure to adequately condemn the participants of the Unite the Right rally, which killed three people. Snopes’s determination, which has emerged seven years after Trump’s original statement, seems to be differentiating between neo-Nazi supremacists and people who simply chose to attend a neo-Nazi rally—a dubious fact-check at best. The updated Snopes rating also failed to acknowledge Trump’s penchant for doublespeak, and the power of his more nuanced rhetoric, which when combined with his fascistic rhetoric, has garnered him the support of white supremacists across the country.

Biden Makes Embarrassing “First Black Woman” Gaffe in New Interview

Joe Biden made an unfortunate slip-up in a postdebate interview.

Joe Biden speaking at a couple mics
Samuel Corum/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

During an appearance on Philadelphia-based WURD Radio broadcast Thursday morning, Biden appeared to refer to himself as the “first Black woman” to serve in the White House.

“By the way, I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first Black woman, to serve with a Black president,” Biden said, apparently fusing his time as Barack Obama’s vice president to now having Kamala Harris as his vice president.

As Business Insider notes, Biden correctly stated earlier in the interview that he was the first president to have a Black woman vice president and that he had served as vice president to the country’s first Black president. It was only after he circled back on the statement that it became jumbled.

The 14-minute radio appearance was Biden’s first media spot since his debate against Trump and came as allies close to Biden privately warned that strong media appearances into the Fourth of July weekend were crucial to stem fallout from his debate performance.

“I had a bad debate,” Biden said during the radio show. “But 90 minutes on stage does not erase what I have done in three-and-a-half years.”

The radio appearance largely focused on work Biden has done to support Black communities, including giving billions to HBCUs, lowering the price of insulin, and pushing policies to increase Black homeownership. According to polling from CBS, 60 percent of registered Black voters feel democracy and the rule of law will be safe only if Biden wins—but 55 percent believe Biden should not be running for reelection and 31 percent think neither Biden nor Trump have the cognitive health to serve as president.

“Black voters in cities like Philadelphia are the ones who are going to decide the outcome of this election,” Biden said. A key voting bloc, Black voters clinched the presidency for Biden in 2020. Despite dips in support, a majority of Black voters continue to support Biden as Trump continues failing to make a convincing case for himself.

RFK Jr. Just Made His Weirdest Campaign Promise Yet

The conspiracy-mongering third party candidate just promised to “not take sides” on … the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sits in a chair and stares menacingly.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. last year

As the rest of the country obsesses over Joe Biden’s fitness for office, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has dared, once again, to say what absolutely no one was thinking.

The conspiratorial independent candidate had strong words to share about 9/11 on Friday, announcing that, as an official part of his platform for president, he wouldn’t “take sides” on the national tragedy.

“My take on 9/11: It’s hard to tell what is a conspiracy theory and what isn’t,” Kennedy wrote. “But conspiracy theories flourish when the government routinely lies to the public. As President I won’t take sides on 9/11 or any of the other debates. But I can promise is that I will open the files and usher in a new era of transparency.”

The unexpected and unwarranted message was prompted by a CBS 60 Minutes segment that aired late last month about possible Saudi involvement in the attack, according to Kennedy.

“Speculation about what our government may be covering up is rife outside the mainstream of our political culture,” he continued in a separate post. “Trust [in] government is at an all-time low. The way to restore that trust is through honesty and transparency. That is my promise, and that is what will resolve any questions about 9/11, UAPs, and other contentious topics. I am personally agnostic on those issues. My issue is TRANSPARENCY.”

It’s been a bad week for Kennedy, whose already low favorability tanked after a Vanity Fair exposé published images of him chowing down on what veterinarians identified as a barbecued dog. The article also included accusations from the Kennedy family’s former babysitter, Eliza Cooney, who claimed that Kennedy had rubbed her leg, read her diary, asked her to rub lotion on his back, trapped her against the pantry door, and groped her—all on separate occasions.

But that kind of behavior wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary, according to several of Kennedy’s friends who told the publication that he had sent them photographs of nude women multiple times. The friends believed Kennedy had taken the pictures himself, but did not know if the women had consented to being photographed or of the images being shared.

“Everyone Is Miserable”: Inside the Plummeting Biden Team Morale

A new report reveals how dire things are inside the White House right now.

Joe Biden speaking at a podium
Samuel Corum/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Over a week out from President Joe Biden’s calamitous performance during the first presidential debate, a sense of doom is setting in among White House staffers, according to a report from Axios.

“Everyone is miserable, and senior advisers are a total black hole,” one White House official told Axios. “Even if you’re trying to focus on work, nothing is going to break through or get any acknowledgment” from those in charge, they added.

There has been some speculation that Biden’s inner circle, specifically Deputy Chief of Staff Annie Tomasini, Jill Biden’s top adviser Anthony Bernal, and longtime aide Ashley Williams are working overtime to keep dissent from the president’s ears. The result appears to be a rising tide of discontent from others in the president’s employ.

“The only thing that can really allay concerns is for the president to demonstrate that he’s capable of running this campaign,” said one high-ranking official from the Democratic National Committee. “Everything else feels like Weekend at Bernie’s by his inner circle to prop him up.”

To try to counteract the growing sense of dread, Biden’s campaign circulated an all-staff memo on Wednesday, including internal polling that shows the president neck and neck with former President Donald Trump, a slightly more optimistic finding than that of other polls published this week.

Still, Biden has insisted to staffers, and a group of Democratic governors, that he will continue his campaign to stay in the White House.

Here Are the Names Democrats Are Considering for Kamala’s Running Mate

According to a new report, many Democrats are plotting who Kamala Harris’s vice president should be for a 2024 ticket.

Kamala Harris walks out of curtains on a stage
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Fallout from Biden’s disastrous debate performance continues to outpace his campaign’s insistence he’ll remain in the race, with what CNN describes as “many top Democratic circles” already moving to assess who Kamala Harris’s vice president should be.

Two dozen top Democrats—described by CNN as an unnamed yet “widening group of leading party officials, operatives, and donors”—have looked into Democratic governors as potential vice presidential picks for Harris, with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear leading discussions. Democrats have also floated Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz as possible contenders.

CNN reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, who wrote the article delving into possible contenders, stated that within hours of its publication, even more Democrats reached out with ideas about who Harris’s running mate should be. The assessments on potential running mates for Harris, CNN notes, are born from certainty among top Democrats that Biden’s reelection campaign is doomed. The names being floated are part of a quasi-mutinous effort to make a compelling case for Harris despite the Biden campaign’s firm stance that he won’t step aside.

One unnamed Democratic senator described the situation to CNN using a lengthy football allegory, describing Biden as a failing “star quarterback” and Harris as his backup quarterback. That senator argued that a Harris ticket is more realistic than backing an alternate from outside the campaign, saying, “The idea of our suddenly drafting someone from a school with a different playbook who hasn’t played a single game in the NFL is a huge risk.”

“We start talking in the huddle: Do we put in the backup Q.B.? The backup knows our team, the backup knows the plays, the backup has played in the NFL,” the senator told CNN. “The crowd in the stands full of passionate fans starts chanting: ‘Put in the kid from Alabama!’ ‘Put in the Q.B. from Wisconsin!’ All just because the backup threw an interception earlier. But we know the backup and have confidence in them.”

“[Biden]’s in such bad shape,” one Democratic House member whom CNN described as a “Harris doubter” told the outlet. “But I’ve also had conversations with Democrats about [Harris] from some key groups that have been skeptical in the past who believe everyone will rally to her if she’s the nominee.”

“It’s a straight shot, and she’s ready to roll,” former Ohio Representative Tim Ryan told CNN. Ryan said he’s received a flood of agreement in private after publicly calling for Biden to step aside and back Harris. “We’ve got to be decisive too. It plays right into the stereotype that Democrats are weak. With one fell swoop, you can change so many different narratives.”

The appraisals of possible Harris running mates are largely speculative and appear intended to gauge which combination would make for the strongest duo to defeat Trump and his still-unnamed running mate. Still, the push to firm up a strong case for an ideal Harris ticket has pulled the Democratic Party even further from the Biden campaign’s hard-line insistence that he will remain on the ticket—and echoes efforts from major Democratic donors working to use their money to coerce Biden into dropping out.

Trump Is Cheering On One of the U.K.’s Most Radical Figures

The former president congratulated Nigel Farage on a marginal victory in Thursday’s British election.

Donald Trump looks quizzically as Nigel Farage points and opens his mouth really big at a rally.
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in 2020

After 14 years of government led by the Conservative Party, the U.K.’s center-left Labour Party won a landslide victory early Friday, ushering in a new era of government as the party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, moved into 10 Downing St.

But none of that was remarkable to Donald Trump, who, in a brief message posted to Truth Social, congratulated one of his longest foreign allies on winning his first seat in the U.K. Parliament.

“Congratulations to Nigel Farage on his big WIN of a Parliament Seat Amid Reform UK Election Success,” Trump wrote in a since-deleted post, referring to the right-wing populist party which won four seats in Friday’s election. “Nigel is a man who truly loves his Country! DJT.”

Farage, who flew over to the United States to support Trump’s 2016 bid for president, overturned a conservative majority in Clacton, Essex, to win the seat from the Conservative incumbent, Giles Watling, by more than 8,000 votes. Shortly after his win was announced, Farage told reporters that Reform’s rise would be the “beginning of the end of the Conservative Party.”

“This is just the first step in something that is going to stun you all,” Farage said at a press conference. “There is a massive gap on the center-right of British politics, and my job is to fill it.”

But ousting the Conservative Party, which got the boot after years of compounding failures like Brexit, is already underway. (Indeed, Trump’s tweet recalls his cheering on of Brexit, which he saw correctly as a sign of a rising global right-wing populist movement.) Next on the agenda would be winning over voters of the Labour Party, according to Farage, who outlined a plan to win the 2029 general election.

“What is interesting is, there’s no enthusiasm for Labour, there’s no enthusiasm for Starmer whatsoever,” Farage said. “In fact, about half of the vote is simply an anti-Conservative vote. This Labour Government will be in trouble very, very quickly. We will, now, be targeting Labour votes. We’re coming for Labour, be in no doubt about that.”

Farage said that Reform intends to hold another press conference at 2:30 p.m. British summer time, which would detail “the next steps for our political revolt.”

Democratic Governors Warn Biden He’s Quickly Losing Support

A new report reveals that some Democratic governors are warning Biden about the shrinking possibility of him winning their states in November.

Joe Biden leaves the podium looking downcast.
Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Joe Biden met with a group of Democratic governors on Wednesday in an attempt to reassure them that his candidacy is still viable, after a disastrous debate performance last week and mounting reports that he’s become less lucid over the course of his presidency.

Some Democratic governors did not mince words with the president in the closed-door meeting, and told him that support for his candidacy was going down the drain in their respective states. None of the governors who met with Biden flat out told him to quit the campaign, as some top Democrats have already done, but a few raised their concerns about his candidacy, according to The New York Times.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who attended the meeting virtually, told the president that he’d seen a surge of calls from constituents for Biden to withdraw from the race, two people who were briefed on the call told the Times.

Maine Governor Janet Mills remarked that voters didn’t feel that Biden was up to the task of campaigning, and New Mexico Governor Michell Lujan said she was worried that Biden might lose the election in her state.

Although Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey remained quiet in the meeting, she told her fellow governors on Monday that she’d told Biden’s chief of staff that the president’s position was “irretrievable.”

The Times also reported that because Biden announced his intention to keep running at the beginning of the meeting, some felt that actual debate over his candidacy was off the agenda.

To be clear, after the meeting, some governors re-upped themselves as staunch Biden supporters. New York Governor Kathy Hochul and California Governor Gavin Newsom, whom some were floating as a possible candidate to replace Biden, both tweeted their support of the president. Others, like Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, who issued a dire warning to Biden about rescuing his floundering bid, remained notably silent.

Former Trump Staffer Shares Texts Revealing Secret Payoffs

A new court filing alleges that Donald Trump’s campaign has paid to bury a number of lawsuits over sexual harassment and discrimination.

Donald Trump, walking in court, looks to the camera and raises his right fist, as if in victory. Boris Epshteyn is behind him. A security guard stands next to Trump.
Mike Segar/Pool/Getty Images

A.J. Delgado, a former staffer on Trump’s 2016 campaign, shared bombshell texts alleging that the campaign “settled multiple” gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. The texts, reportedly between Delgado and former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, came to light in new filings Delgado made as part of her ongoing discrimination lawsuit.

“Jenna, [between] us, do you know of anyone who complained of gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, or sexual harassment, in the 2020 campaign? Do you know if the 2020 campaign settled any lawsuits regarding such?” texts allegedly from Delgado ask. “Yes. Off record—Boris. The campaign settled multiple suits,” a text reply allegedly from Ellis reads. “Have your investigator subpoena Michael Glassner,” the texts advise, apparently referring to the Trump 2020 campaign strategist.

Twitter screenshot Zach Everson @Z_Everson: NEW: In her lawsuit v. 2016 Trump campaign, A.J. Delgado just filed an unredacted text exchange she says is with Jenna Ellis in which Ellis apparently states that the Trump campaign settled multiple discrimination or sexual harassment claims against "Boris

While the “Boris” named in the text exchange isn’t clear, it could be Boris Epshteyn, strategic adviser for Trump’s 2020 campaign. Forbes’s Zach Everson noted while alerting to the filing that Epshteyn was arrested in 2021 following numerous complaints of groping women at a club.

The text exchange follows earlier sworn declarations by Delgado asserting that Trump’s 2016 campaign repeatedly used middlemen to send hush money with the direct intention of obscuring discrimination settlements from the public and from the Federal Election Commission.

“In other words, the payment would be routed through a middleman, to hide the fact that the Campaign had settled, from the public and the FEC,” Delgado stated in her earlier sworn court declaration. “I thus have direct, personal experience with the Defendant-Campaign hiding settlement payments to women, routing them through a ‘middleman law firm,’ which to the public would only appear as payments ‘for legal services.’” Immediately following the November 2020 election, the Trump campaign paid $4.1 million for legal services, according to The Daily Beast, alongside “millions in mysterious legal reimbursements to the campaign’s compliance firm, Red Curve Solutions.”

Delgado alleged in a 2023 lawsuit that she was raped by former Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller, her superior at the time. Miller denied the rape allegations and brushed off her lawsuit as “simply intended to harass my family while wasting the judiciary’s time and resources.” Delgado’s lawsuit claims Miller first attempted to coerce Delgado into sex in October 2016 by getting her too drunk to consciously consent, after which Miller engaged in a “cycle of sexual coercion, rape, sexual assault, abuse, battery, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking” to continue an affair. Delgado also claims she became pregnant by Miller and that, on informing the campaign she was pregnant, she was cut off from communications with the campaign.

Delgado had earlier alleged to have reason to believe Trump’s campaign paid off women who raised complaints of gender discrimination or sexual harassment, and the text exchange allegedly between Delgado and Ellis filed on Thursday appear to bolster that claim. Jessica Denson sued the Trump campaign for workplace harassment. ProPublica notes four other women have filed similar complaints against the 2016 campaign. Of those, Trump’s legal team used “scorched-earth tactics,” according to ProPublica, to prevent the discrimination lawsuits from moving forward.

Disney Heir Vows Not “Another Dime” for Democrats Till Biden Drops Out

Pressure is growing on Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race.

Joe Biden, mouth slightly agape and brows furrowed, looks off camera
Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Frustrated with President Biden and his campaign after last week’s disastrous debate performance, major Democratic donors say they will withhold their campaign contributions unless Biden leaves the race.

The New York Times reports that major donors including Disney heiress Abigail E. Disney, Hollywood producer Damon Lidelof, and politically well-connected donor Gideon Stein all plan to keep their money to themselves until Biden steps aside. 

Disney said that the Biden campaign and the committees supporting it, such as super PACs, the Democratic National Committee, and nonprofits “will not receive another dime from me until they bite the bullet and replace Biden at the top of the ticket.”

“Biden is a good man who has served his country well, but the stakes are far too high to allow timidity to determine our course of action,” Disney added.

“A new ticket is in the best interest of defeating Donald Trump,” said Stein, who said his family would hold back on $3.5 million in political donations unless Biden withdraws from the 2024 contest.

Losing some of the wealthiest campaign contributors is bad news for Biden, and will add to fears brought on by grim poll numbers and open criticism from other Democrats, as well as muted criticism from White House staff. Two sitting members of Congress, Representatives Lloyd Doggett and Raúl Grijalva, have publicly called on Biden to step aside from the 2024 race, while other House members are circulating a draft letter calling for the same. The more support Biden loses, the greater the pressure will be for him to drop out, and bad press against him could hurt his poll numbers even further.

While the Democratic National Convention isn’t until August, the party was planning on holding a virtual call to formally nominate Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee earlier to avoid legal deadlines for ballot access in certain states. Biden and his family have a big choice to make, and soon: Republicans (and Donald Trump) may prefer Biden, but they are already licking their chops against potential replacements.