Project 2025 June 25th Update

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Project 2025 is a 920-page plan spearheaded by the powerful and extreme far-right Heritage Foundation. More than 100 organizations support this blueprint for autocracy. Their stated goal is to create an “ideal” America that would see women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, people of color, and others deprived of their hard-won constitutional rights and the erosion of environmental and education protections. It also advocates for a frightening centralization of power in the executive branch. Rooted in hate and Christian Nationalism, the plan promises to “rescue the country.” Read GPAHE’s full analysis of Project 2025 and the groups behind it.

GPAHE tracks the activities of those behind Project 2025, and their plans for an authoritarian and Christian Nationalist America, no matter who is president, and the groups in this extremist movement are relentlessly implementing initiatives at local, state, and federal levels.

This week we look at how a Project 2025 supporter is creating a blacklist of progressive civil servants, Candace Owens’ triumphant return to Christian Nationalism courtesy of Project 2025 supporter Turning Point USA (TPUSA), and Project 2025’s plan to bring back the draft. We’ll also hear from Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, Project 2025 Editor Paul Dans, and TPUSA contributor Jack Posobiec in their own words.

Project 2025 Supporter Preparing to Purge Civil Servants 

At the heart of Project 2025 is a controversial plan to reclassify tens of thousands of federal workers as political appointees through reviving Trump’s Schedule F executive order, which would enable the next conservative administration to purge thousands of career civil servants it believes hold progressive political values.

In tandem with Project 2025, the American Accountability Foundation (AAF), led by seasoned Republican operative Tom Jones, is investigating scores of high-ranking career officials suspected of being hostile to Trump’s policies, the Associated Press reports

The AAF, launched by Project 2025 supporter the Conservative Partnership Institute in 2021, is a recent recipient of a $100,000 “Innovation Prize” from Heritage, “in support of their investigative researchers, in-depth reports, and educational efforts to alert Congress, a conservative administration, and the American people to the presence of anti-American bad actors burrowed into the administrative state and ensure appropriate action is taken.” 

Jones’ group, described by The New Yorker in 2022 as a dark money “slime machine,”  aims to publish online the names and backgrounds of 100 federal employees it deems “bad actors,” mainly in agencies dealing with immigration and border issues. The stated goal of this list is to publicly identify the civil servants who might impede a conservative agenda, making them potential targets for scrutiny, reclassification, reassignment, or termination. Jones says they want to understand “who these people are and what they do,” to determine if there are “wrong people on the bus right now that are openly hostile” to efforts like securing the southern border.

However, this effort to investigate and publicly list government workers, as AAF has done with Biden nominees it has targeted in the past, has alarmed many in the civil service community, who liken it to the red scare tactics of McCarthyism in the 1950s. Federal employees take an oath to the Constitution, not to any particular president or political party. Menacing civil servants and sowing fear is an intimidation tactic meant to chill the normal functioning of government, but that is AAF’s main mission. Jones has said they want to disrupt progressive appointments and “take a big handful of sand and throw it in the gears of the Biden administration.”

There are also concerns about putting the livelihoods and safety of federal workers in jeopardy by posting their names, salaries, and other details online. While Jones dismisses these risks, arguing that policymakers shouldn’t be shielded from scrutiny, others say that career officials have a reasonable expectation of some level of privacy. 

Jones believes otherwise. “If I’ve got to trail someone on the ground to find out what they’re doing, I’m totally going to do it, because people who are making decisions need to have this information, they need to understand who they are trusting with the reins of government and sometimes that means we will use unorthodox methods to get the information we need,” he told Fox News in 2021.  “It’s obviously severely problematic if there’s a radical leftist running an agency, but it’s also really problematic if their deputy has worked on leftist issues in the past and is out of step and has deep roots within the progressive movement and is going to implement an agenda out of touch with what the American people care about.”

“Tom Jones and his American Accountability Foundation are digging into the backgrounds, social media posts, and commentary of key high-ranking government employees, starting with the Department of Homeland Security. They’re relying in part on tips from his network of conservative contacts, including workers,” PBS News wrote on June 24, 2024.

The Project 2025 efforts come against a backdrop of long-simmering tensions between conservative administrations and the federal bureaucracy. Project 2025 supporters view civil servants as a “deep state” that can obstruct a president’s rightful agenda. 

Government employee unions and democracy advocacy groups see the career civil service as a bulwark of stability, experience, and expertise that serves the public good and prevents overreach by political leaders. Sweeping categorization of federal workers as “anti-American bad actors” risks further polarization and erosion of democratic norms and institutions, they argue.

As the election grows closer, Americans can expect an intensifying debate over the proper scope and role of the federal workforce. At stake in the Heritage/Jones efforts are fundamental questions about the relationship between career civil servants and elected political leadership in pursuing the people’s business.

In our current system of separated powers and checks and balances, neither a president nor ideologically-aligned external groups have unilateral authority to reshape the federal government. While a new administration has latitude to pursue its policy priorities, mass targeting of career employees based on perceived disloyalty would likely face legal and political obstacles. 

Project 2025’s demonization of public servants and disregard for democratic norms is a dangerous road for the future of democracy. 

“Powered By” Turning Point USA, Controversial Candace Ownes Returns to the Christian Nationalist Fold

In the realm of conservative political commentary, few figures have risen to prominence as rapidly or controversially as Candace Owens. A self-described “free thinker,” Owens has become one of the most visible and divisive personalities in American political discourse earning her much sought-after attention and millions of conservative fans.

However, her thinly veiled antisemitism proved to be too much for some portions of the far-right universe when she was fired by Ben Shapiro’s right-wing media outlet The Daily Wire, where she had hosted a popular podcast since 2021 that spread her trademark conspiracy theories, bigotry, and misinformation.

“Owens has repeatedly waded into antisemitic waters as she fiercely criticized Israel, suggesting the Jewish government was committing ‘genocide’ in Gaza and claiming there is a sinister ‘small ring’ of Jewish people in Hollywood and Washington, DC involved in something quite sinister,’” CNN reported when news of her firing broke on March 22, 2024.

But Owens proved her tenacity when she returned from a self-imposed hiatus with appearances at two major events sponsored by Turning Point USA (TPUSA, a fervent Project 2025 supporter), including her first public appearance in 10 weeks at TPUSA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit on June 7, 2024. From the stage she greeted her thousands of fans in attendance while fiercely denouncing feminism, calling it “a precursor to transgenderism.” At the subsequent TPUSA convention in Detroit on June 14, 2024, she called LGBTQ+ Pride Month “disrespectful”  to veterans, and chanted “Christ is King!” with the crowd, proving she is back and has only sharpened her edge.

Born in 1989 in Stamford, Connecticut, Owens’ journey to conservative stardom was anything but conventional. Raised in a working-class family, she claims to have experienced racial discrimination as a teenager, leading to a successful lawsuit against her school district in 2007, which awarded her $37,500 (years after she collected her judgment she would famously claim that “America is not a racist country” at CPAC 2019). 

Owens dropped out of college in her junior year and sought out a career as a liberal influencer. Her early writings in 2015 and 2016 on a progressive blog she co-founded, Degree 180, lauded the positive effects of sex education and ayahuasca. 

In personal essays, Owens praised Edward Snowden and boasted of her ability to leave her body at will. “So many of us have experienced the phenomena of an out-of-body experience — but we’ve been conditioned to think that talking about this sort of stuff is ‘weird’ or ‘crazy.’” 

On LGBTQ+ rights she commented supportively, “It is not my business who somebody else wants to have sex with or love. Not yours either, tea-party peeps. I actually find it creepy that you have cared so much and for so long about somebody else’s sex life.” On abortion, she wrote,  “When I consider the hot button topic of abortion, I’d like to do so with, I don’t know — maybe my fucking partner — the one who impregnates me? Maybe even my best friend? My mother? Certainly NOT my goddamn president.” 

However, this early brush with activism bears little resemblance to her current political stance. Liberal Candace wasn’t paying the bills, but Conservative Candace certainly would.

Owens first gained widespread attention in 2017 when she launched Red Pill Black, a YouTube channel and website promoting conservative ideas to the Black community. Her rapid ascent in conservative circles began with her first video on the platform about “coming out” as a conservative, which has over one million views. Owens’ brand was further propelled by her vocal support for Donald Trump (despite not voting at all in the 2016 election) and her criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

A significant milestone in Owens’ career came when she joined Turning Point USA (TPUSA). As the organization’s communications director from 2017 to 2019, Owens became a prominent face of young conservative activism, denying climate change on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2018, regularly speaking at campuses across the country, and engaging in heated debates with liberal students and faculty.

Building on her growing influence, Owens launched Blexit in 2018, a movement, currently hosted by TPUSA, aimed at encouraging African Americans to leave the Democratic Party and embrace conservative values. The name, a play on “Brexit,” encapsulates Owens’ core message that the Democratic Party has failed Black Americans and that conservatism offers a path to empowerment. 

Owens is a lightning rod for controversy, a provocateur who exploits her identity to give cover to racist ideologies. Her statements on various issues have often sparked outrage and condemnation from across the political spectrum. According to the Daily Beast, her resignation from TPUSA, which she claimed was to focus on her podcast and writing, came after TPUSA chapter leaders complained about her statement that Hitler was a fine leader until he began to globalize. 

“When we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. He was a National Socialist,” Owens said at a TPUSA event in London in February, 2019. “If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine,” Owens posited with TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk standing by her side on stage. “The problem is he wanted, he had dreams, outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize, he wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German, everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism. So in thinking about how it could go bad down the line, I don’t really have an issue with nationalism, I really don’t,” BuzzFeed reported.

This incident led to widespread condemnation and accusations of historical revisionism that continue to swirl.

Owens’ relationship with Kanye West (Ye), the two appearing at West’s October 2022 Paris fashion show in matching “White Lives Matter” shirts, further complicated her stance on antisemitism when West made a series of antisemitic remarks in 2022. On October 8, 2022, he tweeted he wanted to go “death con 3 on Jewish people,” which led to his suspension from Twitter and Instagram. 

In December 2022, West appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show commenting that, “The Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world…I see good things about Hitler, also.” Owens continues to defend West, arguing that his comments were not antisemitic. Owens posted on the right-wing social media outlet Parler, where her husband George Farmer was CEO, that anyone comparing West to Adolf Hitler “should no longer be taken seriously.” West, incidentally, announced he was purchasing Parler in 2022 but the sale was quickly called off.

Owens’ earlier, seemingly progressive views and her failed attempt to launch an anti-Trump website in 2015 could be considered evidence that her current stance is more about gaining attention and influence than genuine conviction. Owens, for her part, describes her political journey as an awakening, claiming that she “became a conservative overnight” after studying the issues.

And her champion, Charlie Kirk, has warmly welcomed her back to the Christian Nationalist fold at TPUSA. Her new podcast, Candace, debuted June 10 and is “powered by TPUSA” and features high production values, an impeccable set, professional lighting, two cameras, and skilled editing. 

There’s also a teleprompter for Owens to read off frequent commercials for money lenders, a meat vendor where mentioning “code Candace” gets you free bacon for life, gold, and Preborn, which claims a donation of just $28 can save a baby’s life by offering pregnant mothers ultrasounds. 

In addition, Owens is marketing her own brand of travel thermos called the “Standace,” which is emblazoned with her trademark phrase “Christ is King.” Apart from her podcast, fans can connect with Owens through an app called Minnect, where she will send a personalized video message for just $1,500 per minute (with a 15-minute minimum). 

With just 10 episodes completed, Owens has already amassed 1.87 million subscribers who tune in to hear her random takes on a cornucopia of issues. On June 12th, Owens stated her belief that “media is a form of black magic,” and that “Hollywood is, in fact, being controlled by some sort of a demonic cult with an intention to corrupt our souls.” She reiterated this belief on June 19, telling viewers that “Satan is the author of lies, which means that we need people to start spreading the truth by spreading really the gospel. And to see, whenever I look at Hollywood, you look at sports, you look at entertainment, all I think about is evil.” 

Owens also speaks about a shadowy progressive cabal behind a psychological simulation or experiment being perpetrated on society by the media and continues to insist on a June 18 episode that France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron is a man. “I can’t think of a greater modern example going on right now of that experiment than the Brigitte Macron story. It is an absurdity. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence, and [French President] Emmanuel Macron is married to a biological male.”

In other episodes she claims to be on a list of enemies from a Ukrainian NGO: “The list includes me, Elon Musk, David Sachs, Jim Banks, Rand Paul, Jack Poso, Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens, JD Vance, Michael Knowles,” and that she has a secret Kanye West recording from October 2022 that will soon appear on her show. She has also recommended a popular talking point among Project 2025 supporters, that students should drop out of college lest they become indoctrinated by the left. 

Candace was ranked third on Spotify’s list of the most popular podcasts on June 16, coming in behind Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson, and Owens’ impact on political discourse is undeniable. 

The 35-year-old embodies a dangerous trend of elevating provocateurs over substantive thinkers. Her rhetoric oversimplifies complex issues, contributes to the spread of misinformation, and at times veers into harmful territory, particularly regarding her comments on Jewish people and the Holocaust.

Thanks to Turning Point USA’s platform, Owens continues to make headlines and influence conservative thought, purposefully placing herself at the center of conversation, continuing to provoke, challenge, and polarize.

The Return of National Service? Project 2025’s Vision for America’s Youth

In a surprising turn of events, the possibility of mandatory national service has resurfaced in Washington’s political discourse, particularly among advisers to former President Donald Trump as he eyes a potential return to the White House. This renewed interest in national service, bordering on discussions of reinstating the draft, has sparked both curiosity and concern among younger Americans.

At the heart of this conversation is Project 2025, which has brought the concept of mandatory national service to the forefront of political debate.

Christopher Miller, who served as Secretary of Defense during the final days of Trump’s presidency, has emerged as a vocal proponent of this idea and wrote the chapter on the Department of Defense in the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 Mandate for Leadership

Miller also suggests banning transgender individuals from military service, “Gender dysphoria is incompatible with the demands of military service, and the use of public monies for transgender surgeries or to facilitate abortion for service members should be ended,” Project 2025 states. It also calls for the military to “eliminate Marxist indoctrination and divisive critical race theory programs and abolish newly established diversity, equity, and inclusion offices and staff.” Further, it suggests reinstating “service members to active duty who were discharged for not receiving the COVID vaccine, restore their appropriate rank, and provide back pay.”

Miller, a retired Green Beret, argues that a national service requirement should be “strongly considered” as part of a broader strategy to address what he perceives as a crisis in military readiness.

The impetus for this proposal stems from the challenges facing the all-volunteer Armed Forces. Recent Pentagon data reveals a significant shortfall in recruitment, with the military missing their target by approximately 41,000 recruits last year. Only the Marines and the newly-formed Space Force managed to meet their objectives. Even more alarming is the Army’s internal assessment, which suggests that a staggering 77% of Americans are ineligible for military service due to factors such as obesity, drug use, criminal records, and inadequate aptitude scores.

Project 2025’s recommendations go beyond just reinstating the draft. Miller advocates for the widespread implementation of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in high schools across the nation. This multiple-aptitude exam, already taken by over a million military applicants annually, is seen as a tool to identify potential recruits and gauge future academic and occupational success in the military.

However, the prospect of mandatory national service or a return to the draft faces significant hurdles. Critics argue that an all-volunteer military is more effective and that forced service could lead to morale issues and political backlash. The Vietnam War era serves as a stark reminder of the societal tensions and political challenges associated with conscription, The Tribune-Democrat reports.

The debate has also raised concerns about equity and fairness, the Washington Post reports. A 2017 Rand study found that low-income areas are disproportionately targeted by military recruiters, leading to accusations of exploiting economic disparities. Some educators and parents worry that aggressive recruitment tactics, including mandatory aptitude testing, might pressure vulnerable students into military service without fully understanding the commitment.

As the conversation unfolds, it’s clear that Project 2025’s vision for national service represents a bold, if controversial, approach to addressing perceived crisis in military recruitment and civic engagement. While the likelihood of implementing such sweeping changes remains low — requiring an act of Congress to reinstate the draft — the mere discussion has reignited a broader conversation about civic duty, military readiness, and the role of young Americans in national defense.

Proponents argue that national service could foster a sense of shared purpose and responsibility among America’s youth, potentially bridging societal divides. Critics, however, warn of the potential for coercion and the disproportionate impact on disadvantaged communities.

As America grapples with these complex issues, the debate surrounding Project 2025 serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges facing the U.S. military and the intricate relationship between national security, politics, and societal values. Whether these proposals gain traction or remain theoretical, they have undoubtedly sparked a national conversation about service, sacrifice, and the future of America’s youth in an increasingly complex global landscape.

In Their Own Words:

“The work of the Heritage Foundation was to institutionalize Trumpism. Trumpism as a new version of conservatism. A conservatism that recognizes that by every objective measure, the United States is weaker in 2024 than it was in 1984. We also happen to think that’s reversible, by the way, we’re, we’re ultimately optimists and by institutionalizing Trumpism, what we’re saying is that even though we are known as Ronald Reagan’s think tank, I’m the son of the Reagan Revolution. I’m very proud of that, that’s 40 years ago. And we need to understand what time it is in America. And right now, Donald Trump, whether someone likes it or not, I happen to like it, is the standard bearer for conservatives.”

— Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts on MSNBC, June 22, 2024

“They’re the guys who, and, and women who are listening to War Room kind of nodding like, what, you know, who loved this country and now really wanna serve? And when we’re making a pathway to do that, we’re gonna teach you the rudimentary background in Washington, but also take this and, and shape your attitude of how you can go in and make the change here.”

— Paul Dans on Steve Bannon’s War Room on the ideal Project 2025 recruits for positions in government. June 20, 2024.

“Here’s something that people have to understand, that it’s not just through rounding up and law enforcement and military or ICE or something like this, that the deportations will be achieved. It’s very simple. What you’re going to do is we’re going to make it a crime. We’re gonna make it a crime to, uh, hire any of these people to, if you’re, if you’re renting to them, if you’re providing housing… Make it a crime to give them housing, make it a crime to give them access to basic, non-emergency medical care. All of these things. Put it all out. Put it all out and say, if you are aiding and embedding invasion, then you are participating in a crime. And guess what? If you cut off the economic incentive for them to be here, then they will march themselves back across the southern border.”

— TPUSA contributor and Project 2025 supporter Jack Posobiec speaking on criminalizing immigrants, Human Events Daily, June 18, 2024.

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