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The (Schedule F) Purge: Trump’s Big Revenge Plan, Brought to You By the Council for National Policy

Here he goes again. Again. Trump did it. He’s in it to win it. Or rather ‘win’ it. Again. In 2024. Sur­prise.

But while Trump’s announce­ment was bare­ly a sur­prise, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that a sec­ond Trump pres­i­den­cy real­ly would be full of sur­pris­es. This would­n’t be a bor­ing sequel. Trump would be WAY cra­zier this time around. He’s had prac­tice. And so has the whole MAGA move­ment.

But there’s anoth­er rea­son we can ful­ly expect a sec­ond Trump term to be absolute­ly bonkers beyond any­thing we saw in the first admin­is­tra­tions: they’re telling us about their plans to be absolute­ly bonkers right out of the gate this time and spend­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars set­ting up a con­stel­la­tion of new right-wing enti­ties to exe­cute this bonkers plan. No fum­bling around. They’re going to do a ‘clean sweep’ this time imme­di­ate­ly. Cleans­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of non-MAGA loy­al­ists.

It’s not a secret plot to purge the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of its career staffers and replace them with par­ti­san hacks. It was a secret when then-Pres­i­dent Trump set the plot in motion 13 days before the 2020 elec­tion with an exec­u­tive order. The “Sched­ule F” exec­u­tive order plot — cen­tered around a bureau­crat­ic loop­hole dis­cov­ered in Jan­u­ary of 2019 by an obscure Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial on Trump’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil — opened the flood­gates. And while the mass fir­ings nev­er actu­al­ly took place in the final months of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, those flood­gates remain open along with the plot. That’s the explo­sive rev­e­la­tion from a pair of mas­sive arti­cles put out by Axios back in July: The Sched­ule F plot con­tin­ues. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion isn’t wast­ing any time next time. A mass purge of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will be one of the first moves of a sec­ond Trump admin­is­tra­tion. It’s not a secret this time. Quite the stop oppo­site. The plan has evolved. Sched­ule F is going to some­thing Trump will be cam­paign­ing on dur­ing his pre­sumed 2024 run. At least that’s what a num­ber of fig­ures involved with the ongo­ing plot open­ly talked about with Axios. Don­ald Trump is plan­ning on mak­ing Sched­ule F a cam­paign theme. All part of his war on the Deep State. A war where those who have yet to pass a Trumpian loy­al­ty test are deemed ene­mies of the Trumpian state.

Yes. there’s a loy­al­ty test com­po­nent to this plot. It was already imple­ment­ed by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion but it sounds like the plan is for a much wider imple­men­ta­tion. Basi­cal­ly, the more you indi­cate your dis­like for the Deep State, the like­li­er you are to get the job. Pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tions are beside the point. After the planed mass fir­ings across the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment there’s going to be a lot of posi­tions to fill an that point. And a lot of loy­al­ty tests to admin­is­ter. And it will all be por­trayed as Trump sim­ply keep­ing his cam­paign promis­es.

Or maybe not Trump’s cam­paign promis­es. The Sched­ule F plot may have start­ed with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion but it’s not a Trump team project. At least not exclu­sive­ly. This is a group effort. A ‘vast right-wing con­spir­a­cy’ group effort. In oth­er words, a Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy (CNP) effort. As we should expect by this point. And it’s not con­tin­gent on Don­ald Trump’s reelec­tion. Sched­ule F is the plan for any future Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion.

There’s already an army right-wing lawyers work­ing on it. Yes, this army of oper­a­tives has a dis­tinct­ly Trumpian flair. They aren’t hid­ing that aspect of the Sched­ule F plot at this point. Trump is plan­ning on cam­paign­ing on it after all. But it has a far more CNP-ish flair and that CNP flair means this plot is going to have a lot of momen­tum behind it whether Trump runs again or not. Sched­ule F is the right-wing mega-donor’s project too and they’re not going any­where whether of not Trump los­es the pri­ma­ry and/or goes to jail. That CNP hand in the Sched­ule F plot is what we’re going to be cov­er­ing in this post.

Oh, and it turns out Cur­tis Yarvin aka Men­cius Mold­bug — one of the cen­tral fig­ures in the Dark Enlight­en­ment — has been advo­cat­ing a plot that starts with a can­di­date cam­paign­ing on their plans to imple­ment the ‘Sched­ule F’ plot and then pro­ceed with an aggres­sive purge of left­ists and non-loy­al­ists out of the gov­ern­ment. He’s pret­ty con­fi­dent this will all be quite pop­u­lar as peo­ple are sick of pol­i­tics and want some­one who can get things done. And as we’re going to see, Yarv­in’s ideas have been get­ting eeri­ly ‘respectable’ in con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles in recent years. For exam­ple, dur­ing an inter­view on a con­ser­v­a­tive pod­cast last fall, JD Vance — who was is now a new­ly elect­ed Sen­a­tor for Ohio — advo­cat­ed Trump imple­ment Sched­ule F and just ignore the courts if they protest. Vance cred­it­ed Yarvin with the idea. That’s what’s hap­pen­ing in high lev­el con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles in the post-insur­rec­tion envi­ron­ment. They’re plan­ning like a ‘Jan 6’ of mass fed­er­al fir­ings right out of the gate next time. And the Dark Enlight­en­men­t’s muse is guid­ing this.

It’s a large cast of char­ac­ters. But all work­ing as part of a coor­di­nat­ed effort. And as should be entire­ly unsur­pris­ing by now, this effort is bristling with Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy (CNP) mem­bers and enti­ties. Yep, the same net­work of theo­crat­ic power­bro­kers who helped bring us the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion are work­ing on bring­ing us the ‘Jan 6’ of mass ide­o­log­i­cal purges of the fed­er­al work­force. But this ‘Jan 6’ will come right at the begin­ning of the next pres­i­den­t’s terms instead of the very end. And pave the way for more insan­i­ty to come. And maybe out­right fas­cism. Or a monar­chy, if Yarvin gets his way. How­ev­er it plays out, it’s the death of what’s left of the US’s demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions.

Fig­ures involved in the Sched­ule F plot include:

* James Sherk: The aspir­ing ide­o­logue on Trump’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil who spent more than a decade work­ing on pub­lic pol­i­cy at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, James Sherk was look­ing for a way to fire career offi­cials he felt were block­ing Trump’s agen­da back in Jan­u­ary of 2019 when he stum­bled upon some his­tor­i­cal fun facts about fed­er­al labor laws that became the ker­nel of the Sched­ule F plot. Sherk found his loop­hole in the Pendle­ton Act of 1883, a law iron­i­cal­ly passed to break the sys­tem of polit­i­cal patron­age that exist­ed at the time. The act was a his­toric start to the vision of a pro­fes­sion­al class of fed­er­al bureau­crats who served regard­less of admin­is­tra­tion and devel­oped exper­tise in the ways of gov­ern­ment. Sherk’s loop­hole was in Sec­tion 7511 of Title 5 of US Code, which exempts cer­tain employ­ees from the Pendle­ton Act’s fir­ing pro­tects. The exempt employ­ees were those “whose posi­tion has been deter­mined to be of a con­fi­den­tial, pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing, pol­i­cy-mak­ing or pol­i­cy-advo­cat­ing char­ac­ter by the Pres­i­dent for a posi­tion that the Pres­i­dent has except­ed from the com­pet­i­tive ser­vice.” Sherk’s ‘aha’ moment was to real­ize that this lan­guage arguably exempt­ed a large num­ber of career fed­er­al employ­ees. It was just a mat­ter of declar­ing them to be work­ing in a “con­fi­den­tial, pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing, pol­i­cy-mak­ing or pol­i­cy-advo­cat­ing” capac­i­ty and there­fore exempt from fir­ing priv­i­leges. Sherk shared his dis­cov­ery with the White House Coun­sel’s Office. With­in months the plan was one of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s most close­ly held secrets.

* John McEn­tee: Trump’s body­man before becom­ing the very MAGA head of Trump’s per­son­nel office who ‘Red-pilled’ the office with fel­low Trump loy­al­ists, John McEn­tee was an obvi­ous choice for a par­tic­i­pant in a secret plot to car­ry out a purge of the fed­er­al work force. The Sched­ule F plot was sup­posed to be a plan McEn­tee imple­ment­ed soon after Trump’s reelec­tion. By late 2020, McEn­tee and Mark Mead­ows — report­ed­ly work­ing hand in glove — had org charts for the sec­ond term. Along with a ‘fire list’ that could use the claimed pow­ers of the Sched­ule F plot to car­ry out. McEn­tee is report­ed­ly con­tin­u­ing his over­sight role on the ongo­ing plot through the new­ly formed Per­son­nel Pol­i­cy Orga­ni­za­tion (PPO).

* Andrew Kloster: A senior gov­ern­ment lawyer pre­vi­ous­ly at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, Andrew Kloster was recruit­ed by McEn­tee to the office of per­son­nel where he worked with McEn­tee’s deputy, James Bacon, to devel­op a ques­tion­naire for fed­er­al employ­ees. A ques­tion­naire filled with the kind of ques­tions that made clear that loy­al­ty to Trump and the MAGA agen­da is the pri­ma­ry qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Along with a sense that one had been per­son­al­ly wronged by “the sys­tem”. The big­ger the chip on their shoul­der, the bet­ter.

* Kash Patel: As we’ve seen, Kash Patel was a cen­tral fig­ure in the plots to keep Trump in office. A cen­tral fig­ure who was being active­ly ele­vat­ed inside the nation­al secu­ri­ty bureau­cra­cy after Trump lost: First, Trump replaces Mark Esper with coun­tert­er­ror­ism chief Chris Miller as Defense Sec­re­tary on Novem­ber 9, 2020, days after the elec­tion. But it was Trump’s deci­sion to appoint par­ti­san hack Kash Patel as Miller’s Chief of Staff that real­ly raised eye­brows. Then, short­ly after Trump’s par­don­ing of Michael Fly­nn on Novem­ber 20, both Fly­nn and Sid­ney Pow­ell con­tact­ed the then-deputy under­sec­re­tary of intel­li­gence Ezra Cohen-Wat­nick — who had also just been appoint­ed to that posi­tion by Trump days after the elec­tionimplor­ing Trump to take extreme mea­sures involv­ing the elec­tion. Fly­nn want­ed him to issue orders to have the mil­i­tary seize bal­lots. But it’s the request made by Pow­ell to Cohen-Wat­nick short­ly after Flynn’s call that is so inter­est­ing here: Pow­ell want­ed Cohen-Wat­nick to order some sort of mil­i­tary spe­cial forces raid to cap­ture Gina Haspel who had alleged­ly been injured dur­ing a secret mis­sion in Ger­many to destroy the servers used to steal the elec­tion from Trump. It was two week lat­er that Trump lit­er­al­ly ordered the replace­ment of Haspel’s deputy direc­tor with Patel, only to be dis­suad­ed at the very last minute, after the order had already been giv­en. And that move to make Patel the act­ing deputy direc­tor of the CIA appears to have been part of a move that could have seen Patel replace Haspel her­self as the head of the CIA. To top it all, Kash Patel’s text mes­sages on his gov­ern­ment phone dur­ing the post-elec­tion peri­od around Jan 6 were among the texts mes­sages that end­ed up lost dur­ing the botched phone archiv­ing fias­co that end­ed up result­ing in lost Secret Ser­vice texts too. Kash Patel was a key fig­ure in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s plot to steal the elec­tion. And as we’re going to see, Patel has been telling con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ences to expect a mas­sive Sched­ule F purge when Trump retakes the White House in 2025. Trump will — as a mat­ter of top pri­or­i­ty — go after the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus, “clean house” in the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the State Depart­ment, tar­get the “woke gen­er­als” at the Defense Depart­ment, and remove the top lay­ers of the Jus­tice Depart­ment and FBI. Accord­ing to Axios’s sources, if Patel could sur­vive Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion, there is a good chance Trump would make him CIA or FBI direc­tor. And if not, Patel would like­ly serve in a senior role in the White House. Patel is now report­ed­ly work­ing with the CRA on it’s ongo­ing Sched­ule F work.

* Mark Poalet­ta: A close fam­i­ly friend of Clarence and Gin­ni Thomas, Mark Poalet­ta has been join­ing Kash Patel in inform­ing con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ences about the plans to imple­ment Sched­ule F as soon as pos­si­ble.

* Stephen Miller: Trump’s senior advi­sor, Miller’s AFLF — formed months after he left the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2021 — is report­ed­ly gen­er­at­ing lists of poten­tial indi­vid­u­als filled with a “MAGA” fer­vor who can fill gen­er­al coun­sel jobs across the gov­ern­ment.

* Jef­frey Clark: Of all the fig­ures involved with the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion plot, few were more eager than Jef­frey Clark, then a Trump appointee in the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. Recall how Clark tried to get his boss fired at the DOJ so he could take their place and block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­toral vote. He was ready and will­ing to do it, And is seen as a top con­tender for Attor­ney Gen­er­al should Trump win re-elec­tion. Clark proved his loy­al­ty and a will­ing­ness to do what­ev­er it takes. Clark is report­ed­ly now work­ing with the CRA on its ongo­ing Sched­ule F work.

Two oth­er fig­ures who were deeply involved in the plot­ting lead­ing up to Jan 6 and then jumped over to the CPI were Cle­ta Mitchell and Mark Mead­ows. And while they don’t show up in the report­ing as being direct­ly involved with ongo­ing Sched­ule F plot­ting, their roles at the CPI sug­gest they will at least have some sort of behind the scenes role giv­en the CPI’s focus on this project:

* Cle­ta Mitchell: A Repub­li­can lawyer who has long oper­at­ed as one of the GOP’s long-stand­ing go-to con­ser­v­a­tive for jus­ti­fy­ing the worst kind of ger­ry­man­der­ing and vot­er sup­pres­sion tac­tics. Recall how Mitchell was sit­ting in on the now noto­ri­ous Jan 2, 2021 phone call Trump made to Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fens­burg­er demand­ing that they “find” the votes he need­ed to win the state, result­ing in Mitchell’s law firm effec­tive­ly kick­ing her out of the firm. Mitchell’s involve­ment in over­turn­ing the 2020 elec­tion arguably goes back to August of 2019, when she co-chaired a high-lev­el work­ing group that end­ed up advo­cat­ing for rad­i­cal read­ing of the con­sti­tu­tion that would enable state leg­is­la­tures to over­ride the pop­u­lar vote. After the elec­tion, Mitchell joined the Con­ser­v­a­tive Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (CPI) in March of 2021 to lead the orga­ni­za­tion’s ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts. And while Mitchell her­self is report­ed­ly going to be focused on the CPI’s ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts (mak­ing false vot­er fraud claims), the CPI is play­ing a cen­tral role in the Sched­ule F efforts and it’s hard to imag­ine she’s not going to be involved that key CPI focus.

* Mark Mead­ows: As Don­ald Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows was oper­at­ing at the heart of the post-elec­tion efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion inside the Trump White House. Recall how Mead­ows was charged with con­tempt of con­gress back in Decem­ber of 2021 over his refusal to answer con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors’ ques­tions, cit­ing exec­u­tive priv­i­lege. And while the Depart­ment of Jus­tice did ulti­mate­ly decide to not pros­e­cute Mead­ows on those con­tempt charges, that does­n’t mean Mead­ows isn’t an active fig­ure of inter­est in the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion. In fact, in mid-Sep­tem­ber, Mead­ows end­ed up hand­ing over to the DOJ the same doc­u­ments he pre­vi­ous­ly gave to the con­gres­sion­al Jan 6 inves­ti­ga­tion as part of the DOJ’s own sub­poe­na of Mead­ows. Mead­ows joined the CPI on Jan­u­ary 27, 2021, one week after the dark end of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. The CPI was the ‘first refuge of the scoundrel’ in this case.

The plot also involves a num­ber of CNP orga­ni­za­tions, some now famil­iar for their role in the plot to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion:

* The Con­ser­v­a­tive Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (CPI): The Con­ser­v­a­tive Pol­i­cy Insti­tute hired CNP-mem­ber Cle­ta Mitchell in March of 2021, where she pro­ceed­ed to help lead the cre­ation of the next gen­er­a­tion of the CNP’s ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts cen­tered around ampli­fy­ing the now main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive claims of wide­spread Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­er fraud. The CPI was keep­ing the Jan 6 torch alight. And as we’re going to see, the CPI is keep­ing the Sched­ule F torch alight too. It is deeply involved with Sched­ule F project. And much like how the CPI spawned Mitchel­l’s ‘Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work’ to exe­cute those ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts, we find the CPI ulti­mate­ly spawned in 2021 many of the oth­er enti­ties involved with Sched­ule F too. Specif­i­cal­ly, the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), the Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion (AFLF), and Amer­i­can Moment. 2021 was also the year Trump him­self blessed the CPI in a fundrais­ing let­ter as “help­ing to build out the vital infra­struc­ture we need to lead the Amer­i­ca First move­ment to new heights.” The CPI’s fundrais­ing explod­ed to $20 mil­lion with large con­tri­bu­tions from the con­ser­v­a­tive mega-donor net­works.

* The Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA): Found­ed by Trump Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get (OMB) direc­tor Russ Vought — but real­ly one of the CPI’s many spin­offs — the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA) appears to be ded­i­cat­ed to wag­ing cul­ture wars. But the CRA has anoth­er major project: Sched­ule F. It’s no sur­prise. As Trump’s final OMB direc­tor, Vought was the one agency head to put Sched­ule F into effect in the wan­ing months of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. The mass fir­ings nev­er mate­ri­al­ized, but only because there was­n’t a sec­ond Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Vought pro­posed reas­sign­ing 88% of the agency work­force as Sched­ule F employ­ees. Note that Russ Vought’s Wife, Mary Vought, shows up on the leaked CNP mem­ber list as an ‘assumed mem­ber’. So whether or not she’s actu­al­ly a mem­ber, she appar­ent­ly works so close­ly with the CNP that every­one just assumes she’s one. Oth­er CRA senior fel­lows involved with the Sched­ule F efforts include Jef­frey Clark, Kash Patel, Ken Cuc­cinel­li and Mark Pao­let­ta. Jef­frey Clark land­ed a posi­tion at the CRA after leav­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and is work­ing on Sched­ule F efforts.

* The Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI): Anoth­er “Amer­i­ca First” brand­ed Trumpian enti­ty, the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI) is already involved with the GOP’s var­i­ous ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts. The AFPI, sim­i­lar­ly, has its own Cen­ter for Elec­tion Integri­ty chaired by CNP mem­ber Ken­neth Black­well. The AFPI is run by Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor Brooke Rollins and is filled with for­mer Trump staffers. Michael Rigas — who ran Trump’s Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment — was cho­sen to lead AFPI’s 2025 per­son­nel project. Trump’s PAC gave the group $1 mil­lion in June 2021.

* The Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion (AFLF): Found­ed by senior advi­sor Trump Stephen Miller months after Trump left office (but actu­al­ly anoth­er CPI spin­off), the role the AFLF appears to play­ing in the Sched­ule F effort is focused on iden­ti­fy­ing fig­ures who can fill gen­er­al coun­sel jobs across the gov­ern­ment. Specif­i­cal­ly, gen­er­al coun­sels who will aggres­sive­ly imple­ment Trump’s agen­da.

* Amer­i­can Moment: Anoth­er CPI spin­off, Amer­i­can Moment was found­ed by Saurabh Shar­ma, the 24-year-old for­mer head of the Young Con­ser­v­a­tives of Texas. And yes, Shar­ma is a report­ed mem­ber of the CNP. Amer­i­can Moment is ded­i­cat­ed to the idea of ‘restaffing the gov­ern­ment’. Ohio Sen­a­tor-elect JD Vance serves on its board. Dozens of infor­mal tal­ent scouts teams have been sent out to col­lege cam­pus­es — from “cer­tain Ivies with reac­tionary sub­cul­tures” to “nor­mal con­ser­v­a­tive schools” like Hills­dale Col­lege to “reli­gious­ly affil­i­at­ed lib­er­al arts schools.” — look­ing for poten­tial can­di­dates to fill those gov­ern­ment slots after the Sched­ule F mass fir­ings.

* The Per­son­nel Pol­i­cy Orga­ni­za­tion (PPO): A ‘non­prof­it’ led by John McEntee’s for­mer staff includ­ing Troup Hemen­way and staffed with oth­er for­mer mem­bers of Trump’s OPM under McEn­tee, the PPO start­ed by John McEn­tee is report­ed­ly play­ing a lead­ing role in the vet­ting of lists of poten­tial hires. It does­n’t sound like the PPO is going to be gen­er­at­ing lists of poten­tial hires on its own but instead will be play­ing a ‘qual­i­ty con­trol’ role in the vet­ting of lists gen­er­at­ed by oth­er groups work­ing on the Sched­ule F effort. In oth­er words, John McEn­tee is still lead­ing the Sched­ule F efforts but it’s a more indi­rect lead­ing role now.

* The Her­itage Foun­da­tion: The long-stand­ing icon of the Con­ser­v­a­tive ‘estab­lish­ment’, the Her­itage Foun­da­tion has moved in a decid­ed ‘Amer­i­ca First’ direc­tion in recent years, even more so under the new lead­er­ship of CNP-mem­ber Kevin Roberts. Recall how Roberts is also a mem­ber of the “Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schol­ars” (NAS) and the CEO of the Texas Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Foun­da­tion (TPPF). Also recall how the NAS and Roberts have been work­ing on the “Amer­i­can Birthright” school cur­ricu­lum project that is filled with CNP mem­bers. Final­ly, recall how the TPPF was found to be run­ning the “79 Days report” elec­tion sim­u­la­tions in the final weeks of the 2020 elec­tion in coor­di­na­tion with the Clare­mont Insti­tute. The Clare­mont Insti­tute hap­pens to have John East­man, one of the cen­tral fig­ures in devel­op­ing legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the events that led up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Plus, the Her­itage Foun­da­tion was a “meet­ing spon­sor” of CNP’s 2022 annu­al con­fer­ence. CNP-mem­ber Kevin Roberts appears to be com­mit­ted to keep­ing the Her­itage Foun­da­tion close­ly aligned with the Trump agen­da. And that includes its ongo­ing efforts to help fill the staffing lists of whichev­er Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion is next occu­py­ing the White House. While the Her­itage Foun­da­tion’s staffing project isn’t for­mal­ly part of the ongo­ing Trump-aligned Sched­ule F plan­ning efforts, it’s clear­ly coor­di­nat­ing with the over­all effort. Because of course it is. The Her­itage Foun­da­tion isn’t the type of enti­ty that’s going to pass up the enor­mous oppor­tu­ni­ty to influ­ence a mass purg­ing of the fed­er­al work­force. As we’re going to see, Andrew Kloster, a senior gov­ern­ment lawyer pre­vi­ous­ly at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, was a key fig­ure in the Trump White House­’s Sched­ule F plan­ning.

These are just some of the fig­ures involved with a plot that was put into effect and poised to explode had Trump remained in office. He tried to stay in office. Boy did he try. And boy did he have help. Exten­sive Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy help. One CNP mem­ber after anoth­er. The Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion was as much a CNP oper­a­tion as it was a Trump-world scheme. The Sched­ule F plot is no dif­fer­ent. It’s one Trump world fig­ure after anoth­er and one CNP fig­ure after anoth­er help­ing to birth the plot and keep it alive and ready to put into action when the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion comes into office. It’s that sto­ry of an ongo­ing Trump-world/C­NP plot that we’re going to cov­er in this post. A plot birthed in secret in that Trump admin­is­tra­tion, par­tial­ly put into effect in Trump’s final months, and con­tin­u­ing to evolve today in prepa­ra­tion for a Sched­ule F mass fir­ing blitzkrieg right out of the gates at the begin­ning of the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion.

Here’s a quick review of the arti­cles we’re going to be review­ing in this post:

* July 22, 2022: A rad­i­cal plan for Trump’s sec­ond term

The first of Jonathan Swan’s pair of giant Axios exposés on the Sched­ule F plot, the piece lays out the ori­gins of the plot and the key fig­ures involved. And as makes clear, while the groups behind the Sched­ule F effort clear­ly have an “Amer­i­ca First” MAGA ori­en­ta­tion, this is far from a MAGA-exclu­sive move­ment with the CNP’s fin­ger­prints all over it. And that broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­men­t’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the effort — ongo­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion — under­score how the Sched­ule F plot isn’t just the plan for the next Trump admin­is­tra­tion. It’s the plan for the next Repub­li­can pres­i­dent, who­ev­er that ends up being. Three groups appear to be lead­ing that ongo­ing effort: the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI), and the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI). Oth­er groups involved include the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and Stephen Miller’s AFLF, which will both be involved with the gen­er­a­tion of can­di­date lists, and Amer­i­can Moment, which will be focus­ing on find­ing con­ser­v­a­tive job can­di­dates on cam­pus­es across Amer­i­ca. Expect the incom­ing army of loy­al­ists to be a lit­tle wet behind the ears. And then there’s John McEn­tee’s PPO, which will be con­duct­ing qual­i­ty con­trol on those lists. It’s sprawl­ing mul­ti-insti­tu­tion effort but the PPO will ensure it’s not too sprawl­ing.

* July 23, 2022: Trump’s revenge

As Jonathan Swan’s giant fol­low up piece on the Sched­ule F plot makes clear, while the ongo­ing plan­ning around Sched­ule F is being car­ried out in a man­ner that could be put into action for whichev­er Repub­li­can next finds their way into the White House, there’s going to be anoth­er dimen­sion to Sched­ule F’s roll­out should that next Repub­li­can be Don­ald Trump. A dimen­sion of seething revenge against Trump’s list of ene­mies. Which is obvi­ous­ly a very long list. Much revenge is called for. So much revenge. Sched­ule F is going to need an army of loy­al peo­ple ready to not just fill posts but also loy­al peo­ple will­ing to fire all the cur­rent employ­ees in the first place. It was in ear­ly 2020, short­ly after his impeach­ment acquit­tal in the Sen­ate, when Trump made the stun­ning deci­sion to hire McEn­tee — his for­mer body­man who was fired in 2018 by then-chief of staff John Kel­ly — to lead the White House Office of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel. And serv­ing up revenge against Trump’s insti­tu­tion­al ene­mies, real and per­ceived, was exact­ly what Trump hired him to do. As the arti­cle also describes, the Sched­ule F plot was already almost a year old by that point. It was Jan­u­ary of 2019 when James Sherk — a for­mer Her­itage Foun­da­tion ide­o­logue work­ing on Trump’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil — found the legal loop­hole he and many oth­ers in the Trump had long been look­ing for: a bureau­crat­ic loop­hole that would allow the admin­is­tra­tion to fire fed­er­al career employ­ees. In par­tic­u­lar those career employ­ees who refuse to go along with the MAGA agen­da, damn the law and reg­u­la­tions. Trump want­ed to fill the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy with an army of loy­al MAGA diehards and after Sherk pro­vid­ed him with the legal tools he need­ed to pull it off he picked a favorite body­man to make it hap­pen. Trump want­ed a revenge purge after his impeach­ment tri­al and Sched­ule F was the weapon of choice. Which is exact­ly what McEn­tee did, hir­ing fig­ures like Andrew Kloster who went on to devel­op a ques­tion­naire to vet gov­ern­ment employ­ees for their ‘MAGA’ atti­tude. Sched­ule F became a top admin­is­tra­tion secret before Trump signed it into effect on Oct. 21, 2020, two weeks before the elec­tion. It does­n’t sound like many agency heads took Trump’s Sched­ule F order seri­ous­ly, with one note­able excep­tion: Russ Vought, who was then the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get (OMB) direc­tor before mov­ing on to found the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), which is help­ing to car­ry on the Sched­ule F work into 2025. And that’s real­ly the take-home mes­sage of this impor­tant piece: Sched­ule F may have start­ed as a Trump revenge plot, but it’s going to be ready for any Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion, Trump or not.

* July 10, 2022: Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute: The Trump-aligned $19.7M Insti­tu­tion Cre­at­ing “Amer­i­ca First” Polit­i­cal Infra­struc­ture:

An impor­tant report by Documented.net cov­er­ing two major new devel­op­ments at the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI): 1. An explo­sion of mega-donor dona­tions to the CPI, includ­ing an high­ly unusu­al $1 mil­lion from Trump’s noto­ri­ous­ly stingy Save Amer­i­ca PAC. And 2. The large num­ber of MAGA-ori­ent­ed CPI spin­off groups that have already been cre­at­ed. Eight new groups launched in 2021, includ­ing a num­ber of groups involved with the ongo­ing Sched­ule F plot. Groups like Russ Vought’s Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), Stephen Miller’s Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion (AFLF), and Saurabh Shar­ma’s Amer­i­can Moment. The CNP’s CPI was hav­ing a ban­ner year, and much of that was in prepa­ra­tion for a big Sched­ule F sur­prise in 2025.

* June 24, 2022: How Mark Mead­ows’ non­prof­it ben­e­fit­ed from Trump’s ‘Big Ripoff’

This report piece by Fac­ing South puts that $1 mil­lion dona­tion to the CPI by Trump’s Save Amer­i­ca PAC and the eight new spin­off CPI groups in an impor­tant con­text: The near­ly $20 mil­lion the CPI brought in in 2021 was fueled by Trump’s per­son­al endorse­ment in a fundrais­ing let­ter, in which he said CPI is “help­ing to build out the vital infra­struc­ture we need to lead the Amer­i­ca First move­ment to new heights.” Trump is per­son­al­ly giv­ing the CPI — a thor­ough­ly CNP-dom­i­nat­ed enti­ty — the “Amer­i­can First” pati­na, and it result­ed in a flood of mega-donor cash ded­i­cat­ed to build­ing the infra­struc­ture. Which will pre­sum­ably be infra­struc­ture ded­i­cat­ed to purg­ing the gov­ern­ment and stack­ing it with loy­al­ists. But also infra­struc­ture like the Elec­tion Integri­ty Insti­tute, one of the CPI’s 2021 spin­offs found­ed by CNP mem­ber — and cen­tral Jan 6 fig­ure — Cle­ta Mitchell. And with both Mitchell and Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows — anoth­er cen­tral fig­ure in the Jan 6 plot — both join­ing the CPI in ear­ly 2021 it’s look­ing like the CPI is posi­tioned to be a kind of MAGA-moth­er­ship for Trump should he run in 2024. A CNP-dom­i­nat­ed MAGA-moth­er­ship that’s been invest­ing a lot of time and mon­ey into get­ting bet­ter at claim­ing elec­tion fraud. But the elec­tion fraud is just step 1. Step 2 is a mass purge of the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy that the Trump move­ment did­n’t know how to do in 2017. But they know how they’ll do it now. The abil­i­ty to foment elec­tion denial­ism is a major piece of the ‘Amer­i­ca First infra­struc­ture’ head­ing into 2025. But imple­ment­ing that Sched­ule F fed­er­al blitzkrieg on non-loy­al­ists in the fed­er­al work­force is the oth­er big new piece of Amer­i­ca First infra­struc­ture.

* Octo­ber 24, 2022: Cur­tis Yarvin wants Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy top­pled. He has some promi­nent Repub­li­can fans

The US polit­i­cal sys­tem was already look­ing like it was poised for an anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­as­ter just two weeks before the recent 2022 US midterms. And then Vox pub­lished an inter­view that makes clear how much more omi­nous the sit­u­a­tion real­ly is. Because as the inter­view of Cur­tis Yarvin aka Men­cius Mold­bug — the god­fa­ther of the Dark Enlight­en­ment — reminds us, any plot to purge the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of non-MAGA loy­al­ists is real­ly just an open­ing plot. The rev­o­lu­tion will only accel­er­ate at that point. A rev­o­lu­tion that Yarvin has spent A LOT of time think­ing about. A talk­ing about. And writ­ing about. As we’ve seen, in addi­tion to Yarv­in’s role as a kind of ide­o­log­i­cal fel­low trav­el­er of Peter Thiel and an influ­ence on the Seast­eading move­ment, Yarvin is also report­ed­ly close to CNP-mem­ber Steve Ban­non, cre­at­ing a backchan­nel between Yarvin and the Trump White House. Yarvin and Ban­non even worked togeth­er to turn Bri­et­bart into a main­stream­ing vehi­cle for the ‘Alt Right’. As the piece describes, after the Clare­mont Insti­tute start­ed pub­lish­ing Yarv­in’s writ­ings in 2019, all of that think­ing and writ­ing about how to end democ­ra­cy start­ed going main­stream. At least main­stream in the kind of elite con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles at places like the Clare­mont Insti­tute where the future of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment is for­mu­lat­ed. Yarvin has fans. Promi­nent fans includ­ing Sen­a­tor-elect JD Vance, who was one of the two GOP Sen­ate can­di­dates heav­i­ly backed by ‘Alt Right’ sug­ar-dad­dy — and a grow­ing GOP sug­ar-dad­dy — Peter Thiel. Recall how Vance serves on the board of Amer­i­can Moment, one of the CPI spin­off groups involved with the ongo­ing Sched­ule F efforts. It turns out Vance is VERY inter­est­ed Sched­ule F. Cur­tis Yarvin-style Sched­ule F that effec­tive­ly ends what’s left of the US’s demo­c­ra­t­ic checks and bal­ances. Yes, dur­ing a Sep­tem­ber 2021 appear­ance on a con­ser­v­a­tive pod­cast, Vance start­ed talk­ing about how, should Don­ald Trump win a sec­ond term, he should “seize the insti­tu­tions of the left,” fire “every sin­gle midlev­el bureau­crat” in the US gov­ern­ment, “replace them with our peo­ple,” and defy the Supreme Court if it tries to stop him. Vance then told the audi­ence that he got these ideas from Yarvin. So Vance was basi­cal­ly call­ing for the full blown imple­men­ta­tion of Sched­ule F, but with the added twist that the courts should just be ignored if they get in the way. Now, giv­en the cur­rent make­up of the Supreme Court, it’s not hard to imag­ine that Trump would find rather tepid resis­tance from the Supreme Court for much of this plot. But let’s not assum­ing that the peo­ple behind this scheme aren’t plan­ning some­thing so extreme that even a major­i­ty of the Supreme Court oppos­es it. There’s a plan for that sce­nario. Ignore the courts. That was one of the ideas Vance took from Cur­tis Yarv­in’s plans for imple­ment­ing a kind of super Sched­ule F that for­mal­ly ends democ­ra­cy alto­geth­er. Some­one should just declare con­trol over all US insti­tu­tions, fire all non-loy­al­ists, and just take over. State and local gov­ern­ments — where Democ­rats will often be in pow­er — should just be dis­solved. Just a for­mal end to democ­ra­cy in the form of takeover blitzkrieg. Elite media and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions could just be shut down. If the courts get in the way they will be demot­ed to an advi­so­ry sta­tus. And to cir­cum­vent Con­gress, Yarvin says the new Cae­sar can install their allies at the Fed­er­al Reserve and fund the gov­ern­ment via the Fed. Yarvin is con­vinced this whole sce­nario be a pop­u­lar move. Peo­ple are just sick of democ­ra­cy not work­ing and they’re ready for some­thing new. The new dic­ta­tor could even direct street mobs of sup­ports with things like phone apps. He even sug­gests some­one should run for office on the plat­form, per­haps as ear­ly as 2024. And while Yarvin does­n’t actu­al­ly refer to Sched­ule F in the Vox inter­view, it’s pret­ty clear that the sce­nar­ios he’s talk­ing about would at least start with the aggres­sive imple­men­ta­tion of a Sched­ule F mass purge across the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. The full blown end­ing of democ­ra­cy and author­i­tar­i­an takeover would­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to hap­pen after you purge the gov­ern­ment of all non-loy­al­ists. But it will be a lot eas­i­er.

Those are the five arti­cle excerpts we’re going to be look­ing at in this post.

The Plan to Go ‘Jan 6’ on the Federal Labor Laws

Ok, Let’s start off with Jonathan Swan’s enor­mous first report detail­ing the array of insti­tu­tions and fig­ures who have at this point spent years work­ing on this plan. It’s a remark­able report for a num­ber of rea­sons, but per­haps the most sur­pris­ing part is that so many of the fig­ures involved with the ongo­ing Sched­ule F schem­ing are open­ly talk­ing about their big plans to an Axios reporter at all. They’re so open about their plans that Swan had to break it down into two mam­moth reports. This whole Axios series was like a Sched­ule F com­ing out par­ty. Or, rather, the Com­ing Out par­ty: Part One. It was a long par­ty.

And while it’s at clear that the Sched­ule F plot start­ed in the MAGA world and remains a MAGA project, it’s not just a MAGA effort. As we’re going to see, it’s one CNP fig­ure after anoth­er after anoth­er, mak­ing Sched­ule F a vehi­cle for the ongo­ing fusion of Trump­ism with the Repub­li­can par­ty’s theo­crat­ic pow­er base. When the purge comes it’s going to be a MAGA-CNP group effort:

Axios
Inside Trump ’25

A rad­i­cal plan for Trump’s sec­ond term

Jonathan Swan
Jul 22, 2022 — Pol­i­tics & Pol­i­cy

For­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s top allies are prepar­ing to rad­i­cal­ly reshape the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment if he is re-elect­ed, purg­ing poten­tial­ly thou­sands of civ­il ser­vants and fill­ing career posts with loy­al­ists to him and his “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy, peo­ple involved in the dis­cus­sions tell Axios.

The impact could go well beyond typ­i­cal con­ser­v­a­tive tar­gets such as the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice. Trump allies are work­ing on plans that would poten­tial­ly strip lay­ers at the Jus­tice Depart­ment — includ­ing the FBI, and reach­ing into nation­al secu­ri­ty, intel­li­gence, the State Depart­ment and the Pen­ta­gon, sources close to the for­mer pres­i­dent say.

Dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy, Trump often com­plained about what he called “the deep state.”

The heart of the plan is derived from an exec­u­tive order known as “Sched­ule F,” devel­oped and refined in secret over most of the sec­ond half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 elec­tion.

The report­ing for this series draws on exten­sive inter­views over a peri­od of more than three months with more than two dozen peo­ple close to the for­mer pres­i­dent, and oth­ers who have first­hand knowl­edge of the work under­way to pre­pare for a poten­tial sec­ond term. Most spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to describe sen­si­tive plan­ning and avoid Trump’s ire.

*****

As Trump pub­licly flirts with a 2024 come­back cam­paign, this plan­ning is qui­et­ly flour­ish­ing from Mar-a-Lago to Wash­ing­ton — with his bless­ing but with­out the knowl­edge of some peo­ple in his orbit.

Trump remains dis­tract­ed by his obses­sion with con­test­ing the 2020 elec­tion results. But he has endorsed the work of sev­er­al groups to prime an admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing. Per­son­nel and action plans would be exe­cut­ed in the first 100 days of a sec­ond term start­ing on Jan. 20, 2025.

Their work could accel­er­ate con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­cy and enforce­ment changes, but also enable revenge tours against real or per­ceived ene­mies, and poten­tial­ly insu­late the pres­i­dent and allies from inves­ti­ga­tion or pros­e­cu­tion.

They intend to stack thou­sands of mid-lev­el staff jobs. Well-fund­ed groups are already devel­op­ing lists of can­di­dates select­ed often for their ani­mus against the sys­tem — in line with Trump’s long-run­ning obses­sion with drain­ing “the swamp.” This includes build­ing exten­sive data­bas­es of peo­ple vet­ted as being com­mit­ted to Trump and his agen­da.

The prepa­ra­tions are far more advanced and ambi­tious than pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. What is hap­pen­ing now is an inver­sion of the slap­dash and vir­tu­al­ly non-exis­tent infra­struc­ture sur­round­ing Trump ahead of his 2017 pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

These groups are oper­at­ing on mul­ti­ple fronts: shap­ing poli­cies, iden­ti­fy­ing top lieu­tenants, curat­ing an alter­na­tive labor force of unprece­dent­ed scale, and prepar­ing for legal chal­lenges and defens­es that might go before Trump-friend­ly judges, all the way to a 6–3 Supreme Court.

*****

The cen­ter­piece

Trump signed an exec­u­tive order, “Cre­at­ing Sched­ule F in the Except­ed Ser­vice,” in Octo­ber 2020, which estab­lished a new employ­ment cat­e­go­ry for fed­er­al employ­ees. It received wide media cov­er­age for a short peri­od, then was large­ly for­got­ten in the may­hem and after­math of Jan. 6 — and quick­ly was rescind­ed by Pres­i­dent Biden.

Sources close to Trump say that if he were elect­ed to a sec­ond term, he would imme­di­ate­ly reim­pose it.

Tens of thou­sands of civ­il ser­vants who serve in roles deemed to have some influ­ence over pol­i­cy would be reas­signed as “Sched­ule F” employ­ees. Upon reas­sign­ment, they would lose their employ­ment pro­tec­tions.

New pres­i­dents typ­i­cal­ly get to replace more than 4,000 so-called “polit­i­cal” appointees to over­see the run­ning of their admin­is­tra­tions. But below this rotat­ing lay­er of polit­i­cal appointees sits a mass of gov­ern­ment work­ers who enjoy strong employ­ment pro­tec­tions — and typ­i­cal­ly con­tin­ue their ser­vice from one admin­is­tra­tion to the next, regard­less of the president’s par­ty affil­i­a­tion.

An ini­tial esti­mate by the Trump offi­cial who came up with Sched­ule F found it could apply to as many as 50,000 fed­er­al work­ers — a frac­tion of a work­force of more than 2 mil­lion, but a seg­ment with a pro­found role in shap­ing Amer­i­can life.

Trump, in the­o­ry, could fire tens of thou­sands of career gov­ern­ment offi­cials with no recourse for appeals. He could replace them with peo­ple he believes are more loy­al to him and to his “Amer­i­ca First” agen­da.

Even if Trump did not deploy Sched­ule F to this extent, the very fact that such pow­er exists could cre­ate a sig­nif­i­cant chill­ing effect on gov­ern­ment employ­ees.

It would effec­tive­ly upend the mod­ern civ­il ser­vice, trig­ger­ing a shock wave across the bureau­cra­cy. The next pres­i­dent might then move to gut those pro-Trump ranks — and face the ques­tion of whether to replace them with her or his own loy­al­ists, or revert to a tra­di­tion­al bureau­cra­cy.

Such pen­du­lum swings and politi­ciza­tion could threat­en the con­ti­nu­ity and qual­i­ty of ser­vice to tax­pay­ers, the reg­u­la­to­ry pro­tec­tions, the checks on exec­u­tive pow­er, and oth­er aspects of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy.

Trump’s allies claim such pen­du­lum swings will not hap­pen because they will not have to fire any­thing close to 50,000 fed­er­al work­ers to achieve the result, as one source put it, of “behav­ior change.” Fir­ing a small­er seg­ment of “bad apples” among the career offi­cials at each agency would have the desired chill­ing effect on oth­ers tempt­ed to obstruct Trump’s orders.

They say Sched­ule F will final­ly end the “farce” of a non­par­ti­san civ­il ser­vice that they say has been filled with activist lib­er­als who have been under­min­ing GOP pres­i­dents for decades.

Unions and Democ­rats would be expect­ed to imme­di­ate­ly fight a Sched­ule F order. But Trump’s advis­ers like their chances in a judi­cial sys­tem now dom­i­nat­ed at its high­est lev­els by con­ser­v­a­tives.

Rep. Ger­ry Con­nol­ly (D‑Va.), who chairs the sub­com­mit­tee that over­sees the fed­er­al civ­il ser­vice, is among a small group of law­mak­ers who nev­er stopped wor­ry­ing about Sched­ule F, even after Biden rescind­ed the order. Con­nol­ly has been so alarmed that he attached an amend­ment to this year’s defense bill to pre­vent a future pres­i­dent from res­ur­rect­ing Sched­ule F. The House passed Connolly’s amend­ment but Repub­li­cans hope to block it in the Sen­ate.

******

Machine-in-wait­ing

No oper­a­tion of this scale is pos­si­ble with­out the machin­ery to imple­ment it. To that end, Trump has blessed a string of con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions linked to advis­ers he cur­rent­ly trusts and calls on. Most of these con­ser­v­a­tive groups host senior fig­ures from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion on their pay­roll, includ­ing for­mer chief of staff Mark Mead­ows.

The names are a mix of famil­iar and new. They include Jef­frey Clark, the con­tro­ver­sial lawyer Trump had want­ed to install as attor­ney gen­er­al in the end days of his pres­i­den­cy. Clark, who advo­cat­ed a plan to con­test the 2020 elec­tion results, is now in the crosshairs of the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee and the FBI. Clark is work­ing at the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), the group found­ed by Russ Vought, the for­mer head of Trump’s Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get.

For­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion and tran­si­tion offi­cials work­ing on per­son­nel, legal or pol­i­cy projects for a poten­tial 2025 gov­ern­ment include names like Vought, Mead­ows, Stephen Miller, Ed Cor­ri­g­an, Wes­ley Den­ton, Brooke Rollins, James Sherk, Andrew Kloster and Troup Hemen­way.

Oth­ers, who remain close to Trump and would be in con­tention for the most senior roles in a sec­ond-term admin­is­tra­tion, include Dan Scav­i­no, John McEn­tee, Richard Grenell, Kash Patel, Robert O’Brien, David Bern­hardt, John Rat­cliffe, Peter Navar­ro and Pam Bon­di.

Fol­low­ing splits from some of his past swathe of loy­al advis­ers, Trump has tight­ened his cir­cle. The Flori­da-based strate­gist Susie Wiles is Trump’s top polit­i­cal advis­er. She runs his per­son­al office and his polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee. When he con­tem­plates endorse­ments, Trump has often attached weight to the views of his for­mer White House polit­i­cal direc­tor Bri­an Jack, poll­ster Tony Fab­rizio, and his son Don­ald Trump Jr. He often con­sults anoth­er GOP poll­ster, John McLaugh­lin. For com­mu­ni­ca­tions and press inquiries Trump calls on Tay­lor Budowich and Liz Har­ring­ton. Jason Miller remains in the mix.

...

The advo­ca­cy groups who have effec­tive­ly become exten­sions of the Trump infra­struc­ture include the CRA, the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI), and the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI).

Oth­er groups — while not for­mal­ly con­nect­ed to Trump’s oper­a­tion — have hired key lieu­tenants and are effec­tive­ly serv­ing his ends. The Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the lega­cy con­ser­v­a­tive group, has moved clos­er to Trump under its new pres­i­dent, Kevin Roberts, and is build­ing links to oth­er parts of the “Amer­i­ca First” move­ment.

Sources who spoke to Axios paint a vivid pic­ture of how the back­room plans are tak­ing shape, start­ing with a series of inter­ac­tions in Flori­da ear­li­er this year, on April 28.

*****

Trump’s new tar­gets

On that warm spring night in April, an arma­da of black Escalades drove through the rain from a West Palm Beach hotel to Don­ald Trump’s Mediter­ranean-style pri­vate club.

...

Inside, near the bar past the patio, a bald­ing man with dra­mat­i­cal­ly arched eye­brows was the cen­ter of atten­tion at a cock­tail table. He was dis­cussing the top-lev­el staffing of the Jus­tice Depart­ment if Trump were to regain the pres­i­den­cy in 2025.

With a back­ground as an envi­ron­men­tal lawyer, Jef­frey Clark, a vet­er­an of George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion, was unknown to the pub­lic until ear­ly 2021. By the end of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, he was serv­ing as the act­ing head of the Jus­tice Department’s civ­il divi­sion — although oth­er DOJ lead­ers paid him lit­tle atten­tion. But Trump, des­per­ate to over­turn the elec­tion, wel­comed Clark, the only senior offi­cial will­ing to apply the full weight of the Jus­tice Depart­ment to con­test­ing Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry, into his inner cir­cle.

In Feb­ru­ary of this year, Clark repeat­ed­ly assert­ed his Fifth Amend­ment rights against self-incrim­i­na­tion dur­ing a depo­si­tion with the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee. And in the ear­ly hours of June 22, fed­er­al agents with an elec­tron­ics-sniff­ing dog in tow arrived at Clark’s Vir­ginia home to exe­cute a search war­rant and seize his devices.

But back in April, as Clark cir­cu­lat­ed at Mar-a-Lago wear­ing a loose-fit­ting black suit and blue shirt, any trou­bles relat­ed to the Jan. 6 inves­ti­ga­tion seemed a world away. Clark sound­ed opti­mistic. Half a dozen or so donors and Trump allies sur­round­ed him at the high-top table.

One of the donors asked Clark what he thought would hap­pen with the Jus­tice Depart­ment if Trump won the 2024 elec­tion. Con­vey­ing the air of a deep con­fi­dant, Clark respond­ed that he thought Trump had learned his les­son.

In a sec­ond term, Clark pre­dict­ed, Trump would nev­er appoint an attor­ney gen­er­al who was not com­plete­ly on board with his agen­da.

There was a buzz around Clark. Giv­en Trump want­ed to make him attor­ney gen­er­al in the final days of his first term, it is like­ly that Clark would be a seri­ous con­tender for the top job in a sec­ond term.

By this stage in the evening, more than a hun­dred peo­ple were crammed onto the Mar-a-Lago patio. They were a mix of wealthy polit­i­cal donors and allies of the for­mer pres­i­dent and they had come to see Trump him­self bless Russ Vought’s orga­ni­za­tion, the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca.

Vought was a pol­i­cy wonk who became one of Trump’s most trust­ed offi­cials. Before join­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2017 as deputy direc­tor of the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get — and ulti­mate­ly going on to run the agency — Vought had a long career in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy cir­cles.

That includ­ed a stint as exec­u­tive direc­tor and bud­get direc­tor of the Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee — the largest bloc of House con­ser­v­a­tives — and as the pol­i­cy direc­tor for the House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence.

Trump was help­ing raise mon­ey for Vought’s CRA, which has been busi­ly devel­op­ing many of the pol­i­cy and admin­is­tra­tive plans that would like­ly form the foun­da­tion for a sec­ond-term Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

...

In those closed-door ses­sions, Trump con­fi­dants, includ­ing for­mer senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials, dis­cussed the mis­takes they had made in the first term that would need to be cor­rect­ed if they regained pow­er.

They agreed it was not just the “deep state” career bureau­crats who need­ed to be replaced. Often, the for­mer Trump offi­cials said, their biggest prob­lems were with the polit­i­cal peo­ple that Trump him­self had regret­tably appoint­ed. Nev­er again should Trump hire peo­ple like his for­mer chief of staff John Kel­ly, his for­mer defense sec­re­taries, James Mat­tis and Mark Esper, his CIA direc­tor Gina Haspel, and vir­tu­al­ly the entire lead­er­ship of every iter­a­tion of Trump’s Jus­tice Depart­ment.

Short­ly after noon, Kash Patel entered The Ben’s ball­room. Donors and Trump allies sat class­room-style at long rec­tan­gu­lar tables in a room with beau­ti­ful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The group was treat­ed to a con­ver­sa­tion between Patel and Mark Pao­let­ta, a for­mer senior Trump admin­is­tra­tion lawyer with a rep­u­ta­tion for find­ing lat­er­al ways to accom­plish Trump’s goals. The Patel-Pao­let­ta pan­el dis­cus­sion was titled, “Bat­tling the Deep State.”

Pao­let­ta was a close fam­i­ly friend and promi­nent pub­lic defend­er of Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Gin­ni Thomas. Through­out the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Gin­ni Thomas had tak­en a strong inter­est in admin­is­tra­tion per­son­nel. She com­plained to White House offi­cials, includ­ing Trump him­self, that Trump’s peo­ple were obstruct­ing “MAGA” offi­cials from being appoint­ed to key roles in the admin­is­tra­tion.

As Axios pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, Gin­ni Thomas had assem­bled detailed lists of dis­loy­al gov­ern­ment offi­cials to oust — and trust­ed pro-Trump peo­ple to replace them.

...

Patel had enjoyed an extra­or­di­nary rise from obscu­ri­ty to pow­er dur­ing the Trump era. Over the course of only a few years, he went from being a lit­tle-known Capi­tol Hill staffer to one of the most pow­er­ful fig­ures in the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus.

He found favor with Trump by work­ing for Devin Nunes when he played a cen­tral role in the GOP’s scruti­ny of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s Rus­sia inves­ti­ga­tion. Patel was the key author of a memo in which Nunes accused the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the FBI of abus­ing sur­veil­lance laws as part of a polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed effort to take down Trump.

Some of Nunes’ and Patel’s crit­i­cisms of the DOJ’s actions were lat­er val­i­dat­ed by an inspec­tor gen­er­al, and Trump came to view Patel as one of his most loy­al agents. He put him on his Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil and made him the Pen­ta­gon chief of staff.

In one aston­ish­ing but ill-fat­ed plan, Trump had want­ed to install Patel as either the deputy direc­tor of the CIA or the FBI late in his admin­is­tra­tion. He aban­doned this only after vehe­ment oppo­si­tion and warn­ings from senior offi­cials includ­ing Haspel and for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bill Barr, who wrote in his own mem­oir that he told then-chief of staff Mark Mead­ows that Patel becom­ing deputy FBI direc­tor would hap­pen “over my dead body.”

Nev­er again would Trump acqui­esce to such warn­ings. Patel has only grown clos­er to the for­mer pres­i­dent since he left office. Over the past year, Patel has dis­played enough con­fi­dence to lever­age his fame as a Trump insid­er — estab­lish­ing an online store sell­ing self-brand­ed mer­chan­dise with “K$H” base­ball caps and “Fight With Kash” zip-up fleeces.

...

He also set up the Kash Patel Legal Offense Trust to raise mon­ey to sue jour­nal­ists. He recent­ly authored an illus­trat­ed children’s book about the Rus­sia inves­ti­ga­tion in which “King Don­ald” is a char­ac­ter per­se­cut­ed by “Hillary Queen­ton and her shifty knight.” Trump char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly gave it his impri­matur, declar­ing he want­ed to “put this amaz­ing book in every school in Amer­i­ca.”

Dur­ing that April 28 dis­cus­sion at The Ben, Patel por­trayed the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., as malev­o­lent­ly cor­rupt. He claimed the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty had delib­er­ate­ly with­held impor­tant nation­al secu­ri­ty infor­ma­tion from Trump.

Accord­ing to two peo­ple in the room, Patel told the audi­ence he had advised Trump to fire senior offi­cials in the Jus­tice Depart­ment and he lament­ed the appoint­ments of Deputy Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rod Rosen­stein and FBI direc­tor Christo­pher Wray. Pao­let­ta also recount­ed to the audi­ence instances in which Trump offi­cials refused or slow-walked law­ful direc­tives because they dis­agreed with the for­mer president’s poli­cies.

Patel’s mes­sage to the audi­ence was that things would be dif­fer­ent next time. A source in the room said lat­er the take­away from the ses­sion was that if Trump took office in 2025, he would tar­get agen­cies that con­ser­v­a­tives have not tra­di­tion­al­ly viewed as adver­sar­i­al.

Sources close to the for­mer pres­i­dent said that he will — as a mat­ter of top pri­or­i­ty — go after the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus, “clean house” in the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the State Depart­ment, tar­get the “woke gen­er­als” at the Defense Depart­ment, and remove the top lay­ers of the Jus­tice Depart­ment and FBI.

A spokesper­son for Patel, Eri­ca Knight, did not dis­pute details from this scene at The Ben in West Palm Beach when Axios reached out for com­ment.

...

Trump saved his kind­est words that night for two indi­vid­u­als: Mark Mead­ows and Russ Vought. He praised their orga­ni­za­tions and the impor­tant work they were doing.

Dur­ing the past year, Vought’s group has been devel­op­ing plans that would ben­e­fit from Sched­ule F. And while the pow­er rests large­ly on the fear fac­tor to sti­fle civ­il ser­vice oppo­si­tion to Trump, sources close to the for­mer pres­i­dent said they still antic­i­pate need­ing an alter­nate labor force of unprece­dent­ed scale — of per­haps as many as 10,000 vet­ted per­son­nel — to give them the capac­i­ty to quick­ly replace “obstruc­tion­ist” gov­ern­ment offi­cials with peo­ple com­mit­ted to Trump and his “Amer­i­ca First” agen­da.

In oth­er words, a new army of polit­i­cal par­ti­sans plant­ed through­out the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy.

*****

The new inner cir­cle

The most impor­tant les­son Trump took from his first term relates to who he hires and to whom he lis­tens.

Trump has reduced his cir­cle of advis­ers and expunged near­ly every for­mer aide who refused to embrace his view that the 2020 elec­tion was “stolen.”

He spends sig­nif­i­cant amounts of his time talk­ing to lumi­nar­ies of the “Stop the Steal” move­ment, includ­ing attor­ney Boris Epshteyn and the pil­low entre­pre­neur Mike Lin­dell, who has spent at least $25 mil­lion of his own mon­ey sow­ing doubts about the 2020 elec­tion result.

Daugh­ter Ivan­ka and son-in-law Jared Kush­n­er are no longer involved in Trump’s polit­i­cal oper­a­tion. Trump still talks to Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy but their rela­tion­ship is not what it once was. The for­mer pres­i­dent is no longer in close con­tact with a vari­ety of for­mer offi­cials and GOP oper­a­tives who once had his ear. This group includes for­mer senior advis­er Hope Hicks, for­mer Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin and for­mer cam­paign man­ag­er Bill Stepi­en.

Though Stepi­en has lim­it­ed per­son­al con­tact with Trump these days, he is still a part of Trump­world. He par­tic­i­pates in a week­ly call that involves close advis­ers to the for­mer pres­i­dent includ­ing his son, Don­ald Trump Jr. And Stepi­en is run­ning the cam­paigns of sev­er­al Trump-endorsed can­di­dates.

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, how­ev­er, is in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­go­ry alto­geth­er: now labeled ene­my.

...

Trump has dou­bled down with a small group he views as loy­al and coura­geous. The group includes his for­mer senior White House offi­cials, Dan Scav­i­no, Stephen Miller and John McEn­tee. It also includes his fourth chief of staff, Mark Mead­ows, though their rela­tion­ship was strained when Mead­ows recount­ed in his mem­oir pri­vate details of Trump’s hos­pi­tal­iza­tion with COVID-19.

Trump trusts only a few of his for­mer Cab­i­net sec­re­taries and senior gov­ern­ment offi­cials, sources close to him said. He still talks casu­al­ly to many oth­ers, and is sel­dom off his phone, but for­mer aides who felt they could occa­sion­al­ly per­suade Trump to change course say he is quick to shut down advice he does not want to hear.

He remains fix­at­ed on the “stolen” 2020 elec­tion. He can­not stop talk­ing about it, no mat­ter how many allies advise him it would serve his polit­i­cal inter­ests to move on. Most have stopped try­ing.

...

*****

Seek­ing “courage”

In a sec­ond term, Trump would install a dif­fer­ent cohort at the top than in 2017. He has said what he wants, above all, is peo­ple with “courage.”

Under the courage cri­te­ria, he has sin­gled out Jef­frey Clark for par­tic­u­lar praise. Trump has also praised Patel, who would like­ly be installed in a senior nation­al secu­ri­ty role in a sec­ond term, peo­ple close to the for­mer pres­i­dent said. If Patel could sur­vive Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion, there is a good chance Trump would make him CIA or FBI direc­tor, these sources said. If not, Patel would like­ly serve in a senior role in the White House.

Peo­ple close to the for­mer pres­i­dent said Richard Grenell has bet­ter odds than most of being nom­i­nat­ed as Trump’s sec­re­tary of state. Grenell was one of Trump’s favorite offi­cials at the tail end of his first term. As Trump’s act­ing direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence, he declas­si­fied copi­ous mate­ri­als relat­ed to the Trump-Rus­sia inves­ti­ga­tion.

Grenell cur­rent­ly works as an exec­u­tive and on-air ana­lyst for the pro-Trump tele­vi­sion net­work News­max. Grenell told News­max ear­li­er this year: “I’m not going to stop until we pros­e­cute [Trump’s for­mer FBI direc­tor] Jim Comey.”

Spec­u­la­tion about the futures of these high-pro­file MAGA per­son­al­i­ties obscures the detailed foot­work going on in prepa­ra­tion for 2025.

*****

Crowd­sourc­ing pow­er

One impor­tant hub of 2025 prepa­ra­tions is the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI), an orga­ni­za­tion whose non­prof­it sta­tus under the tax code allows it to con­ceal its donors’ iden­ti­ties. CPI is a who’s‑who of Trump’s for­mer admin­is­tra­tion and the “Amer­i­ca First” move­ment.

Found­ed by for­mer fire­brand GOP South Car­oli­na Sen. Jim DeMint — the bane of Mitch McConnell’s exis­tence when he served in Con­gress — CPI has become the hub of the hard right in Wash­ing­ton.

For­mer White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows joined CPI last year. The group’s senior staff includes Edward Cor­ri­g­an, who worked on the Trump tran­si­tion team’s per­son­nel oper­a­tion; Wes­ley Den­ton, who served in Trump’s Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get; Rachel Bovard, one of the con­ser­v­a­tive movement’s sharpest par­lia­men­tary tac­ti­cians; and attor­ney Cle­ta Mitchell, who was a key play­er in Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion.

The group runs its oper­a­tions out of a brown­stone a short walk from the Capi­tol build­ing and the Supreme Court. They recruit, train and pro­mote ide­o­log­i­cal­ly vet­ted staff for GOP offices on Capi­tol Hill and the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion. The ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive House Free­dom Cau­cus meets at CPI head­quar­ters.

CPI has become a fundrais­ing pow­er­house over the past few years, rais­ing $19.7 mil­lion last year. The group has been buy­ing up D.C. real estate. It leas­es out Capi­tol Hill office space to con­ser­v­a­tive groups it is help­ing to incu­bate and has even bought a farm and home­stead in east­ern Mary­land that it uses for train­ing retreats and pol­i­cy fel­low­ships.

In March, the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion released data show­ing Trump’s polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee, “Save Amer­i­ca,” had more cash on hand than the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee com­bined. This is part­ly because of the strength of Trump’s online fundrais­ing machine. It is also part­ly because Trump does not like to share his PAC’s mon­ey.

It was, there­fore, a mean­ing­ful act when Trump autho­rized a $1 mil­lion dona­tion to the CPI. This was by far the Trump committee’s largest dona­tion to polit­i­cal allies in the sec­ond half of 2021.

CPI will wield sub­stan­tial influ­ence on the make­up of a poten­tial sec­ond-term Trump admin­is­tra­tion. It has a team work­ing on a data­base of vet­ted staff that could be fed imme­di­ate­ly to the next GOP pres­i­den­tial nominee’s tran­si­tion team.

CPI is not, how­ev­er, spend­ing much time think­ing about Cab­i­net-lev­el appoint­ments. CPI staff know Trump well enough to under­stand nobody will have much influ­ence over his splashy Cab­i­net picks. Their focus is on the cru­cial mass of jobs below.

CPI’s imme­di­ate pri­or­i­ty is prepar­ing to put its vet­ted peo­ple in new GOP con­gres­sion­al offices at the start of 2023. Over the past five years since CPI’s found­ing, the group has been adding per­son­nel to a data­base that now con­tains thou­sands of names.

The CPI team is reck­on­ing on Repub­li­cans like­ly win­ning back the House and pos­si­bly the Sen­ate in the Novem­ber midterms. That would deliv­er a tremen­dous staffing oppor­tu­ni­ty. These antic­i­pat­ed vic­to­ries could open hun­dreds of new staff jobs on Capi­tol Hill next year — from con­gres­sion­al offices to key com­mit­tees.

CPI’s goal is to have at least 300 ful­ly vet­ted “Amer­i­ca First” staffers to sup­ply GOP con­gres­sion­al offices after the midterms. These new staffers would the­o­ret­i­cal­ly gain valu­able expe­ri­ence to use on Capi­tol Hill but also incu­bate for a Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2025.

*****

Anoth­er influ­en­tial group is Vought’s Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca — designed to keep alive and build upon Trump’s “Amer­i­ca First” agen­da dur­ing his exile.

Vought kept a rel­a­tive­ly low media pro­file through much of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion but by the end Trump trust­ed him as some­body who would rebuff career offi­cials and find edge-of-the-enve­lope meth­ods to achieve Trump’s ends.

When Con­gress blocked Trump from get­ting the funds he need­ed to build the south­ern bor­der wall, Vought and his team at the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get came up with the idea of redi­rect­ing mon­ey from the Pen­ta­gon bud­get to build the wall.

In the final week of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Vought met with the for­mer pres­i­dent in the Oval Office and shared with him his plans to start CRA. Trump gave Vought his bless­ing. CRA’s team now includes Jef­frey Clark and Kash Patel as well as oth­er Trump allies includ­ing Mark Pao­let­ta and Ken Cuc­cinel­li, for­mer act­ing deputy sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­ri­ty.

Vought plans to release a series of pol­i­cy papers, begin­ning this year, detail­ing var­i­ous aspects of their plans to dis­man­tle the “admin­is­tra­tive state.”

Vought has oth­er far-reach­ing inten­tions. He has told asso­ciates it was too oner­ous in the past for Trump offi­cials to receive secu­ri­ty clear­ances, so he plans to rec­om­mend reforms to the secu­ri­ty clear­ance sys­tem. He also wants to change the sys­tem that deter­mines how gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments become clas­si­fied.

“We are con­scious­ly bring­ing on the tough­est and most coura­geous fight­ers with the know-how and cred­i­bil­i­ty to crush the deep state,” Vought told Axios.

Amer­i­ca First Legal was launched by Trump’s influ­en­tial senior advis­er Stephen Miller less than three months after Trump left office. Its pri­ma­ry pur­pose was to file law­suits to block Pres­i­dent Biden’s poli­cies — mir­ror­ing a well-fund­ed legal infra­struc­ture on the left.

But Miller has also been doing anoth­er job in prepa­ra­tion for 2025 that has not pre­vi­ous­ly been report­ed. He has been iden­ti­fy­ing and assem­bling a list of lawyers who would be ready to fill the key gen­er­al coun­sel jobs across gov­ern­ment in a sec­ond-term Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

Trump’s close allies are intent­ly focused on the recruit­ment of lawyers. Trump fre­quent­ly com­plained that he did not have the “right” lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office.

He grum­bled that they were “weak” — that they always and reflex­ive­ly told him his demands were ille­gal and could not be imple­ment­ed. Trump would occa­sion­al­ly com­pare his White House lawyers unfa­vor­ably to his late New York attor­ney — the noto­ri­ous mob lawyer Roy Cohn. Yet he deferred remov­ing them.

Oth­er senior offi­cials, includ­ing Miller, believed the fed­er­al agen­cies were clot­ted with cow­ard­ly gen­er­al coun­sels too wor­ried about their Wash­ing­ton rep­u­ta­tions to risk throw­ing their sup­port behind Trump’s poli­cies. Instead, the Trump team sus­pect­ed, these gen­er­al coun­sels allowed the career attor­neys to steam­roll them.

Miller has his eye out for gen­er­al coun­sels who will aggres­sive­ly imple­ment Trump’s orders and skep­ti­cal­ly inter­ro­gate any career gov­ern­ment attor­ney who tells them their plans are unlaw­ful or can­not be done.

*****

One mod­el of such a lawyer is Chad Mizelle, who served as the act­ing gen­er­al coun­sel at Trump’s Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. Miller formed a close work­ing part­ner­ship with Mizelle and spoke glow­ing­ly of him to col­leagues. Togeth­er they helped exe­cute the most hard­line immi­gra­tion and bor­der secu­ri­ty poli­cies in recent his­to­ry.

In his new role, Miller has been work­ing with Repub­li­can state attor­neys gen­er­al and close­ly watch­ing Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton and his staff. The lawyers in Paxton’s office are a use­ful proxy for the type of attor­neys Trump would like­ly recruit to fill a sec­ond-term admin­is­tra­tion.

Pax­ton has over the past few years filed some of the right’s most aggres­sive and con­tro­ver­sial law­suits, includ­ing a fed­er­al suit to over­turn elec­tions in bat­tle­ground states Trump lost. His effort failed when the Supreme Court ruled Texas had no stand­ing to sue. On May 25, the Texas State Bar filed a pro­fes­sion­al mis­con­duct law­suit against Pax­ton relat­ed to his efforts to help Trump sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion.

Paxton’s office has been using the legal equiv­a­lent of a blitzkrieg in the Biden era — suing fast and often to obstruct Biden’s agen­da at mul­ti­ple points — most fre­quent­ly immi­gra­tion, the envi­ron­ment, and COVID-19 mea­sures.

As of July 17, Texas had filed 33 law­suits against the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, by far the most law­suits of all the Repub­li­can attor­neys gen­er­al dur­ing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, accord­ing to Paul Nolette, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ence at Mar­quette Uni­ver­si­ty who tracks state attor­neys gen­er­al.

A senior mem­ber of Paxton’s team, Aaron Reitz, out­lined their men­tal­i­ty and strat­e­gy on the con­ser­v­a­tive “Moment of Truth” pod­cast in Novem­ber. It is a blue­print for the mind­set that would like­ly per­vade a sec­ond Trump term.

“Just blitz­ing in every front where you can,” Reitz said, describ­ing the Texas attor­ney general’s approach. While he said they do not want to file bad law­suits against Biden, “the sort of hyper-cau­tion that I think too often Repub­li­cans demon­strate, not just in the legal space but polit­i­cal and else­where, the time for that is over. We need to under­stand what time it is and … fight our war accord­ing­ly.”

Reitz said what ani­mates him­self and Pax­ton is “an abid­ing belief that we, as a move­ment, are at war with the forces that want to destroy the Amer­i­can order, root and branch.”

At the Texas attor­ney general’s office, “our sol­diers are lawyers and our weapons are law­suits and our tac­tic is law­fare,” Reitz added.

A large por­tion of the broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment infra­struc­ture has also shift­ed to ben­e­fit Trump’s 2025 admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing.

Most con­ser­v­a­tive groups take pains to claim they are neu­tral between prospec­tive GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. But these same groups are increas­ing­ly hir­ing peo­ple for key roles who are loy­al to the for­mer pres­i­dent or who sup­port his “Amer­i­ca First” views on trade, immi­gra­tion and for­eign pol­i­cy.

Sub­tle shifts inside the vaunt­ed Her­itage Foun­da­tion pro­vide an instruc­tive exam­ple. For decades, Her­itage was the con­ser­v­a­tive movement’s intel­lec­tu­al North Star, play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role in shap­ing the per­son­nel and poli­cies of GOP pres­i­dents dat­ing back to the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion.

When Trump emerged in 2016 with his “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy, he tore up the GOP’s play­book, espe­cial­ly on for­eign pol­i­cy and trade. Some inside Her­itage at the time recoiled at these apos­tasies.

Dur­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, many con­ser­v­a­tives per­ceived the group as slid­ing into irrel­e­vance as they were detached from Trump and his move­ment. Recent­ly though, some for­mer Her­itage allies watched in hor­ror when the group broke with GOP hawks and opposed Con­gress’ $40 bil­lion aid pack­age to Ukraine for its fight against Rus­sia.

Jes­si­ca Ander­son, head of Heritage’s lob­by­ing oper­a­tion, released a state­ment explain­ing the con­tro­ver­sial deci­sion. Its title: “Ukraine Aid Pack­age Puts Amer­i­ca Last.”

Her­itage is not insti­tu­tion­al­ly tied to Trump. But under its new pres­i­dent, Kevin Roberts, the orga­ni­za­tion appears to be mov­ing clos­er than any pre­vi­ous iter­a­tion of Her­itage in ally­ing itself with the Trumpian “Amer­i­ca First” wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

Roberts has devel­oped a clos­er per­son­al rela­tion­ship with Trump than his pre­de­ces­sor did. Trump even vis­it­ed Amelia Island in Flori­da to speak to Heritage’s annu­al lead­er­ship con­fer­ence in April. In addi­tion to court­ing Trump, Roberts has also opened his door to the “New Right” — indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions whose views dif­fer dra­mat­i­cal­ly from many of the Bush era con­ser­v­a­tive poli­cies Her­itage has tra­di­tion­al­ly sup­port­ed.

Roberts said in an inter­view to Axios he plans to spend at least $10 mil­lion col­lab­o­rat­ing with at least 15 con­ser­v­a­tive groups to build a data­base of per­son­nel for the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion. He was care­ful to say the list is intend­ed to sup­port who­ev­er is the GOP nom­i­nee, but he has appoint­ed a for­mer top Trump per­son­nel offi­cial, Paul Dans, to run the oper­a­tion, and a glance down the list of allied orga­ni­za­tions shows it is heavy on stal­wart Trump allies.

Roberts said these allied groups will be able to edit the per­son­nel doc­u­ment with their own notes — a Wikipedia-like process. Telling­ly, the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute has signed onto the Her­itage effort.

The Trump-blessed think tank Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute did not sign onto the Her­itage ini­tia­tive, pre­fer­ring instead to pro­mote its stand­alone per­son­nel project. This, too, will have a strong Trumpian fla­vor.

AFPI is run by Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor Brooke Rollins. More than half a dozen Trump Cab­i­net offi­cials are affil­i­at­ed with AFPI and Trump loy­al­ists fill the group from top to bot­tom.

Rollins brought in Michael Rigas to lead AFPI’s 2025 per­son­nel project. Rigas ran Trump’s Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment — the fed­er­al government’s HR depart­ment. AFPI’s offi­cial posi­tion is that the group is devel­op­ing their per­son­nel data­base for whichev­er Repub­li­can wins the nom­i­na­tion. Such is Trump’s appre­ci­a­tion for AFPI that his PAC wired $1 mil­lion to the group in June 2021.

Even the bil­lion­aire-fund­ed Koch net­work is play­ing a friend­ly behind-the-scenes role. While the Koch net­work over­all has often been at odds with Trump, the network’s anti-inter­ven­tion­ist for­eign pol­i­cy aligns neat­ly with Trump’s “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy.

In this nar­row field of align­ment, con­nec­tions have been forged between Trump­world and Kochworld, espe­cial­ly via the head of Koch’s for­eign pol­i­cy pro­gram, Dan Cald­well.

Dur­ing the last year of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, the Koch net­work built close ties with Trump’s per­son­nel office. Trump’s final nom­i­nee for the ambas­sador to Afghanistan, Will Ruger, was a Koch can­di­date. The Koch tal­ent pipeline — on for­eign pol­i­cy if noth­ing else — would like­ly get a seri­ous hear­ing in a sec­ond-term Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

*****

Star­tups includ­ing Amer­i­can Moment have sprung up to devel­op lists of thou­sands of younger “Amer­i­ca First” per­son­nel for the next GOP admin­is­tra­tion. Found­ed by Saurabh Shar­ma, the 24-year-old for­mer head of the Young Con­ser­v­a­tives of Texas, Amer­i­can Moment is ded­i­cat­ed to the idea of restaffing the gov­ern­ment. Trump-endorsed Ohio Sen­ate can­di­date J.D. Vance serves on its board.

Shar­ma said in an inter­view that he and his team have dozens of infor­mal tal­ent scouts on col­lege cam­pus­es — from “cer­tain Ivies with reac­tionary sub­cul­tures” to “nor­mal con­ser­v­a­tive schools” like Hills­dale Col­lege to “reli­gious­ly affil­i­at­ed lib­er­al arts schools.”

They have plugged into the younger staff pop­u­lat­ing hard-right offices on Capi­tol Hill and seek to attract a steady flow of young ide­o­logues through events and a pod­cast.

Amer­i­can Moment says it has, so far, around 700 “ful­ly vet­ted” per­son­nel to poten­tial­ly serve in the next admin­is­tra­tion. Sharma’s goal is to have 2,000 to 3,000 “Amer­i­ca First” would-be gov­ern­ment staffers in his data­base by the sum­mer of 2024.

By then, the next Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee will be stand­ing up their tran­si­tion team and look­ing for staff to occu­py not just senior jobs but the junior and mid-lev­el posi­tions Amer­i­can Moment wants to spe­cial­ize in fill­ing.

Shar­ma is pre­scrip­tive about what gets a per­son on his list. He wants appli­cants who want to cut not just ille­gal but also legal immi­gra­tion into the Unit­ed States. He favors peo­ple who are pro­tec­tion­ist on trade and anti-inter­ven­tion­ist on for­eign pol­i­cy. They must be eager to fight the “cul­ture war.” Cre­den­tials are almost irrel­e­vant.

“Rea­gan hired young, he hired ide­o­log­i­cal, and he hired under­qual­i­fied,” Shar­ma said. “That gave him an enor­mous amount of soft pow­er in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment for 40 years since, and many of those peo­ple are still in charge today.”

In the back­ground, the for­mer staff mem­bers of Trump’s final per­son­nel direc­tor John McEn­tee have stayed in touch and are work­ing loose­ly togeth­er across a num­ber of groups in prepa­ra­tion for 2025.

One of these new orga­ni­za­tions, “Per­son­nel Pol­i­cy Orga­ni­za­tion” or “PPO” — an homage to McEntee’s PPO — is a non­prof­it led by McEntee’s for­mer staff includ­ing Troup Hemen­way. PPO says its mis­sion is to “edu­cate and defend con­ser­v­a­tive, Amer­i­ca First civ­il ser­vants and their advi­sors.”

A per­son famil­iar with the group’s work told Axios the group is help­ing to do “qual­i­ty con­trol” on oth­er groups’ per­son­nel lists and is “devel­op­ing plans to pro­vide a suite of poli­cies and ser­vices to con­ser­v­a­tive offi­cials and out­side advi­sors to ensure that they are able to stand firm against attacks by the media or left-wing gov­ern­men­tal actors, and offen­sive steps to take against left-wing offi­cials.”

All of this amounts to a giant crowd­sourc­ing effort for 2025.

CPI’s Edward Cor­ri­g­an worked at Her­itage dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cycle. After Trump’s sur­prise vic­to­ry, he moved into an office at Trump Tow­er to join the tran­si­tion team fran­ti­cal­ly sourc­ing and vet­ting per­son­nel.

Her­itage had assem­bled per­son­nel lists start­ing in 2015, as it does for every elec­tion cycle, but Cor­ri­g­an said the chal­lenge for Her­itage back then was that no one knew which can­di­date they were recruit­ing for.

“Back then most peo­ple assumed it was going to be Jeb Bush or Mar­co Rubio or Ted Cruz, but it ends up being Trump,” Cor­ri­g­an told Axios in an inter­view. “And so that cre­ates a chal­lenge because you don’t actu­al­ly know” what is need­ed for the per­son to fit in.

“And so in 2024 if Trump is the nom­i­nee,” Cor­ri­g­an added, “it gives you a huge advan­tage in that you know the kind of peo­ple that Trump’s going to want to pick.”

One unit­ing theme con­nects all of these dis­parate groups: feal­ty, to Trump him­self or his “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy.

Now, they are func­tion­ing as a series of task forces for a pos­si­ble Trump admin­is­tra­tion. They are rook­eries for for­mer Trump staff. They are breed­ing grounds for a new wave of right-wing per­son­nel to run the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

———–

“A rad­i­cal plan for Trump’s sec­ond term” by Jonathan Swan; Axios; 07/22/2022

“One unit­ing theme con­nects all of these dis­parate groups: feal­ty, to Trump him­self or his “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy.”

Yes, one unit­ing theme con­nects all of these dis­parate groups: feal­ty, to Trump him­self or his “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy. But as we’ve repeat­ed­ly seen, that’s not the only recur­ring theme here. Scratch the sur­face, and we find the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy. In this case, it’s the CNP-affil­i­at­ed Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute that appears to be play­ing a cen­tral role in the scheme. A scheme devised around the “Sched­ule F”. A scheme the Trump admin­is­tra­tion was already secret­ly work­ing on and put into action 13 days before the 2020 elec­tion. We don’t need to ask if a Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion would be will­ing to imple­ment a plan this rad­i­cal. They already did. They just did­n’t have enough time to fin­ish:

...
The heart of the plan is derived from an exec­u­tive order known as “Sched­ule F,” devel­oped and refined in secret over most of the sec­ond half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 elec­tion.

...

As Trump pub­licly flirts with a 2024 come­back cam­paign, this plan­ning is qui­et­ly flour­ish­ing from Mar-a-Lago to Wash­ing­ton — with his bless­ing but with­out the knowl­edge of some peo­ple in his orbit.

Their work could accel­er­ate con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­cy and enforce­ment changes, but also enable revenge tours against real or per­ceived ene­mies, and poten­tial­ly insu­late the pres­i­dent and allies from inves­ti­ga­tion or pros­e­cu­tion.

They intend to stack thou­sands of mid-lev­el staff jobs. Well-fund­ed groups are already devel­op­ing lists of can­di­dates select­ed often for their ani­mus against the sys­tem — in line with Trump’s long-run­ning obses­sion with drain­ing “the swamp.” This includes build­ing exten­sive data­bas­es of peo­ple vet­ted as being com­mit­ted to Trump and his agen­da.

The prepa­ra­tions are far more advanced and ambi­tious than pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. What is hap­pen­ing now is an inver­sion of the slap­dash and vir­tu­al­ly non-exis­tent infra­struc­ture sur­round­ing Trump ahead of his 2017 pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

These groups are oper­at­ing on mul­ti­ple fronts: shap­ing poli­cies, iden­ti­fy­ing top lieu­tenants, curat­ing an alter­na­tive labor force of unprece­dent­ed scale, and prepar­ing for legal chal­lenges and defens­es that might go before Trump-friend­ly judges, all the way to a 6–3 Supreme Court.
...

And Trump isn’t going to wait until the end of his next term again to imple­ment it. The plan is for an imme­di­ate purge of the fed­er­al work­force short­ly after Trump takes office. Trump or any oth­er Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion in 2025 pre­sum­ably. And a plan to cre­ate the kind of prece­dent that could lead to a mass purg­ing of the fed­er­al work­force every time there’s a par­ty switch in the White House:

...
Trump signed an exec­u­tive order, “Cre­at­ing Sched­ule F in the Except­ed Ser­vice,” in Octo­ber 2020, which estab­lished a new employ­ment cat­e­go­ry for fed­er­al employ­ees. It received wide media cov­er­age for a short peri­od, then was large­ly for­got­ten in the may­hem and after­math of Jan. 6 — and quick­ly was rescind­ed by Pres­i­dent Biden.

Sources close to Trump say that if he were elect­ed to a sec­ond term, he would imme­di­ate­ly reim­pose it.

...

Even if Trump did not deploy Sched­ule F to this extent, the very fact that such pow­er exists could cre­ate a sig­nif­i­cant chill­ing effect on gov­ern­ment employ­ees.

It would effec­tive­ly upend the mod­ern civ­il ser­vice, trig­ger­ing a shock wave across the bureau­cra­cy. The next pres­i­dent might then move to gut those pro-Trump ranks — and face the ques­tion of whether to replace them with her or his own loy­al­ists, or revert to a tra­di­tion­al bureau­cra­cy.

Such pen­du­lum swings and politi­ciza­tion could threat­en the con­ti­nu­ity and qual­i­ty of ser­vice to tax­pay­ers, the reg­u­la­to­ry pro­tec­tions, the checks on exec­u­tive pow­er, and oth­er aspects of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy.

Trump’s allies claim such pen­du­lum swings will not hap­pen because they will not have to fire any­thing close to 50,000 fed­er­al work­ers to achieve the result, as one source put it, of “behav­ior change.” Fir­ing a small­er seg­ment of “bad apples” among the career offi­cials at each agency would have the desired chill­ing effect on oth­ers tempt­ed to obstruct Trump’s orders.

They say Sched­ule F will final­ly end the “farce” of a non­par­ti­san civ­il ser­vice that they say has been filled with activist lib­er­als who have been under­min­ing GOP pres­i­dents for decades.
...

But while the Sched­ule F plan was large­ly a prod­uct of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion at first, it sounds like three con­ser­v­a­tive groups are now work­ing on that effort: the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI), and the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI). As we’ve seen, the CPI is one of the cen­tral play­ers in the GOP’s ‘Elec­tion Integri­ty’ efforts, with mem­bers like CNP mem­ber Cle­ta Mitchell. The AFPI, sim­i­lar­ly, has its own Cen­ter for Elec­tion Integri­ty chaired by CNP mem­ber Ken­neth Black­well. Then there’s the CRA, found­ed by Russ Vought, the for­mer head of Trump’s Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get. And who do we find new­ly employed at the CRA? None oth­er than Jef­frey Clark, the DOJ offi­cial who lit­er­al­ly tried to get his boss fired at the DOJ so he could take their place and block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­toral vote. So the con­ser­v­a­tive groups work­ing on con­tin­u­ing the “Sched­ule F” plans aren’t just deeply inter­twined with the CNP. They’re also close­ly aligned with the efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion results. Efforts that have now mor­phed into a plot to over­turn the 2024 elec­tion results:

...
No oper­a­tion of this scale is pos­si­ble with­out the machin­ery to imple­ment it. To that end, Trump has blessed a string of con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions linked to advis­ers he cur­rent­ly trusts and calls on. Most of these con­ser­v­a­tive groups host senior fig­ures from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion on their pay­roll, includ­ing for­mer chief of staff Mark Mead­ows.

The names are a mix of famil­iar and new. They include Jef­frey Clark, the con­tro­ver­sial lawyer Trump had want­ed to install as attor­ney gen­er­al in the end days of his pres­i­den­cy. Clark, who advo­cat­ed a plan to con­test the 2020 elec­tion results, is now in the crosshairs of the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee and the FBI. Clark is work­ing at the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), the group found­ed by Russ Vought, the for­mer head of Trump’s Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get.

For­mer Trump admin­is­tra­tion and tran­si­tion offi­cials work­ing on per­son­nel, legal or pol­i­cy projects for a poten­tial 2025 gov­ern­ment include names like Vought, Mead­ows, Stephen Miller, Ed Cor­ri­g­an, Wes­ley Den­ton, Brooke Rollins, James Sherk, Andrew Kloster and Troup Hemen­way.

...

The advo­ca­cy groups who have effec­tive­ly become exten­sions of the Trump infra­struc­ture include the CRA, the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI), and the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI).
...

There’s anoth­er impor­tant detail to keep in mind when we learn that Jef­frey Clark is a part of this project: as the DOJ offi­cial who was will­ing to go the fur­thest to keep Trump in office, Clark is now viewed as lead­ing can­di­date to be Attor­ney Gen­er­al in any future Trump admin­is­tra­tion. In oth­er words, should “Sched­ule F” get put into action in 2025 fol­low­ing a GOP vic­to­ry, expect the new attor­ney gen­er­al to be ful­ly on board with the scheme:

...
Sources who spoke to Axios paint a vivid pic­ture of how the back­room plans are tak­ing shape, start­ing with a series of inter­ac­tions in Flori­da ear­li­er this year, on April 28.

...

Inside, near the bar past the patio, a bald­ing man with dra­mat­i­cal­ly arched eye­brows was the cen­ter of atten­tion at a cock­tail table. He was dis­cussing the top-lev­el staffing of the Jus­tice Depart­ment if Trump were to regain the pres­i­den­cy in 2025.

With a back­ground as an envi­ron­men­tal lawyer, Jef­frey Clark, a vet­er­an of George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion, was unknown to the pub­lic until ear­ly 2021. By the end of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, he was serv­ing as the act­ing head of the Jus­tice Department’s civ­il divi­sion — although oth­er DOJ lead­ers paid him lit­tle atten­tion. But Trump, des­per­ate to over­turn the elec­tion, wel­comed Clark, the only senior offi­cial will­ing to apply the full weight of the Jus­tice Depart­ment to con­test­ing Joe Biden’s vic­to­ry, into his inner cir­cle.

...

One of the donors asked Clark what he thought would hap­pen with the Jus­tice Depart­ment if Trump won the 2024 elec­tion. Con­vey­ing the air of a deep con­fi­dant, Clark respond­ed that he thought Trump had learned his les­son.

In a sec­ond term, Clark pre­dict­ed, Trump would nev­er appoint an attor­ney gen­er­al who was not com­plete­ly on board with his agen­da.

There was a buzz around Clark. Giv­en Trump want­ed to make him attor­ney gen­er­al in the final days of his first term, it is like­ly that Clark would be a seri­ous con­tender for the top job in a sec­ond term.
...

But CRA’s high­ly trou­bling recent hires aren’t lim­it­ed to Clark. Kash Patel — the par­ti­san hack Trump installed as act­ing Chief of Staff for then-act­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Christo­pher Miller after Trump lost the elec­tion — is also work­ing at the CRA along with fig­ures like Ken Cuc­cinel­li, who was the act­ing deputy sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­ri­ty dur­ing Jan 6. Recall how both Patel and Cuc­cin­nel­li were two of the senior Pen­ta­gon offi­cials whose texts in the peri­od around Jan 6 have mys­te­ri­ous­ly gone miss­ing. So the CRA appears to have an abun­dance of fig­ures who weren’t just Trump admin­is­tra­tion alums, but were part of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion dur­ing that cru­cial Jan 6 peri­od. There’s quite of bit of expe­ri­ence on these kinds of elec­tion-over­turn­ing efforts between the whole group. Inter­est­ing­ly, the CRA also appears to have ambi­tions on mak­ing it eas­i­er for gov­ern­ment employ­ees to clear secu­ri­ty clear­ances. You have to won­der how much of that is in antic­i­pa­tion of these fig­ures who were direct­ly involved in Jan 6 being blocked from future appoint­ments due to secu­ri­ty clear­ance con­cerns relat­ed to Jan 6:

...
In the final week of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Vought met with the for­mer pres­i­dent in the Oval Office and shared with him his plans to start CRA. Trump gave Vought his bless­ing. CRA’s team now includes Jef­frey Clark and Kash Patel as well as oth­er Trump allies includ­ing Mark Pao­let­ta and Ken Cuc­cinel­li, for­mer act­ing deputy sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­ri­ty.

Vought plans to release a series of pol­i­cy papers, begin­ning this year, detail­ing var­i­ous aspects of their plans to dis­man­tle the “admin­is­tra­tive state.”

Vought has oth­er far-reach­ing inten­tions. He has told asso­ciates it was too oner­ous in the past for Trump offi­cials to receive secu­ri­ty clear­ances, so he plans to rec­om­mend reforms to the secu­ri­ty clear­ance sys­tem. He also wants to change the sys­tem that deter­mines how gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments become clas­si­fied.

“We are con­scious­ly bring­ing on the tough­est and most coura­geous fight­ers with the know-how and cred­i­bil­i­ty to crush the deep state,” Vought told Axios.

...

In one aston­ish­ing but ill-fat­ed plan, Trump had want­ed to install Patel as either the deputy direc­tor of the CIA or the FBI late in his admin­is­tra­tion. He aban­doned this only after vehe­ment oppo­si­tion and warn­ings from senior offi­cials includ­ing Haspel and for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bill Barr, who wrote in his own mem­oir that he told then-chief of staff Mark Mead­ows that Patel becom­ing deputy FBI direc­tor would hap­pen “over my dead body.”

Nev­er again would Trump acqui­esce to such warn­ings. Patel has only grown clos­er to the for­mer pres­i­dent since he left office. Over the past year, Patel has dis­played enough con­fi­dence to lever­age his fame as a Trump insid­er — estab­lish­ing an online store sell­ing self-brand­ed mer­chan­dise with “K$H” base­ball caps and “Fight With Kash” zip-up fleeces.
...

And note the affil­i­a­tions of Mark Pao­let­ta, one of the speak­ers at that CRA closed-door ses­sions: he’s a close fam­i­ly friend of Clarence and Gin­ni Thomas. As we’ve seen, it’s hard to find a fig­ure who was work­ing more fever­ish­ly on con­vinc­ing state leg­is­la­tor to over­turn the elec­tion results than key CNP oper­a­tive Gin­ni Thomas. Pao­let­ta went on to act as the spokesper­son for Thomas, assert­ing to reporters that she played no orga­ni­za­tion­al role at all in that state-lev­el lob­by­ing cam­paign and that her group’s Dec 8, 2020 invi­ta­tion to John East­man to dis­cuss that exact strat­e­gy was not an endorse­ment of the strat­e­gy. In oth­er words, Pao­let­ta is so close to the Thomases that he’s act­ing as their pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Also recall how Gin­ni Thomas co-found­ed the Groundswell Group meet­ings with fel­low CNP mem­ber Steve Ban­non back in 2013 as a com­peti­tor to Grover Norquist’s influ­en­tial ‘Wednes­day Morn­ing Meet­ings’. Groundswell went on to play a major role in mak­ing staffing deci­sions for the Trump White House. So when we read about Pao­let­ta’s involve­ment in the Sched­ule F plot, keep in mind his ties to Gin­ni Thomas and the cen­tral role her Groundswell net­work already played in mak­ing staffing deci­sions for the Trump admin­is­tra­tion:

...
The group was treat­ed to a con­ver­sa­tion between Patel and Mark Pao­let­ta, a for­mer senior Trump admin­is­tra­tion lawyer with a rep­u­ta­tion for find­ing lat­er­al ways to accom­plish Trump’s goals. The Patel-Pao­let­ta pan­el dis­cus­sion was titled, “Bat­tling the Deep State.”

Pao­let­ta was a close fam­i­ly friend and promi­nent pub­lic defend­er of Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Gin­ni Thomas. Through­out the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Gin­ni Thomas had tak­en a strong inter­est in admin­is­tra­tion per­son­nel. She com­plained to White House offi­cials, includ­ing Trump him­self, that Trump’s peo­ple were obstruct­ing “MAGA” offi­cials from being appoint­ed to key roles in the admin­is­tra­tion.

As Axios pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, Gin­ni Thomas had assem­bled detailed lists of dis­loy­al gov­ern­ment offi­cials to oust — and trust­ed pro-Trump peo­ple to replace them.
...

The CPI appears to be car­ry­ing out a gen­er­al orga­ni­za­tion­al role like it does on so many oth­er CNP efforts. And that includes hir­ing key Trump White House fig­ures like Mark Mead­ows. And in addi­tion to CNP mem­ber Cle­ta Mitchell, we also find CNP mem­bers Ed Cor­ri­g­an as Pres­i­dent of the CPI and Rachel A. Bovard as CPI Senior Direc­tor of Pol­i­cy. The CPI is a CNP exten­sion, and its imme­di­ate goals include prepar­ing staff lists for the GOP to use in 2023. It’s a reminder that this vast staffing oper­a­tion isn’t going to have to wait until 2024 to real­ly get up and run­ning:

...
One impor­tant hub of 2025 prepa­ra­tions is the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI), an orga­ni­za­tion whose non­prof­it sta­tus under the tax code allows it to con­ceal its donors’ iden­ti­ties. CPI is a who’s‑who of Trump’s for­mer admin­is­tra­tion and the “Amer­i­ca First” move­ment.

Found­ed by for­mer fire­brand GOP South Car­oli­na Sen. Jim DeMint — the bane of Mitch McConnell’s exis­tence when he served in Con­gress — CPI has become the hub of the hard right in Wash­ing­ton.

For­mer White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows joined CPI last year. The group’s senior staff includes Edward Cor­ri­g­an, who worked on the Trump tran­si­tion team’s per­son­nel oper­a­tion; Wes­ley Den­ton, who served in Trump’s Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get; Rachel Bovard, one of the con­ser­v­a­tive movement’s sharpest par­lia­men­tary tac­ti­cians; and attor­ney Cle­ta Mitchell, who was a key play­er in Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion.

The group runs its oper­a­tions out of a brown­stone a short walk from the Capi­tol build­ing and the Supreme Court. They recruit, train and pro­mote ide­o­log­i­cal­ly vet­ted staff for GOP offices on Capi­tol Hill and the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion. The ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive House Free­dom Cau­cus meets at CPI head­quar­ters.

...

CPI’s imme­di­ate pri­or­i­ty is prepar­ing to put its vet­ted peo­ple in new GOP con­gres­sion­al offices at the start of 2023. Over the past five years since CPI’s found­ing, the group has been adding per­son­nel to a data­base that now con­tains thou­sands of names.

The CPI team is reck­on­ing on Repub­li­cans like­ly win­ning back the House and pos­si­bly the Sen­ate in the Novem­ber midterms. That would deliv­er a tremen­dous staffing oppor­tu­ni­ty. These antic­i­pat­ed vic­to­ries could open hun­dreds of new staff jobs on Capi­tol Hill next year — from con­gres­sion­al offices to key com­mit­tees.

CPI’s goal is to have at least 300 ful­ly vet­ted “Amer­i­ca First” staffers to sup­ply GOP con­gres­sion­al offices after the midterms. These new staffers would the­o­ret­i­cal­ly gain valu­able expe­ri­ence to use on Capi­tol Hill but also incu­bate for a Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2025.
...

Also note how the CPI is a dark mon­ey pow­er­house that leas­es out Capi­tol Hill office space to con­ser­v­a­tive groups. It’s the CNP’s incu­ba­tor orga­ni­za­tion that exists to cre­ate spin­offs right-wing orga­ni­za­tions:

...
CPI has become a fundrais­ing pow­er­house over the past few years, rais­ing $19.7 mil­lion last year. The group has been buy­ing up D.C. real estate. It leas­es out Capi­tol Hill office space to con­ser­v­a­tive groups it is help­ing to incu­bate and has even bought a farm and home­stead in east­ern Mary­land that it uses for train­ing retreats and pol­i­cy fel­low­ships.

In March, the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion released data show­ing Trump’s polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee, “Save Amer­i­ca,” had more cash on hand than the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee com­bined. This is part­ly because of the strength of Trump’s online fundrais­ing machine. It is also part­ly because Trump does not like to share his PAC’s mon­ey.

It was, there­fore, a mean­ing­ful act when Trump autho­rized a $1 mil­lion dona­tion to the CPI. This was by far the Trump committee’s largest dona­tion to polit­i­cal allies in the sec­ond half of 2021.
...

Stephen Miller’s role in this effort appears to be com­ing up with lists of fig­ures who can fill gen­er­al coun­sel jobs across the gov­ern­ment. Specif­i­cal­ly, gen­er­al coun­sels who will aggres­sive­ly imple­ment Trump’s agen­da. That and wag­ing nui­sance law­suits against the Biden admin­is­tra­tion through his Amer­i­ca First Legal group.

And note that the lawyer cit­ed as an exam­ple of the kind of per­son Miller is look­ing for, Chad Mizelle, was appoint­ed act­ing gen­er­al coun­sel of DHS in Feb­ru­ary of 2020 and stayed in the job through­out the rest of Trump’s term, includ­ing the peri­od lead­ing up to Jan 6. So as the inves­ti­ga­tion into miss­ing texts and pos­si­ble plots swirling inside the Pen­ta­gon and DHS dur­ing that post-elec­tion peri­od when fig­ures like Patel and Cuc­cinel­li were omi­nous­ly appoint­ed to lead­ing posi­tions inside the Pen­ta­gon and DHS, keep in mind that Mizelle had been appoint­ed act­ing gen­er­al coun­sel of DHS nine months ear­li­er.

And when we see that Miller is work­ing close­ly with Ken Pax­ton in this recruit­ment efforts, recall how we’ve already seen Pax­ton play­ing a sup­port­ive role in the legal by key con­ser­v­a­tive lawyer Jonathan Mitchell to over­turn all court-won rights of the 20th and 21st cen­turies. An effort that was clear­ly part of a much broad­er CNP-backed rad­i­cal legal agen­da. See­ing Pax­ton show up in rela­tion to Miller’s efforts is exact­ly what we should expect at this point:

Amer­i­ca First Legal was launched by Trump’s influ­en­tial senior advis­er Stephen Miller less than three months after Trump left office. Its pri­ma­ry pur­pose was to file law­suits to block Pres­i­dent Biden’s poli­cies — mir­ror­ing a well-fund­ed legal infra­struc­ture on the left.

But Miller has also been doing anoth­er job in prepa­ra­tion for 2025 that has not pre­vi­ous­ly been report­ed. He has been iden­ti­fy­ing and assem­bling a list of lawyers who would be ready to fill the key gen­er­al coun­sel jobs across gov­ern­ment in a sec­ond-term Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

...

One mod­el of such a lawyer is Chad Mizelle, who served as the act­ing gen­er­al coun­sel at Trump’s Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. Miller formed a close work­ing part­ner­ship with Mizelle and spoke glow­ing­ly of him to col­leagues. Togeth­er they helped exe­cute the most hard­line immi­gra­tion and bor­der secu­ri­ty poli­cies in recent his­to­ry.

In his new role, Miller has been work­ing with Repub­li­can state attor­neys gen­er­al and close­ly watch­ing Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton and his staff. The lawyers in Paxton’s office are a use­ful proxy for the type of attor­neys Trump would like­ly recruit to fill a sec­ond-term admin­is­tra­tion.

Pax­ton has over the past few years filed some of the right’s most aggres­sive and con­tro­ver­sial law­suits, includ­ing a fed­er­al suit to over­turn elec­tions in bat­tle­ground states Trump lost. His effort failed when the Supreme Court ruled Texas had no stand­ing to sue. On May 25, the Texas State Bar filed a pro­fes­sion­al mis­con­duct law­suit against Pax­ton relat­ed to his efforts to help Trump sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion.

Paxton’s office has been using the legal equiv­a­lent of a blitzkrieg in the Biden era — suing fast and often to obstruct Biden’s agen­da at mul­ti­ple points — most fre­quent­ly immi­gra­tion, the envi­ron­ment, and COVID-19 mea­sures.
...

Anoth­er com­plete­ly expect­ed addi­tion to this net­work is the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Because of course the Her­itage Foun­da­tion would be involved with some­thing like this. The Her­itage Foun­da­tion and CNP are almost like the public/private faces of the same broad­er There prob­a­bly isn’t an orga­ni­za­tion that has more over­lap with the CNP than the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, includ­ing its founder Ed Feul­ner. Also recall how CNP mem­ber and CPI chair­man Jim DeMint was the Pres­i­dent of Her­itage from 2013–2016. Also note that the Pres­i­dent of the CPI, Ed Cor­ri­g­an, is also a CNP mem­ber in addi­tion to being a for­mer VP for Pol­i­cy Pro­mo­tion at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Even Her­itage’s new pres­i­dent, Kevin Roberts is a CNP mem­ber. Recall how Roberts is also a mem­ber of the “Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schol­ars” (NAS) and the CEO of the Texas Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Foun­da­tion (TPPF). Also recall how the NAS and Roberts have been work­ing on the “Amer­i­can Birthright” school cur­ricu­lum project that is filled with CNP mem­bers. Final­ly, recall how the TPPF was found to be run­ning the “79 Days report” elec­tion sim­u­la­tions in the final weeks of the 2020 elec­tion in coor­di­na­tion with the Clare­mont Insti­tute. The Clare­mont Insti­tute hap­pens to have John East­man, one of the cen­tral fig­ures in devel­op­ing legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the events that led up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Kevin Roberts has been busy:

...
A large por­tion of the broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment infra­struc­ture has also shift­ed to ben­e­fit Trump’s 2025 admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing.

...

Her­itage is not insti­tu­tion­al­ly tied to Trump. But under its new pres­i­dent, Kevin Roberts, the orga­ni­za­tion appears to be mov­ing clos­er than any pre­vi­ous iter­a­tion of Her­itage in ally­ing itself with the Trumpian “Amer­i­ca First” wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

...

Roberts said in an inter­view to Axios he plans to spend at least $10 mil­lion col­lab­o­rat­ing with at least 15 con­ser­v­a­tive groups to build a data­base of per­son­nel for the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion. He was care­ful to say the list is intend­ed to sup­port who­ev­er is the GOP nom­i­nee, but he has appoint­ed a for­mer top Trump per­son­nel offi­cial, Paul Dans, to run the oper­a­tion, and a glance down the list of allied orga­ni­za­tions shows it is heavy on stal­wart Trump allies.

Roberts said these allied groups will be able to edit the per­son­nel doc­u­ment with their own notes — a Wikipedia-like process. Telling­ly, the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute has signed onto the Her­itage effort.

...

CPI’s Edward Cor­ri­g­an worked at Her­itage dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cycle. After Trump’s sur­prise vic­to­ry, he moved into an office at Trump Tow­er to join the tran­si­tion team fran­ti­cal­ly sourc­ing and vet­ting per­son­nel.
...

And when we read that Roberts has opened his door to the “New Right”, don’t for­get that the “New Right” is just the new term for “Alt Right”, which was a new term for Nazi. “New Right” is just what you call Nazis in polite com­pa­ny. At least polite reac­tionary com­pa­ny:

...
Roberts has devel­oped a clos­er per­son­al rela­tion­ship with Trump than his pre­de­ces­sor did. Trump even vis­it­ed Amelia Island in Flori­da to speak to Heritage’s annu­al lead­er­ship con­fer­ence in April. In addi­tion to court­ing Trump, Roberts has also opened his door to the “New Right” — indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions whose views dif­fer dra­mat­i­cal­ly from many of the Bush era con­ser­v­a­tive poli­cies Her­itage has tra­di­tion­al­ly sup­port­ed.
...

Then we get to the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI) ini­tia­tive, which is described as sep­a­rate from the Her­itage Insti­tute’s staffing ini­tia­tive. And yet, when we look at the peo­ple involved with the AFPI we see how small a world this is: Brooke Rollins, Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor, is lead­ing the AFPI. It turns out Roberts suc­ceed­ed Rollins as the head of the TPPF after Rollins left to join the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2018. Rollins returned to the TPPF in 2021 as a Senior Advi­sor and mem­ber of the Board of Direc­tors. So the heads of the Her­itage and the TPPF appear to have a very close ongo­ing work­ing rela­tion­ship. Keep that in mind when we’re told that the AFPI and Her­itage ini­tia­tives are some­how sep­a­rate:

...
The Trump-blessed think tank Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute did not sign onto the Her­itage ini­tia­tive, pre­fer­ring instead to pro­mote its stand­alone per­son­nel project. This, too, will have a strong Trumpian fla­vor.

AFPI is run by Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor Brooke Rollins. More than half a dozen Trump Cab­i­net offi­cials are affil­i­at­ed with AFPI and Trump loy­al­ists fill the group from top to bot­tom.

Rollins brought in Michael Rigas to lead AFPI’s 2025 per­son­nel project. Rigas ran Trump’s Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment — the fed­er­al government’s HR depart­ment. AFPI’s offi­cial posi­tion is that the group is devel­op­ing their per­son­nel data­base for whichev­er Repub­li­can wins the nom­i­na­tion. Such is Trump’s appre­ci­a­tion for AFPI that his PAC wired $1 mil­lion to the group in June 2021.
...

Sim­i­lar­ly, when we read that the Koch net­work is plan­ning on using its con­nec­tions to this Sched­ule F ini­tia­tive to help fill these staff roles, of course the Koch net­work is going to be fill­ing these posi­tions. These net­works are all heav­i­ly over­lap­ping. Increas­ing­ly so as the MAGA-ifi­ca­tion of the GOP con­tin­ues. It’s one big fas­cist fam­i­ly:

...
Even the bil­lion­aire-fund­ed Koch net­work is play­ing a friend­ly behind-the-scenes role. While the Koch net­work over­all has often been at odds with Trump, the network’s anti-inter­ven­tion­ist for­eign pol­i­cy aligns neat­ly with Trump’s “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy.

In this nar­row field of align­ment, con­nec­tions have been forged between Trump­world and Kochworld, espe­cial­ly via the head of Koch’s for­eign pol­i­cy pro­gram, Dan Cald­well.

Dur­ing the last year of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, the Koch net­work built close ties with Trump’s per­son­nel office. Trump’s final nom­i­nee for the ambas­sador to Afghanistan, Will Ruger, was a Koch can­di­date. The Koch tal­ent pipeline — on for­eign pol­i­cy if noth­ing else — would like­ly get a seri­ous hear­ing in a sec­ond-term Trump admin­is­tra­tion.
...

One big fas­cist net­work with the CNP act­ing as a kind of con­nec­tive tis­sue. For exam­ple, the founder of Amer­i­can Moment, Saurabh Shar­ma, is also a CNP mem­ber. So when we see Shar­ma’s Amer­i­can Moment described as just some group that popped up keep in mind that CNP con­nec­tive tis­sue:

...
Star­tups includ­ing Amer­i­can Moment have sprung up to devel­op lists of thou­sands of younger “Amer­i­ca First” per­son­nel for the next GOP admin­is­tra­tion. Found­ed by Saurabh Shar­ma, the 24-year-old for­mer head of the Young Con­ser­v­a­tives of Texas, Amer­i­can Moment is ded­i­cat­ed to the idea of restaffing the gov­ern­ment. Trump-endorsed Ohio Sen­ate can­di­date J.D. Vance serves on its board.

Shar­ma said in an inter­view that he and his team have dozens of infor­mal tal­ent scouts on col­lege cam­pus­es — from “cer­tain Ivies with reac­tionary sub­cul­tures” to “nor­mal con­ser­v­a­tive schools” like Hills­dale Col­lege to “reli­gious­ly affil­i­at­ed lib­er­al arts schools.”

They have plugged into the younger staff pop­u­lat­ing hard-right offices on Capi­tol Hill and seek to attract a steady flow of young ide­o­logues through events and a pod­cast.
...

But while the CNP may be play­ing a key orga­niz­ing role in the back­ground of this effort, it’s John McEn­tee — Trump’s for­mer body­man-turned-direc­tor of the Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­elle Office (PPO) — who appears to be tasked with over­see­ing the whole oper­a­tion. An orga­ni­za­tion named after the PPO was start­ed by McEn­tee’s for­mer PPO staff to car­ry out qual­i­ty con­trol on the lists gen­er­at­ed by the var­i­ous groups involved with the effort:

...
In the back­ground, the for­mer staff mem­bers of Trump’s final per­son­nel direc­tor John McEn­tee have stayed in touch and are work­ing loose­ly togeth­er across a num­ber of groups in prepa­ra­tion for 2025.

One of these new orga­ni­za­tions, “Per­son­nel Pol­i­cy Orga­ni­za­tion” or “PPO” — an homage to McEntee’s PPO — is a non­prof­it led by McEntee’s for­mer staff includ­ing Troup Hemen­way. PPO says its mis­sion is to “edu­cate and defend con­ser­v­a­tive, Amer­i­ca First civ­il ser­vants and their advi­sors.”

A per­son famil­iar with the group’s work told Axios the group is help­ing to do “qual­i­ty con­trol” on oth­er groups’ per­son­nel lists and is “devel­op­ing plans to pro­vide a suite of poli­cies and ser­vices to con­ser­v­a­tive offi­cials and out­side advi­sors to ensure that they are able to stand firm against attacks by the media or left-wing gov­ern­men­tal actors, and offen­sive steps to take against left-wing offi­cials.”
...

John McEn­tee may have left the White House Office of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel, but he has­n’t aban­doned the mis­sion of purg­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of non-loy­al­ists.

Schedule F’s Origins: A Longstanding Conservative Desire to Purge the Federal Bureaucracy Meets Trump’s Post-Impeachment Plans for Revenge. Ongoing Plans for Revenge

It’s a mis­sion to purge the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of non-loy­al­ists. The next Trump admin­is­tra­tion is going to be Trumpian through and through. At least after the planned purge. But as we see in Jonathan Swan’s sec­ond giant Sched­ule F Axios piece, the desire to stuff the gov­ern­ment full of MAGA loy­al­ists and syco­phants is only part of the motive here. At when it comes to Trump’s desire. Revenge is the oth­er big ani­mat­ing force here. When Trump tapped his for­mer body­man, John McEn­tee, to become the new head of the White House Office of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel in Jan­u­ary of 2020, it was right after Trump’s impeach­ment acquit­tal in the Sen­ate. Trump was in the mood for revenge and McEn­tee was the man he chose to make that revenge hap­pen. And Trump already had a revenge plan in mind to make it hap­pen thanks to the work of James Sherk — an ide­o­logue work­ing on Trump’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil — a year ear­li­er and his work research­ing the fed­er­al labor laws look­ing for a loop­hole. The kind of loop­hole that would become the focus of Trump’s revenge plot: all non-loy­al­ists are going to have to go. Sched­ule F became a top admin­is­tra­tion secret before Trump signed it into effect on Oct. 21, 2020, two weeks before the elec­tion. It does­n’t sound like many agency heads took Trump’s Sched­ule F order seri­ous­ly, with one note­able excep­tion: Russ Vought, who was then the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get (OMB) direc­tor before mov­ing on to found the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), which is help­ing to car­ry on the Sched­ule F work into 2025. Because while Sched­ule F may have start­ed as a Trump revenge plot, it’s going to be ready for any Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion, Trump or not:

Axios
Inside Trump ’25

Trump’s revenge

Jonathan Swan
Jul 23, 2022

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was attend­ing the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, but show­ing no sign of grace. Lips pursed, face alter­nat­ing between anger and frus­tra­tion, he lashed out at ene­mies who had brought him to the doors of impeach­ment. He bran­dished the day’s news­pa­pers, wav­ing them above his head. The first head­line: “ACQUITTED.” The next: “Trump Acquit­ted.” It was Feb. 6, 2020.

Close aides believed Trump had crossed a psy­cho­log­i­cal line dur­ing his Sen­ate tri­al. He now want­ed to get even; he want­ed to fire every sin­gle last “snake” inside his gov­ern­ment. To acti­vate the plan for revenge, Trump turned to a young take-no-pris­on­ers loy­al­ist with chutz­pah: his for­mer aide John McEn­tee.

By the end of that year, Trump also had a sec­ond tool in his armory, a secret weapon with the innocu­ous title, “Sched­ule F.” The inten­tion of this obscure legal instru­ment was to empow­er the pres­i­dent to wipe out employ­ment pro­tec­tions for tens of thou­sands of civ­il ser­vants across the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

The mis­sion for McEn­tee and the pow­er of Sched­ule F dove­tailed in the lead-up to the 2020 elec­tion as Trump planned (but lost) a sec­ond term and fumed over per­ceived foes.

If for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump runs again in 2024 and wins back the White House, peo­ple close to him say, he would turn to both levers again. It is Sched­ule F, com­bined with the willpow­er of top lieu­tenants like McEn­tee, that could bring Trump clos­er to his dream of gut­ting the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy and installing thou­sands devot­ed to him or his “Amer­i­ca First” plat­form.

...

Trump’s move in ear­ly 2020 to bring back McEn­tee, the then 29-year-old for­mer pres­i­den­tial body man abrupt­ly fired in 2018 by then-chief of staff John Kel­ly, would become one of his more con­se­quen­tial deci­sions. McEn­tee had been one of his favorite aides and Trump had long regret­ted allow­ing Kel­ly, whom he had grown to despise, to have his way.

After Trump’s Sen­ate acquit­tal, he gave McEn­tee an aston­ish­ing pro­mo­tion to run the White House Office of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel. McEn­tee had no expe­ri­ence run­ning any kind of per­son­nel oper­a­tion, much less such a sig­nif­i­cant post in the U.S. gov­ern­ment. But Trump did not care.

He gave McEn­tee his bless­ing to start rid­ding the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of his ene­mies and replac­ing them with Trump peo­ple. McEn­tee was to ignore the “RINOs” who would try to dis­suade him. He was to press ahead with urgency and ruth­less­ness.

At the pres­i­den­t’s direc­tion, McEn­tee weed­ed out admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials deemed to be dis­loy­al or obstruc­tion­ist. With Trump’s unequiv­o­cal back­ing, he became more pow­er­ful than any per­son­nel direc­tor in recent his­to­ry. Trump had decid­ed to ignore his more tra­di­tion­al advis­ers and to take an aggres­sive stance against any­one in his way — an approach he would sure­ly repli­cate in any sec­ond term.

McEn­tee had the author­i­ty to over­rule Trump’s own Cab­i­net sec­re­taries. He was able to hire and fire in many cas­es with­out their sign-off — and in at least one instance, with­out even the Cab­i­net sec­re­tary’s pri­or knowl­edge.

In their place, McEn­tee and his col­leagues in the per­son­nel office recruit­ed die-hard Trump sup­port­ers from out­side Wash­ing­ton to serve in impor­tant gov­ern­ment posi­tions. Some had bare­ly grad­u­at­ed from col­lege and had few, if any, of the cre­den­tials usu­al­ly expect­ed for such posi­tions.

They test­ed job seek­ers’ com­mit­ment to Trump in infor­mal con­ver­sa­tions and they for­mal­ized this empha­sis in a “research ques­tion­naire” for gov­ern­ment offi­cials. One ques­tion on the form asked: “What part of Can­di­date Trump’s cam­paign mes­sage most appealed to you and why?” Answers to such ques­tions were pri­or­i­tized over pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tions and expe­ri­ence.

*****

“Red pills” and “blue pills”

McEn­tee brought a dif­fer­ent men­tal­i­ty to the per­son­nel office. He brought in “Amer­i­ca First” con­ser­v­a­tives who thought of them­selves as hav­ing been “red-pilled” about the evils of the Left.

This was a ref­er­ence to the 1999 dystopi­an sci-fi film “The Matrix,” where the main char­ac­ter was offered a choice between two col­ored pills — a red one to learn the dan­ger­ous truth of the world or a blue one to remain in igno­rance.

McEn­tee’s new recruits to the per­son­nel office were ardent­ly loy­al to Trump and com­mit­ted to his nation­al­ist ide­ol­o­gy — with espe­cial­ly hard­line views on trade, immi­gra­tion and for­eign pol­i­cy.

They believed, by and large, that the Amer­i­can repub­lic need­ed sav­ing from a range of domes­tic ene­mies and an embed­ded “deep state” sab­o­tag­ing Trump from with­in.

A key recruit to McEn­tee’s office was Andrew Kloster, a senior gov­ern­ment lawyer pre­vi­ous­ly at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Kloster helped McEntee’s deputy, James Bacon, devel­op his ques­tion­naire to vet gov­ern­ment employ­ees and over­haul the government’s hir­ing process.

Kloster described their approach in an inter­view last Novem­ber on the “Moment of Truth” pod­cast — a pod­cast run by Amer­i­can Moment, a group devel­op­ing an “Amer­i­ca First” per­son­nel pipeline for the next GOP admin­is­tra­tion.

“I think the first thing you need to hire for is loy­al­ty,” Kloster said on the pod­cast. “The fun­ny thing is, you can learn pol­i­cy. You can’t learn loy­al­ty.”

Loy­al­ty — to Trump and the “Amer­i­ca First” ide­ol­o­gy — was only part of the for­mu­la McEn­tee and his team want­ed. They delib­er­ate­ly sought recruits not chas­ing a long-term career in Wash­ing­ton. They screened out any­one who seemed mere­ly inter­est­ed in main­tain­ing a good rep­u­ta­tion with the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, K Street, or GOP lead­ers on Capi­tol Hill.

Kloster spent hours, some­times over mul­ti­ple days, con­duct­ing inter­views and design­ing method­ol­o­gy to iden­ti­fy “some­one who’s not on the team.”

A reveal­ing ques­tion was to ask prospects where they ide­al­ly want­ed to be pro­mot­ed to in the gov­ern­ment. If a job can­di­date want­ed to work in “inter­na­tion­al finance” it set off alarm bells. “You hear about what jobs come with perks; and trav­el­ing a lot and net­work­ing with the ‘Davos set’ is not some­thing some­one gen­uine­ly civic-mind­ed would angle for,” Kloster told Axios.

A red flag went up if a prospec­tive employ­ee answered “dereg­u­la­tion and judges” when asked to name their favorite Trump poli­cies. Kloster described this as “a shell of an answer.” It was a sure sign the appli­cant could be a weak-kneed mem­ber of the estab­lish­ment.

“This kind of answer isn’t always a deal­break­er, but you want some­one to take a risk and be hon­est with you about what prob­lems they see as fac­ing Amer­i­ca,” Kloster said. “A low­est-com­mon denom­i­na­tor answer is the sign of an oper­a­tor, a careerist.”

Kloster want­ed peo­ple har­bor­ing angst — who felt they had been per­son­al­ly wronged by “the sys­tem.” The big­ger the chip on their shoul­der, the bet­ter. And if some­one felt mugged, that was even bet­ter, as it would help dri­ve their desire to break up the sys­tem.

“It’s not just that being ‘can­celed’ moti­vates a per­son; it’s also that being can­celed indi­cates a per­son knows the kind of heat that is brought to bear by the media, by insti­tu­tions, and the pub­lic, and is prob­a­bly bet­ter able to fight when the time comes,” Kloster told Axios.

By late 2020, McEn­tee and White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows — work­ing hand in glove — had org charts to plan a sec­ond term. They had a chart for each fed­er­al agency and they had them print­ed on large boards for review. One set of boards was in McEntee’s office and anoth­er in Mead­ows’ office.

They looked at posi­tions fur­ther down in the bureau­cra­cy in a sec­ond term — not just sec­re­taries, but under­sec­re­taries and assis­tant sec­re­taries. They were think­ing about peo­ple will­ing to break a lit­tle chi­na.

One source on the edge of this work at the time said the plan was to bring tenac­i­ty and resolve to the first 45 days of a sec­ond term, by con­trast to the missed oppor­tu­ni­ties of Trump’s first term. They had four years of expe­ri­ence to know what the pit­falls were.

McEn­tee also had explic­it lists of top offi­cials to fire and hire in a Trump sec­ond term. This was his road map for the future.

Accord­ing to a source with direct knowl­edge of the lists, promi­nent names on McEn­tee’s sec­ond-term “fire” list includ­ed the White House coro­n­avirus response coor­di­na­tor Deb­o­rah Birx, Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Bet­sy DeVos, and the direc­tor of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, Fran­cis Collins.

But the “fire” list was just the start. To respond to Trump’s demand to clean out the “deep state,” McEn­tee would need far-reach­ing pow­ers and a legal ratio­nale to sup­ply them.

He heard about some­thing that might help him in the sum­mer of 2020. There were low whis­pers in cor­ri­dors by then that options were being devel­oped to change the sta­tus quo in the civ­il ser­vice.

*****

Ori­gins of Sched­ule F

What was being qui­et­ly worked on — by a more tech­no­crat­ic group of Trump offi­cials — was a nov­el legal the­o­ry. It would give the pres­i­dent the author­i­ty to ter­mi­nate and replace an esti­mat­ed 50,000 career civ­il ser­vants across the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

Its gen­e­sis was back in ear­ly 2017. Senior Trump offi­cials had talked about the need to expand the hir­ing cat­e­go­ry typ­i­cal­ly reserved for polit­i­cal appointees so that they could fire — and replace — a much larg­er num­ber of career gov­ern­ment offi­cials. But their ear­ly dis­cus­sions were bogged down by bureau­crat­ic and legal delays for two years.

The idea for Sched­ule F was hatched in Jan­u­ary 2019 by a lit­tle-known offi­cial work­ing inside the Eisen­how­er Exec­u­tive Office Build­ing, an extrav­a­gant build­ing in the Sec­ond Empire style across the street from the White House.

James Sherk, an enter­pris­ing con­ser­v­a­tive ide­o­logue on Trump’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil, had been fum­ing for months about career offi­cials across var­i­ous agen­cies whom he believed were delib­er­ate­ly sab­o­tag­ing Trump’s agen­da. He had heard sto­ries from his col­leagues and encoun­tered ele­ments of the resis­tance first­hand. The push­back includ­ed an upris­ing with­in the State Depart­ment against Trump’s hard­line refugee poli­cies.

The revolt was so intense that only 11 days after Trump took office, The Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lished a sto­ry that detailed “a grow­ing wave of oppo­si­tion from the fed­er­al work­ers” who were charged with imple­ment­ing Trump’s agen­da.

From his stand­ing desk inside the EEOB, Sherk began read­ing through fed­er­al statutes on Cor­nell Law School’s web­site. He under­took a close read­ing of Title 5, the sec­tion of the U.S. Code that gov­erned fed­er­al employ­ees and agency pro­ce­dures. He was search­ing for any open­ings in the law that might allow a pres­i­dent to fire career gov­ern­ment offi­cials who had pro­tec­tions that made it dif­fi­cult and time-con­sum­ing to get rid of them.

Sherk researched the his­to­ry of fed­er­al employ­ment pro­tec­tions. Con­gress had passed the Pendle­ton Act in 1883 to reform the gov­ern­ment. The goal of this law was to replace the patron­age sys­tem with a non­par­ti­san civ­il ser­vice that would work across admin­is­tra­tions, no mat­ter which polit­i­cal par­ty con­trolled the White House. The objec­tive was to cre­ate a pro­fes­sion­al civ­il ser­vice. The idea was that over long careers, these gov­ern­ment offi­cials would accu­mu­late invalu­able insti­tu­tion­al knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence that would ben­e­fit Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dents alike.

What Sherk dis­cov­ered, how­ev­er, was that the Pendle­ton Act did not intro­duce the exten­sive removal pro­tec­tions that have made it so oner­ous for mod­ern pres­i­dents to fire civ­il ser­vants. Sherk learned through his research that those appeals rights were intro­duced much lat­er, in a series of laws and exec­u­tive orders passed between the 1940s and the 1970s.

Sherk shared the view of many con­ser­v­a­tives that the “non­par­ti­san” sys­tem was a farce that helped Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dents and stymied Repub­li­cans.

He could point to cam­paign dona­tions — skew­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic among fed­er­al gov­ern­ment work­ers — to argue that the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy, far from being non­par­ti­san, had too many embed­ded Democ­rats work­ing to thwart Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tions.

*****

A weapon to aim

Trump want­ed a weapon to aim at these civ­il ser­vants — to threat­en them with their jobs if they stepped out of line. He want­ed to be able to fire and replace them if they were dis­loy­al or obstruct­ed his agen­da. Sherk was search­ing for the legal instru­ment to sup­port Trump’s aim.

In Jan­u­ary 2019, Sherk found Trump his weapon, in Sec­tion 7511 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code. This sec­tion exempts from fir­ing pro­tec­tions employ­ees “whose posi­tion has been deter­mined to be of a con­fi­den­tial, pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing, pol­i­cy-mak­ing or pol­i­cy-advo­cat­ing char­ac­ter by the Pres­i­dent for a posi­tion that the Pres­i­dent has except­ed from the com­pet­i­tive ser­vice.”

It struck Sherk. The lan­guage in the Code was not lim­it­ed to polit­i­cal appointees. The word­ing was “con­fi­den­tial, pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing, pol­i­cy-mak­ing or pol­i­cy-advo­cat­ing.”

Noth­ing, Sherk thought, stops us from putting career employ­ees into this buck­et.

Con­ser­v­a­tives had long dreamed of apply­ing these cri­te­ria to career staff as well as polit­i­cal appointees. Sherk’s rel­a­tive­ly untrained eyes saw a fresh path in the statute.

He was not a lawyer, but he had spent more than a decade work­ing on pub­lic pol­i­cy at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. He had also worked on more than a dozen exec­u­tive orders for Trump, includ­ing a con­tro­ver­sial decree that clas­si­cal archi­tec­ture be the default for fed­er­al build­ings in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Sherk sent his idea to a lawyer in the White House Coun­sel’s Office. Over the next few months, Sherk worked in secre­cy with a small group of Trump polit­i­cal appointees and gov­ern­ment lawyers to pre­pare what became the “Sched­ule F” order.

The final order would com­mand agency lead­ers to com­pile lists of their staff who served in roles that influ­enced pol­i­cy. These employ­ees would then be reas­signed to a new employ­ment cat­e­go­ry, Sched­ule F, which would prompt­ly elim­i­nate most of their employ­ment pro­tec­tions. The head of the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s HR divi­sion — the Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment — would have to sign off on the lists. And then these career civ­il ser­vants could eas­i­ly be fired and replaced.

Career offi­cials across the gov­ern­ment had no idea about the devel­op­ment of this extra­or­di­nary pro­pos­al to threat­en their job secu­ri­ty. Mem­bers of Con­gress tasked with over­see­ing the civ­il ser­vice were also in the dark. So were the fed­er­al work­ers’ unions. Sched­ule F became one of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s most close­ly held secrets.

Sherk and a small group of Trump polit­i­cal appointees worked quick­ly. They com­plet­ed a draft of the order by late spring of 2019. They sent paper copies to senior polit­i­cal appointees at a few agen­cies to get their feed­back. They gave these offi­cials firm instruc­tions not to share any details of the order with the career staff at their agen­cies.

Trump’s top offi­cials who were read into the plan­ning were struck by the vast impli­ca­tions of Sched­ule F. But dur­ing the close­ly held pol­i­cy process, sev­er­al expressed con­cerns about the tim­ing of the order. Trump’s agen­cies had a huge work­load com­ing up. Some offi­cials thought it would be a bad idea to unveil the order and foment staff unrest.

The team decid­ed to wait until 2020 to imple­ment Sched­ule F. Then came COVID-19, which over­took the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and fur­ther delayed the order.

It took until Oct. 21, 2020, two weeks before the elec­tion, for Trump to final­ly sign the Sched­ule F order. The announce­ment was imme­di­ate­ly drowned out by the noise of the final stretch of cam­paign­ing.

Few peo­ple had the band­width to pay atten­tion to a new order with an ano­dyne title dur­ing the most chaot­ic elec­tion in recent his­to­ry. Most Amer­i­cans have nev­er heard of Sched­ule F, let alone absorbed its vast impli­ca­tions.

The Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lished a detailed insid­er account of the evo­lu­tion of Sched­ule F and the risks to the civ­il ser­vice with­in two days of the exec­u­tive order.

But lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton were only bare­ly awake to what Trump had done. Some of Trump’s own agency lead­ers made no seri­ous attempt to fol­low the Sched­ule F order. Trump had lost the elec­tion; his senior offi­cials pre­dict­ed incom­ing Pres­i­dent Biden would imme­di­ate­ly rescind the order. Some felt there was no point ruf­fling feath­ers on behalf of a doomed order.

How­ev­er, one of Trump’s hard-edged and most ide­o­log­i­cal agency heads — Russ Vought, who ran the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get — want­ed to lay down a mark­er. Regard­less of the elec­tion result, Vought want­ed to show what Sched­ule F could accom­plish inside his own agency. Vought pro­posed reas­sign­ing 88% of OMB’s work­force as Sched­ule F employ­ees, with just two months left of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy.

*****

Sound­ing the alarm

Some on the left did imme­di­ate­ly grasp the sig­nif­i­cance of what Trump was doing and tried to sound the alarm.

Rep. Ger­ry Con­nol­ly (D‑Va.) chair­man of the House sub­com­mit­tee over­see­ing gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions, was one of them. He and oth­er Democ­rats on the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee wrote a let­ter to Michael Rigas, head of Trump’s Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment, describ­ing what they viewed as the “grave” impli­ca­tions of the Sched­ule F order.

“The exec­u­tive order is a harm­ful attack on the integri­ty of our gov­ern­ment because it will per­mit the replace­ment of non-par­ti­san civ­il ser­vants with par­ti­san Trump loy­al­ists,” the law­mak­ers wrote.

...

Trump was delight­ed. He sent Sherk a signed copy of the 2020 Wash­ing­ton Post front-page sto­ry, head­lined “Assault on feds years in mak­ing.” Sherk was also giv­en the Sharpie that Trump used on Air Force One to sign the order. The news­pa­per, the exec­u­tive order and the pres­i­den­tial Sharpie are now hang­ing framed on the walls of Sherk’s office at the Trump-allied think tank, the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute. AFPI is one of the key groups — detailed in part one of this series — devel­op­ing plans and per­son­nel lists for a Trump sec­ond term.

Pres­i­dent Biden struck back, rescind­ing the Sched­ule F exec­u­tive order on his third day in office.

But if Trump returns to office in 2025, his plans to upend the civ­il ser­vice could real­ize the worst fears of the rel­a­tive­ly few Democ­rats who grasp Sched­ule F’s sig­nif­i­cance.

*****

The fine print

Even if Sched­ule F is not reim­posed — or if it comes back but is then lim­it­ed by Con­gress or the courts — experts say there are already so many exist­ing exemp­tions across the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy that a future pres­i­dent deter­mined to pur­sue mass fir­ings would have plen­ty to work with. Some­one with Trump’s willpow­er will find a new method­ol­o­gy if Sched­ule F falls.

The sys­tem has become Balka­nized over a mat­ter of decades, with a hand from Democ­rats as well as Repub­li­cans, to the point where experts say there are effec­tive­ly dozens of civ­il ser­vices — not one — all cov­ered by sep­a­rate author­i­ties with dif­fer­ent rules and pro­tec­tions.

Broad­ly speak­ing, the U.S. Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty is not cov­ered by the so-called com­pet­i­tive ser­vice jobs appoint­ed under Title 5. Thus, Sched­ule F would­n’t have the same impact because intel­li­gence employ­ees are already exempt from most pro­tec­tions.

Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty posts do have some due process rights — but those are typ­i­cal­ly devel­oped with­in indi­vid­ual agen­cies, and they do not get to appeal to the Mer­it Sys­tems Pro­tec­tion Board. So pres­i­dents already have wide lat­i­tude to purge intel­li­gence posi­tions, so long as the agency head goes along and vot­ers or Con­gress do not pun­ish them.

Sched­ule F does not affect a cat­e­go­ry called the Senior Exec­u­tive Ser­vice, which includes some of the most senior career gov­ern­ment offi­cials.

But agency heads could tar­get those pro­tect­ed SES offi­cials in oth­er ways, sources close to Trump said. They could reas­sign them to back­wa­ter jobs or install polit­i­cal appointees and sym­pa­thet­ic career offi­cials on pper­for­mance review boards who could deliv­er adverse reviews that could lead to ter­mi­na­tion.

Some in con­ser­v­a­tive legal cir­cles say that the major civ­il ser­vice laws dat­ing to the 1800s are all arguably uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and that it should be up to a pres­i­dent who stays and goes on their watch. Test­ing the lim­its of that the­o­ry would put the ques­tion before the courts.

Trump’s clos­est con­fi­dant in Con­gress, Rep. Jim Jor­dan (R‑Ohio), is excit­ed about the prospects of mass fir­ings in the sec­ond term of a Trump admin­is­tra­tion. He said in an inter­view with Axios that he had talked about it with anoth­er per­son close to Trump and that “the line that we talked about was, ‘Fire every­one you’re allowed to fire. And [then] fire a few peo­ple you’re not sup­posed to, so that they have to sue you and you send the mes­sage.’ That’s the way to do it.”

...

McEn­tee now lives in Cal­i­for­nia and is work­ing on build­ing a dat­ing app for con­ser­v­a­tives — fund­ed by bil­lion­aire GOP megadonor Peter Thiel. But he main­tains strong ties to key peo­ple work­ing in an array of out­side groups on 2025 per­son­nel projects, some of whom had worked for him in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

*****

Signs and sig­nals

Trump is alert to any signs of squishi­ness, espe­cial­ly on his sig­na­ture issue: con­test­ing the out­come of the 2020 elec­tion. He will like­ly bar hir­ing any­one who believes Joe Biden is the legit­i­mate­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. And he may declare ahead of time whom he will, and will not, pick.

Ear­li­er this year, Patel joined Char­lie Kirk’s pod­cast to dis­cuss what they both saw as the biggest fail­ure of Trump’s first term. Kirk is a Trump ally with sub­stan­tial influ­ence. He runs the col­lege cam­pus activist net­work “Turn­ing Point USA,” which reg­u­lar­ly con­venes thou­sands of “Amer­i­ca First” stu­dents to watch speech­es from Trump, his son Don Jr., and top GOP elect­ed offi­cials.

It is part of the wingspan of Trump’s most active loy­al­ists to con­duct com­mu­ni­ca­tions and sig­nal­ing through pod­casts with like-mind­ed con­ser­v­a­tive media or for­mer staffers from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

“So you think, the sec­ond term, one of the things has to be kind of a promise that Trump is going to make dif­fer­ent per­son­nel choic­es,” Kirk said to Patel.

“Yeah,” Patel replied. “And you know how you solve that? You build the book now. And I believe that that’s in process and that’s going.”

“Not only do you build the book now of who you’re going to put in the Cab­i­net and deputies and under­sec­re­taries, but then you make announce­ments on the cam­paign trail: ‘If I win, this per­son is going to be head of FBI, this per­son is going to take CIA, this per­son is going to DOD,’ ” Patel added. “Show the vot­ers that that is the indi­vid­ual you have iden­ti­fied to lead your Cab­i­net.”

“I think that’s ter­rif­ic,” Kirk said. “The same way he did the Supreme Court picks.”

...

————

“Trump’s revenge” by Jonathan Swan; Axios; 07/23/2022

“Close aides believed Trump had crossed a psy­cho­log­i­cal line dur­ing his Sen­ate tri­al. He now want­ed to get even; he want­ed to fire every sin­gle last “snake” inside his gov­ern­ment. To acti­vate the plan for revenge, Trump turned to a young take-no-pris­on­ers loy­al­ist with chutz­pah: his for­mer aide John McEn­tee.

This isn’t just a fas­cist ide­o­log­i­cal purge. It’s revenge. Trump’s revenge. A revenge plot that Trump already put into motion in ear­ly 2020 with the appoint­ment of John McEn­tee, his for­mer body­man who was fired by then-chief of staff John Kel­ly in 2018. Kel­ly was already out of the White House and on the dis­loy­al list by the time McEn­tee was invit­ed back into the admin­is­tra­tion. McEn­tee was quite the sym­bol­ic choice for the role. A role that gave McEn­tee the pow­er to over­rule Cab­i­net sec­re­taries:

...
Trump’s move in ear­ly 2020 to bring back McEn­tee, the then 29-year-old for­mer pres­i­den­tial body man abrupt­ly fired in 2018 by then-chief of staff John Kel­ly, would become one of his more con­se­quen­tial deci­sions. McEn­tee had been one of his favorite aides and Trump had long regret­ted allow­ing Kel­ly, whom he had grown to despise, to have his way.

After Trump’s Sen­ate acquit­tal, he gave McEn­tee an aston­ish­ing pro­mo­tion to run the White House Office of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel. McEn­tee had no expe­ri­ence run­ning any kind of per­son­nel oper­a­tion, much less such a sig­nif­i­cant post in the U.S. gov­ern­ment. But Trump did not care.

He gave McEn­tee his bless­ing to start rid­ding the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of his ene­mies and replac­ing them with Trump peo­ple. McEn­tee was to ignore the “RINOs” who would try to dis­suade him. He was to press ahead with urgency and ruth­less­ness.

...

McEn­tee had the author­i­ty to over­rule Trump’s own Cab­i­net sec­re­taries. He was able to hire and fire in many cas­es with­out their sign-off — and in at least one instance, with­out even the Cab­i­net sec­re­tary’s pri­or knowl­edge.
...

There was real­ly just one qual­i­fi­ca­tion for appli­cants: loy­al­ty to Trump. Overt loy­al­ty to Trump and the MAGA agen­da. An agen­da that, at that point in Trump’s pres­i­den­cy, was focused on Trump’s declared bat­tle with the ‘deep state’:

...
In their place, McEn­tee and his col­leagues in the per­son­nel office recruit­ed die-hard Trump sup­port­ers from out­side Wash­ing­ton to serve in impor­tant gov­ern­ment posi­tions. Some had bare­ly grad­u­at­ed from col­lege and had few, if any, of the cre­den­tials usu­al­ly expect­ed for such posi­tions.

They test­ed job seek­ers’ com­mit­ment to Trump in infor­mal con­ver­sa­tions and they for­mal­ized this empha­sis in a “research ques­tion­naire” for gov­ern­ment offi­cials. One ques­tion on the form asked: “What part of Can­di­date Trump’s cam­paign mes­sage most appealed to you and why?” Answers to such ques­tions were pri­or­i­tized over pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tions and expe­ri­ence.

...

McEn­tee’s new recruits to the per­son­nel office were ardent­ly loy­al to Trump and com­mit­ted to his nation­al­ist ide­ol­o­gy — with espe­cial­ly hard­line views on trade, immi­gra­tion and for­eign pol­i­cy.

They believed, by and large, that the Amer­i­can repub­lic need­ed sav­ing from a range of domes­tic ene­mies and an embed­ded “deep state” sab­o­tag­ing Trump from with­in.
...

And recall how the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, under its new pres­i­dent (and CNP mem­ber) Kevin Roberts, was described as mak­ing its own sep­a­rate con­tri­bu­tion to the Sched­ule F project. Sim­i­lar­ly, we learned about the efforts by a new group, Amer­i­can Moment, found­ed by CNP mem­ber Saurabh Shar­ma. Here we see one of the key recruits for John McEn­tee’s oper­a­tion, Andrew Kloster, was recruit­ed from Her­itage and Kloster was talk­ing about their over­all strat­e­gy on a pod­cast for Amer­i­can Move­ment last Novem­ber. This net­work has­n’t stopped work­ing since its start in ear­ly 2020 when Trump brought McEn­tee back into the White House. They’ve even been pod­cast­ing about it:

...
A key recruit to McEn­tee’s office was Andrew Kloster, a senior gov­ern­ment lawyer pre­vi­ous­ly at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Kloster helped McEntee’s deputy, James Bacon, devel­op his ques­tion­naire to vet gov­ern­ment employ­ees and over­haul the government’s hir­ing process.

Kloster described their approach in an inter­view last Novem­ber on the “Moment of Truth” pod­cast — a pod­cast run by Amer­i­can Moment, a group devel­op­ing an “Amer­i­ca First” per­son­nel pipeline for the next GOP admin­is­tra­tion.

“I think the first thing you need to hire for is loy­al­ty,” Kloster said on the pod­cast. “The fun­ny thing is, you can learn pol­i­cy. You can’t learn loy­al­ty.”

...

Kloster want­ed peo­ple har­bor­ing angst — who felt they had been per­son­al­ly wronged by “the sys­tem.” The big­ger the chip on their shoul­der, the bet­ter. And if some­one felt mugged, that was even bet­ter, as it would help dri­ve their desire to break up the sys­tem.

“It’s not just that being ‘can­celed’ moti­vates a per­son; it’s also that being can­celed indi­cates a per­son knows the kind of heat that is brought to bear by the media, by insti­tu­tions, and the pub­lic, and is prob­a­bly bet­ter able to fight when the time comes,” Kloster told Axios.
...

Note that when we see that Mark Mead­ows was work­ing with McEn­tee in the fall of 2020 on the loy­al­ty purge, don’t for­get that Mead­ows joined the CPI after leav­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. And as we’re going to see, the CPI is play­ing a major role in the Sched­ule F loy­al­ty purge. In oth­er words, Mark Mead­ows nev­er stopped work­ing on Sched­ule F either:

...
By late 2020, McEn­tee and White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows — work­ing hand in glove — had org charts to plan a sec­ond term. They had a chart for each fed­er­al agency and they had them print­ed on large boards for review. One set of boards was in McEntee’s office and anoth­er in Mead­ows’ office.
...

Also note how the indi­vid­ual who actu­al­ly came up with the bureau­crat­ic ‘aha’ — the idea that the rules about the fir­ing of polit­i­cal appointees — was some­one who pre­vi­ous­ly spent over a decade work­ing at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion was work­ing at the Trump White House­’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil at the time. Recall how the AFPI is run by Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor Brooke Rollins. It’s the same larg­er net­work:

...
What was being qui­et­ly worked on — by a more tech­no­crat­ic group of Trump offi­cials — was a nov­el legal the­o­ry. It would give the pres­i­dent the author­i­ty to ter­mi­nate and replace an esti­mat­ed 50,000 career civ­il ser­vants across the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

...

James Sherk, an enter­pris­ing con­ser­v­a­tive ide­o­logue on Trump’s Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil, had been fum­ing for months about career offi­cials across var­i­ous agen­cies whom he believed were delib­er­ate­ly sab­o­tag­ing Trump’s agen­da. He had heard sto­ries from his col­leagues and encoun­tered ele­ments of the resis­tance first­hand. The push­back includ­ed an upris­ing with­in the State Depart­ment against Trump’s hard­line refugee poli­cies.

...

In Jan­u­ary 2019, Sherk found Trump his weapon, in Sec­tion 7511 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code. This sec­tion exempts from fir­ing pro­tec­tions employ­ees “whose posi­tion has been deter­mined to be of a con­fi­den­tial, pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing, pol­i­cy-mak­ing or pol­i­cy-advo­cat­ing char­ac­ter by the Pres­i­dent for a posi­tion that the Pres­i­dent has except­ed from the com­pet­i­tive ser­vice.”

It struck Sherk. The lan­guage in the Code was not lim­it­ed to polit­i­cal appointees. The word­ing was “con­fi­den­tial, pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing, pol­i­cy-mak­ing or pol­i­cy-advo­cat­ing.”

Noth­ing, Sherk thought, stops us from putting career employ­ees into this buck­et.

Con­ser­v­a­tives had long dreamed of apply­ing these cri­te­ria to career staff as well as polit­i­cal appointees. Sherk’s rel­a­tive­ly untrained eyes saw a fresh path in the statute.

He was not a lawyer, but he had spent more than a decade work­ing on pub­lic pol­i­cy at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. He had also worked on more than a dozen exec­u­tive orders for Trump, includ­ing a con­tro­ver­sial decree that clas­si­cal archi­tec­ture be the default for fed­er­al build­ings in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.
...

Anoth­er note­wor­thy detail in the plot involves the fact that the head of the Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment (OPM) had to sign off on it. So it’s note­wor­thy that Trump tried to replace the then-act­ing head of the OPM, Michael Rigas, with John Gibbs, then the head of the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment (HUD) in July of 2020 three months before Sched­ule F was order into effect just two weeks before the elec­tion, although that nom­i­na­tion was nev­er con­firmed. So Rigas was still the head of the OPM when Trump issued the Octo­ber 2020 Sched­ule F order:

...
Sherk sent his idea to a lawyer in the White House Coun­sel’s Office. Over the next few months, Sherk worked in secre­cy with a small group of Trump polit­i­cal appointees and gov­ern­ment lawyers to pre­pare what became the “Sched­ule F” order.

The final order would com­mand agency lead­ers to com­pile lists of their staff who served in roles that influ­enced pol­i­cy. These employ­ees would then be reas­signed to a new employ­ment cat­e­go­ry, Sched­ule F, which would prompt­ly elim­i­nate most of their employ­ment pro­tec­tions. The head of the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s HR divi­sion — the Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment — would have to sign off on the lists. And then these career civ­il ser­vants could eas­i­ly be fired and replaced.

Career offi­cials across the gov­ern­ment had no idea about the devel­op­ment of this extra­or­di­nary pro­pos­al to threat­en their job secu­ri­ty. Mem­bers of Con­gress tasked with over­see­ing the civ­il ser­vice were also in the dark. So were the fed­er­al work­ers’ unions. Sched­ule F became one of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s most close­ly held secrets.

...

It took until Oct. 21, 2020, two weeks before the elec­tion, for Trump to final­ly sign the Sched­ule F order. The announce­ment was imme­di­ate­ly drowned out by the noise of the final stretch of cam­paign­ing.
...

Now, when it came to actu­al­ly imple­ment­ing Sched­ule F, it does­n’t appear that many agency heads took the order seri­ous­ly. But there was one very notable excep­tion: Russ Vought, then the head of the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get, pro­posed reas­sign­ing 88% of the agency work­force as Sched­ule F employ­ees. Note that Russ Vought’s Wife, Mary Vought, shows up on the leaked CNP mem­ber list as an ‘assumed mem­ber’. So whether or not she’s actu­al­ly a mem­ber, she appar­ent­ly works so close­ly with the CNP that every­one just assumes she’s one. Once again, the CNP net­work is just beneath the sur­face:

...
But lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton were only bare­ly awake to what Trump had done. Some of Trump’s own agency lead­ers made no seri­ous attempt to fol­low the Sched­ule F order. Trump had lost the elec­tion; his senior offi­cials pre­dict­ed incom­ing Pres­i­dent Biden would imme­di­ate­ly rescind the order. Some felt there was no point ruf­fling feath­ers on behalf of a doomed order.

How­ev­er, one of Trump’s hard-edged and most ide­o­log­i­cal agency heads — Russ Vought, who ran the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get — want­ed to lay down a mark­er. Regard­less of the elec­tion result, Vought want­ed to show what Sched­ule F could accom­plish inside his own agency. Vought pro­posed reas­sign­ing 88% of OMB’s work­force as Sched­ule F employ­ees, with just two months left of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy.

...

Pres­i­dent Biden struck back, rescind­ing the Sched­ule F exec­u­tive order on his third day in office.

But if Trump returns to office in 2025, his plans to upend the civ­il ser­vice could real­ize the worst fears of the rel­a­tive­ly few Democ­rats who grasp Sched­ule F’s sig­nif­i­cance.
...

Also note how many par­al­lels there are between the legal the­o­ry that pres­i­dents should have com­plete con­trol over the exec­u­tive branch’s work­force regard­less of laws or court rul­ings and the ‘inde­pen­dent-state-leg­is­la­ture’ the­o­ry that was at the core of the legal strat­e­gy behind the plot to over­turn the elec­tion. It’s all of a piece:

...
Some in con­ser­v­a­tive legal cir­cles say that the major civ­il ser­vice laws dat­ing to the 1800s are all arguably uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and that it should be up to a pres­i­dent who stays and goes on their watch. Test­ing the lim­its of that the­o­ry would put the ques­tion before the courts.
...

Also note the ties between McEn­tee and Peter Thiel. Recall the impor­tant role Thiel played in Trump tran­si­tion through his close work­ing rela­tion­ship with tran­si­tion team mem­ber Charles John­son. So when we hear that McEn­tee still main­tains strong ties to the peo­ple work­ing on this Sched­ule F project in antic­i­pa­tion of 2025, keep in mind those ties To Thiel and Thiel’s long­stand­ing inter­est in White House staffing deci­sions:

...
McEn­tee now lives in Cal­i­for­nia and is work­ing on build­ing a dat­ing app for con­ser­v­a­tives — fund­ed by bil­lion­aire GOP megadonor Peter Thiel. But he main­tains strong ties to key peo­ple work­ing in an array of out­side groups on 2025 per­son­nel projects, some of whom had worked for him in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.
...

And then we get to a par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turb­ing part of this whole sto­ry: The plan isn’t sim­ply to imple­ment Sched­ule F imme­di­ate­ly upon the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion. They are also talk­ing about putting togeth­er lists of names of the peo­ple who will be fill­ing the roles and cam­paign­ing on it. So is this why the whole plan got leaked to Axios? It’s hard to keep this a secret if Trump plans on cam­paign on his planned gov­ern­ment purge. Also note that Char­lie Kirk’s pod­cast was an appro­pri­ate venue for Kash Patel to dis­cussed this idea. Char­lie Kirk is a mem­ber of the CNP, after all. Every­where we look with this Sched­ule F plot we find mem­bers of the CNP:

...
Ear­li­er this year, Patel joined Char­lie Kirk’s pod­cast to dis­cuss what they both saw as the biggest fail­ure of Trump’s first term. Kirk is a Trump ally with sub­stan­tial influ­ence. He runs the col­lege cam­pus activist net­work “Turn­ing Point USA,” which reg­u­lar­ly con­venes thou­sands of “Amer­i­ca First” stu­dents to watch speech­es from Trump, his son Don Jr., and top GOP elect­ed offi­cials.

It is part of the wingspan of Trump’s most active loy­al­ists to con­duct com­mu­ni­ca­tions and sig­nal­ing through pod­casts with like-mind­ed con­ser­v­a­tive media or for­mer staffers from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

“So you think, the sec­ond term, one of the things has to be kind of a promise that Trump is going to make dif­fer­ent per­son­nel choic­es,” Kirk said to Patel.

“Yeah,” Patel replied. “And you know how you solve that? You build the book now. And I believe that that’s in process and that’s going.”

“Not only do you build the book now of who you’re going to put in the Cab­i­net and deputies and under­sec­re­taries, but then you make announce­ments on the cam­paign trail: ‘If I win, this per­son is going to be head of FBI, this per­son is going to take CIA, this per­son is going to DOD,’ ” Patel added. “Show the vot­ers that that is the indi­vid­ual you have iden­ti­fied to lead your Cab­i­net.”

“I think that’s ter­rif­ic,” Kirk said. “The same way he did the Supreme Court picks.”
...

And that con­cludes our look at Jonathan Swan’s Sched­ule F reports that sort of blew the whole sto­ry open. Sure, there were reports about Sched­ule F before this. But noth­ing that made clear just how far-reach­ing the efforts were in devel­op­ing a plot or that the plot is still ful­ly ongo­ing and big­ger than ever. Don’t for­get, all those CPI spin-offs did­n’t exist in 2019 and 2020 when the plot was still get­ting hatched in the Trump White House. There’s a lot more man pow­er behind it now. And they aren’t hid­ing it any­more. We won’t be able to say they did­n’t warn us.

The CPI’s Brood of MAGA Spinoffs Working to Get Schedule F Ready for 2024

As those twin Axios pieces describe, the Sched­ule F plot is clear­ly a MAGA-world enter­prise. But also clear­ly a CNP-backed ini­tia­tive. And as the fol­low­ing Documented.net piece lays out, it’s the CNP-dom­i­nat­ed CPI where these two worlds con­verge. It’s a con­ver­gence that is reflect­ed by the record near­ly $20 mil­lion raised by the CPI in 2021 for Repub­li­can mega-donors, includ­ing a $1 mil­lion dona­tion for Trump’s own Save Amer­i­ca PAC. And the CPI has­n’t been just sit­ting on all that cash. Eight new CPI spin­offs were cre­at­ed in 2021. One of those spin­offs, Cle­ta Mitchel­l’s ‘Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work’, is focused on con­tin­u­ing the now-stan­dard claims of wide­spread Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­er fraud that were at the core of the jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. But then there’s the spin­offs we’ve already seen as part of the Sched­ule F plot: the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA), Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion (AFLF), and Amer­i­can Moment. Yes, while it’s not always clear in the cov­er­age of these groups that they’re actu­al­ly CPI spin­offs, that’s what they are. Which is reminder that, while it might seem like there’s large num­ber of dif­fer­ent groups work­ing of this project, they all oper­at­ing from the same play­book because they’re all ulti­mate­ly part of the same net­work. A net­work now financed by large num­bers of GOP mega-donors who on board with the agen­da:

Doc­u­ment­ed

Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute: The Trump-aligned $19.7M Insti­tu­tion Cre­at­ing “Amer­i­ca First” Polit­i­cal Infra­struc­ture

Trump: “CPI is help­ing to build out the vital infra­struc­ture we need to lead the Amer­i­ca First move­ment to new heights.”
Pub­lished On JUL 10, 2022

The Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (“CPI”) is a $19.7 mil­lion “Amer­i­ca First” insti­tu­tion boost­ed with a $1 mil­lion dona­tion from for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s PAC. Led by for­mer Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows and for­mer Her­itage Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent Jim DeMint, CPI is cre­at­ing the MAGA-ori­ent­ed polit­i­cal infra­struc­ture that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion lacked.

CPI is recruit­ing Amer­i­ca First staffers and pro­vid­ing in-depth train­ing for Hill offices, as well as cre­at­ing legal insti­tu­tions, oppo­si­tion research firms, think tanks, and oth­er groups helmed by for­mer Trump offi­cials and allies, includ­ing Stephen Miller, Russ Vought, and Cle­ta Mitchell.

The group’s ambi­tions are sprawl­ing, from ampli­fy­ing con­spir­a­cies around stolen elec­tions and “crit­i­cal race the­o­ry,” to tank­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nees and fil­ing law­suits against the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. CPI’s pres­i­dent, Ed Cor­ri­g­an, helped lead Trump’s 2016 tran­si­tion team, and the group is posi­tioned to staff and sup­port the next MAGA admin­is­tra­tion.

CPI is locat­ed blocks from the U.S. Capi­tol, and serves as a hub for the Amer­i­ca First move­ment. The House Free­dom Cau­cus holds week­ly meet­ings at CPI, and texts obtained by the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee show law­mak­ers like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Sen. Mike Lee ref­er­enc­ing meet­ings at CPI in the tumul­tuous peri­od fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion. Near­ly two dozen indi­vid­u­als tied to the Jan­u­ary 6 attempt­ed coup are con­nect­ed to CPI, accord­ing to Grid’s analy­sis.

Nerve Cen­ter for the MAGA Move­ment

CPI’s Wash­ing­ton D.C. head­quar­ters serve as a hub for the far-right con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. Accord­ing to CPI, in 2021 the “House Free­dom Cau­cus, the Sen­ate Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, Con­gres­sion­al Chiefs of Staff, Con­gres­sion­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tors, Con­gres­sion­al Leg­isla­tive Direc­tors, and numer­ous con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions and activists coa­lesced reg­u­lar­ly at [CPI’s head­quar­ters] to plan their meth­ods and means of attack against the Left to save this coun­try.”

CPI boast­ed of hold­ing 600 meet­ings or events in 2021, served as a “strat­e­gy cen­ter” to oppose Pres­i­dent Biden’s vac­cine require­ments, and host­ed mul­ti­ple “war rooms” dur­ing Judge Ketan­ji Brown-Jackson’s Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion. CPI is also expand­ing, and says that it is “in the process of acquir­ing mul­ti­ple prop­er­ties adja­cent to our D.C. head­quar­ters in order to cre­ate a cul­ture of col­lab­o­ra­tion and vic­to­ry for the move­ment.”

Accord­ing to CPI, mem­bers like Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Andy Big­gs, Sen. Mar­sha Black­burn, and Rep. Byron Don­alds have made the CPI head­quar­ters “their home away from home.” A dozen mem­bers of Con­gress have dis­closed pay­ing mem­ber­ship dues to CPI/CPC using cam­paign or lead­er­ship PAC funds.

Ties to Trump’s 2020 Coup Attempt

CPI and its affil­i­ate groups “employ or assist at least 20 key oper­a­tives report­ed­ly involved in Trump’s failed effort to sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion,” accord­ing to Grid, includ­ing Cle­ta Mitchell., the vet­er­an lawyer who sup­port­ed Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion and joined the infa­mous call when the pres­i­dent urged Georgia’s Sec­re­tary of State to “find” 11,700 votes; Mark Mead­ows, Trump’s for­mer White House chief of staff who was in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with alleged Jan. 6 plot­ters and at least tol­er­at­ed Trump’s attempt­ed coup; and Jef­frey Clark, the for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyer who sup­port­ed Trump’s desire for DOJ to declare the result fraud­u­lent, and whose home was raid­ed by the FBI in June of 2022.

Texts obtained by the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee also show Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Sen. Mike Lee ref­er­enc­ing meet­ings at CPI in the tumul­tuous peri­od after the 2020 elec­tion.

Mike Lee to Mark Mead­ows, Nov. 9 2020:

We had steer­ing exec­u­tive meet­ing at CPI tonight, with Sid­ney Pow­ell as our guest speak­er. My pur­pose in hav­ing the meet­ing was to social­ize with Repub­li­can sen­a­tors the fact that POTUS needs to pur­sue his legal reme­dies. You have in us a group of ready and loy­al advo­cates who will go to bat for him, but I fear this could prove short-lived unless you hire the right legal team and set them loose imme­di­ate­ly.

Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene to Mark Mead­ows, Dec. 31, 2020:

Good morn­ing Mark, I’m here in DC. We have to get orga­nized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giu­liani again. We did­n’t get to speak with him long. Also any­one who can help. We are get­ting a lot of mem­bers on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state. I’ll be over at CPI this after­noon.

...

“Amer­i­ca First” Staffing

CPI boasts of recruit­ing, rec­om­mend­ing, and train­ing Con­gres­sion­al staffers who are com­mit­ted to advanc­ing an Amer­i­ca First agen­da. In 2021, CPI claims to have trained 49 mem­bers of Con­gress and 246 Con­gres­sion­al staffers, and to have made 200 Con­gres­sion­al staffing rec­om­men­da­tions.

“We gave con­ser­v­a­tives on Capi­tol Hill the right skills, the right peo­ple, and the right connections—all for the pur­pose of mak­ing Amer­i­ca great again,” CPI described in its annu­al report. For exam­ple, in 2021 CPI held “5‑week-long leg­isla­tive boot camps” taught by Ed Cor­ri­g­an and Rachel Bovard, where “they armed con­ser­v­a­tive staffers with every tac­tic the House and Sen­ate rules gave them: how to force amend­ment votes, how to work out­side the Estab­lish­ment- dom­i­nat­ed com­mit­tee process, and how to lever­age nom­i­na­tions to wage pol­i­cy fights:”

“You may have seen that con­ser­v­a­tives defeat­ed Biden’s gun-grab­bing pick to lead the ATF and stopped a com­mu­nist- sym­pa­thiz­ing econ­o­mist from becom­ing comp­trol­ler of the cur­ren­cy. That didn’t hap­pen by acci­dent.”

Accord­ing to CPI, “our train­ings have become so respect­ed that con­ser­v­a­tive con­gres­sion­al offices and grass­roots advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions now come to us when they have job open­ings to fill. They know that we main­tain a data­base of cur­rent and prospec­tive con­gres­sion­al staffers who have been through our train­ings and are up to the task of putting Amer­i­ca first.”

CPI-Launched Projects, Many Led by for­mer Trump Offi­cials

In 2021, CPI launched eight new projects, as well as enti­ties to pro­vide legal com­pli­ance and admin­is­tra­tive sup­port for those groups:

* Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work: Cle­ta Mitchell, the vet­er­an lawyer who sup­port­ed Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion, joined CPI and launched the Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work (EIN) in ear­ly 2021, after resign­ing as a part­ner with the inter­na­tion­al law firm Foley and Lard­ner. As described in reports by the New York Times and ABC News, CPI’s EIN is work­ing with groups like Tea Par­ty Patri­ots to cre­ate “per­ma­nent elec­tion integri­ty coali­tions in eight tar­get states.”

* Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca: Trump Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get (OMB) direc­tor Russ Vought leads the cul­ture war-ori­ent­ed Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA). “CRA’s strat­e­gy is to ini­ti­ate planned con­fronta­tions on major nation­al cul­tur­al issues, win those con­fronta­tions, and let the result­ing polit­i­cal momen­tum fuel leg­isla­tive activ­i­ty at the fed­er­al, state, and local lev­els.” CRA has cre­at­ed anti-CRT mod­el leg­is­la­tion, opposed mak­ing women eli­gi­ble for the draft, and opposed Afghan refugee migra­tion. Jef­frey Clark, who Trump want­ed to install as Attor­ney Gen­er­al after the 2020 elec­tion and who sup­port­ed Trump’s desire for the Jus­tice Depart­ment to declare the results fraud­u­lent, joined CRA as Senior Fel­low in June 2022. Oth­er senior fel­lows include Ken Cuc­cinel­li and Mark Pao­let­ta.

* Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion: Trump’s hard­line immi­gra­tion advi­sor Stephen Miller co-cre­at­ed the Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion (AFLF) with Mark Mead­ows, which claims to give “the 234 new fed­er­al judges appoint­ed by Don­ald Trump the chance to final­ly hold Wash­ing­ton account­able to the rule of law.” AFLF has sup­port­ed law­suits chal­leng­ing Biden admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies around immi­gra­tion, equi­ty, and vac­cines, and has urged the Supreme Court to strike down affir­ma­tive action.

* Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion: Tom Jones, Ted Cruz’s 2016 oppo research direc­tor, leads the group described as the “Slime Machine Tar­get­ing Dozens of Biden Nom­i­nees” by the New York­er. AAF has tak­en cred­it for knock­ing out Pres­i­dent Biden’s Alco­hol, Tobac­co, and Firearms nom­i­nee David Chip­man, comp­trol­ler nom­i­nee Saule Omaro­va, and Fed­er­al Reserve nom­i­nee Sarah Bloom Raskin.

* Amer­i­can Cor­ner­stone Insti­tute: for­mer Trump cab­i­net mem­ber Ben Car­son is founder and chair of Amer­i­can Cor­ner­stone Insti­tute (ACI), where Car­son hosts a pod­cast and cre­ates YouTube videos, and which cre­at­ed the anti-woke “Lit­tle Patri­ots” plat­form “to teach chil­dren about our found­ing prin­ci­ples.”

* Amer­i­can Moment: “Amer­i­can Moment’s mis­sion is to iden­ti­fy, edu­cate, and cre­den­tial young Amer­i­cans who will imple­ment pub­lic pol­i­cy that sup­ports strong fam­i­lies, a sov­er­eign nation, and pros­per­i­ty for all,” accord­ing to CPI’s annu­al report. In 2021, Amer­i­can Moment claims to have placed ten fel­lows at aligned orga­ni­za­tions and con­gres­sion­al offices and, accord­ing to CPI, paid them “a liv­ing wage of $3,000 a month.” CPI plans to quadru­ple the pro­gram to 40 fel­lows in 2022.

...

CPI’s Fundrais­ing

Since form­ing in 2017, CPI’s fundrais­ing has increased dramatically—most recent­ly, jump­ing from $7.3 mil­lion in 2020 to $19.7 mil­lion in 2021.

CPI held a fundrais­er at Mar al Lago in April 2021, with for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump as the keynote speak­er, short­ly after Trump’s Save Amer­i­ca PAC dis­closed giv­ing $1 mil­lion to the group.

As a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble non­prof­it, CPI does not pub­licly dis­close its donors.

How­ev­er, an analy­sis by Grid iden­ti­fied more than 40 foun­da­tions, char­i­ties and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that have fund­ed CPI, includ­ing $1.25 mil­lion from GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein’s foun­da­tion in 2020, $500,000 from the late gam­ing machine mogul Stan­ley E. Fulton’s pri­vate foun­da­tion, and $200,000 from the Chica­go Com­mu­ni­ty Trust.

CPI has also iden­ti­fied some finan­cial sup­port­ers in its 2021 annu­al report.

David and Bren­da Frec­ka: CPI thanked the pair for their finan­cial sup­port in its 2021 annu­al report, and named a “David and Bren­da Frec­ka Board­room” at CPC. In 2021, David Frec­ka gave $1M to Jim Jor­dan’s House Free­dom Action, and Bren­da Frec­ka gave $1.15M to Deb­bi Mead­ows’s Right on Women PAC

Mike Rydin: Accord­ing to CPI’s annu­al report, Ryden “made a gen­er­ous gift” so that CPI could pur­chase a town­house next door to its head­quar­ters “for addi­tion­al meet­ing and event space as well as space to host out-of-town guests.” The prop­er­ty sold for $1.5M in 2020.

Dr. William Amos Jr.: The son of the AFLAC founder “has gen­er­ous­ly sup­port­ed the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute. For his incred­i­ble con­tri­bu­tions to CPI’s growth and mis­sion, in 2021, CPI hon­ored Dr. Amos with CPI’s Life­time Achieve­ment Award.”

Fos­ter Friess “sup­port­ed many groups in the move­ment, includ­ing CPI. Fos­ter will always be an impor­tant part of the CPI sto­ry. With love and pur­pose, Lynn car­ries on her late husband’s lega­cy of help­ing those in need.”

Doug and Char­lotte Waikart “made the ulti­mate com­mit­ment to send­ing Amer­i­can val­ues into the future by sup­port­ing CPI in their estate plans.”

———–

“Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute: The Trump-aligned $19.7M Insti­tu­tion Cre­at­ing “Amer­i­ca First” Polit­i­cal Infra­struc­ture”; Doc­u­ment­ed; 07/10/2022

“The Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (“CPI”) is a $19.7 mil­lion “Amer­i­ca First” insti­tu­tion boost­ed with a $1 mil­lion dona­tion from for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s PAC. Led by for­mer Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows and for­mer Her­itage Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent Jim DeMint, CPI is cre­at­ing the MAGA-ori­ent­ed polit­i­cal infra­struc­ture that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion lacked.

If the CNP is like the par­ent net­work for this move­ment, the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI) is the orga­ni­za­tion­al man­i­fes­ta­tion of that role. It exists to spawn new enti­ties, includ­ing many of the orga­ni­za­tions direct­ly involved with the Sched­ule F plot. And employ­ing many of the peo­ple involved with the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Near­ly two dozen such peo­ple, includ­ing key fig­ures like Cle­ta Mitchell and Mark Mead­ows:

...
CPI is locat­ed blocks from the U.S. Capi­tol, and serves as a hub for the Amer­i­ca First move­ment. The House Free­dom Cau­cus holds week­ly meet­ings at CPI, and texts obtained by the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee show law­mak­ers like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Sen. Mike Lee ref­er­enc­ing meet­ings at CPI in the tumul­tuous peri­od fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion. Near­ly two dozen indi­vid­u­als tied to the Jan­u­ary 6 attempt­ed coup are con­nect­ed to CPI, accord­ing to Grid’s analy­sis.

...

CPI and its affil­i­ate groups “employ or assist at least 20 key oper­a­tives report­ed­ly involved in Trump’s failed effort to sub­vert the 2020 elec­tion,” accord­ing to Grid, includ­ing Cle­ta Mitchell., the vet­er­an lawyer who sup­port­ed Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion and joined the infa­mous call when the pres­i­dent urged Georgia’s Sec­re­tary of State to “find” 11,700 votes; Mark Mead­ows, Trump’s for­mer White House chief of staff who was in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with alleged Jan. 6 plot­ters and at least tol­er­at­ed Trump’s attempt­ed coup; and Jef­frey Clark, the for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyer who sup­port­ed Trump’s desire for DOJ to declare the result fraud­u­lent, and whose home was raid­ed by the FBI in June of 2022.

Texts obtained by the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee also show Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Sen. Mike Lee ref­er­enc­ing meet­ings at CPI in the tumul­tuous peri­od after the 2020 elec­tion.

Mike Lee to Mark Mead­ows, Nov. 9 2020:

We had steer­ing exec­u­tive meet­ing at CPI tonight, with Sid­ney Pow­ell as our guest speak­er. My pur­pose in hav­ing the meet­ing was to social­ize with Repub­li­can sen­a­tors the fact that POTUS needs to pur­sue his legal reme­dies. You have in us a group of ready and loy­al advo­cates who will go to bat for him, but I fear this could prove short-lived unless you hire the right legal team and set them loose imme­di­ate­ly.

Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene to Mark Mead­ows, Dec. 31, 2020:

Good morn­ing Mark, I’m here in DC. We have to get orga­nized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giu­liani again. We did­n’t get to speak with him long. Also any­one who can help. We are get­ting a lot of mem­bers on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state. I’ll be over at CPI this after­noon.

...

And when we see “5‑week-long leg­isla­tive boot camps” taught by Ed Cor­ri­g­an and Rachel Bovard, try not to be sur­prised to learn that CPI Pres­i­dent Ed Cor­ri­g­an — the For­mer V.P. for Pol­i­cy Pro­mo­tion at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion — is a CNP mem­ber along with Bovard. The CPI real­ly is a CNP oper­a­tion:

...
CPI boasts of recruit­ing, rec­om­mend­ing, and train­ing Con­gres­sion­al staffers who are com­mit­ted to advanc­ing an Amer­i­ca First agen­da. In 2021, CPI claims to have trained 49 mem­bers of Con­gress and 246 Con­gres­sion­al staffers, and to have made 200 Con­gres­sion­al staffing rec­om­men­da­tions.

“We gave con­ser­v­a­tives on Capi­tol Hill the right skills, the right peo­ple, and the right connections—all for the pur­pose of mak­ing Amer­i­ca great again,” CPI described in its annu­al report. For exam­ple, in 2021 CPI held “5‑week-long leg­isla­tive boot camps” taught by Ed Cor­ri­g­an and Rachel Bovard, where “they armed con­ser­v­a­tive staffers with every tac­tic the House and Sen­ate rules gave them: how to force amend­ment votes, how to work out­side the Estab­lish­ment- dom­i­nat­ed com­mit­tee process, and how to lever­age nom­i­na­tions to wage pol­i­cy fights:”
...

Then we get to the string of orga­ni­za­tions set up in 2021 alone: Cle­ta Mitchel­l’s Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work, and two of the groups we’ve seen in the Sched­ule F efforts: Russ Vought’s Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca and Amer­i­can Moment found­ed by found­ed by CNP mem­ber Saurabh Shar­ma. The CPI is ramp­ing up the par­ral­lel efforts to steal the next elec­tion and then imme­di­ate­ly fire as many fed­er­al work­ers as pos­si­ble. Also recall how the Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion (AAF) was set to run sleazy smear oper­a­tions. So the AAF will pre­sum­ably be deeply involved in the pub­lic rela­tions oper­a­tions for any future insur­rec­tions or mass loy­al­ty purges:

...
In 2021, CPI launched eight new projects, as well as enti­ties to pro­vide legal com­pli­ance and admin­is­tra­tive sup­port for those groups:

* Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work: Cle­ta Mitchell, the vet­er­an lawyer who sup­port­ed Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion, joined CPI and launched the Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work (EIN) in ear­ly 2021, after resign­ing as a part­ner with the inter­na­tion­al law firm Foley and Lard­ner. As described in reports by the New York Times and ABC News, CPI’s EIN is work­ing with groups like Tea Par­ty Patri­ots to cre­ate “per­ma­nent elec­tion integri­ty coali­tions in eight tar­get states.”

* Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca: Trump Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get (OMB) direc­tor Russ Vought leads the cul­ture war-ori­ent­ed Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA). “CRA’s strat­e­gy is to ini­ti­ate planned con­fronta­tions on major nation­al cul­tur­al issues, win those con­fronta­tions, and let the result­ing polit­i­cal momen­tum fuel leg­isla­tive activ­i­ty at the fed­er­al, state, and local lev­els.” CRA has cre­at­ed anti-CRT mod­el leg­is­la­tion, opposed mak­ing women eli­gi­ble for the draft, and opposed Afghan refugee migra­tion. Jef­frey Clark, who Trump want­ed to install as Attor­ney Gen­er­al after the 2020 elec­tion and who sup­port­ed Trump’s desire for the Jus­tice Depart­ment to declare the results fraud­u­lent, joined CRA as Senior Fel­low in June 2022. Oth­er senior fel­lows include Ken Cuc­cinel­li and Mark Pao­let­ta.

* Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion: Trump’s hard­line immi­gra­tion advi­sor Stephen Miller co-cre­at­ed the Amer­i­ca First Legal Foun­da­tion (AFLF) with Mark Mead­ows, which claims to give “the 234 new fed­er­al judges appoint­ed by Don­ald Trump the chance to final­ly hold Wash­ing­ton account­able to the rule of law.” AFLF has sup­port­ed law­suits chal­leng­ing Biden admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies around immi­gra­tion, equi­ty, and vac­cines, and has urged the Supreme Court to strike down affir­ma­tive action.

* Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion: Tom Jones, Ted Cruz’s 2016 oppo research direc­tor, leads the group described as the “Slime Machine Tar­get­ing Dozens of Biden Nom­i­nees” by the New York­er. AAF has tak­en cred­it for knock­ing out Pres­i­dent Biden’s Alco­hol, Tobac­co, and Firearms nom­i­nee David Chip­man, comp­trol­ler nom­i­nee Saule Omaro­va, and Fed­er­al Reserve nom­i­nee Sarah Bloom Raskin.

* Amer­i­can Cor­ner­stone Insti­tute: for­mer Trump cab­i­net mem­ber Ben Car­son is founder and chair of Amer­i­can Cor­ner­stone Insti­tute (ACI), where Car­son hosts a pod­cast and cre­ates YouTube videos, and which cre­at­ed the anti-woke “Lit­tle Patri­ots” plat­form “to teach chil­dren about our found­ing prin­ci­ples.”

* Amer­i­can Moment: “Amer­i­can Moment’s mis­sion is to iden­ti­fy, edu­cate, and cre­den­tial young Amer­i­cans who will imple­ment pub­lic pol­i­cy that sup­ports strong fam­i­lies, a sov­er­eign nation, and pros­per­i­ty for all,” accord­ing to CPI’s annu­al report. In 2021, Amer­i­can Moment claims to have placed ten fel­lows at aligned orga­ni­za­tions and con­gres­sion­al offices and, accord­ing to CPI, paid them “a liv­ing wage of $3,000 a month.” CPI plans to quadru­ple the pro­gram to 40 fel­lows in 2022.
...

Final­ly, note how the CPI’s fund­ing explod­ed in 2021, in con­cert with all these new ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ and ‘Sched­ule F’ efforts. And it explod­ed thanks to the gen­er­ous dona­tions from GOP mega-donors like Richard Uih­lein. Over 40 orga­ni­za­tions by one count. The CPI is becom­ing like the elec­tion dirty-tricks vehi­cle of choice for the GOP mega-donor main­stream:

...
Since form­ing in 2017, CPI’s fundrais­ing has increased dramatically—most recent­ly, jump­ing from $7.3 mil­lion in 2020 to $19.7 mil­lion in 2021.

CPI held a fundrais­er at Mar al Lago in April 2021, with for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump as the keynote speak­er, short­ly after Trump’s Save Amer­i­ca PAC dis­closed giv­ing $1 mil­lion to the group.

As a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble non­prof­it, CPI does not pub­licly dis­close its donors.

How­ev­er, an analy­sis by Grid iden­ti­fied more than 40 foun­da­tions, char­i­ties and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that have fund­ed CPI, includ­ing $1.25 mil­lion from GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein’s foun­da­tion in 2020, $500,000 from the late gam­ing machine mogul Stan­ley E. Fulton’s pri­vate foun­da­tion, and $200,000 from the Chica­go Com­mu­ni­ty Trust.
...

The future may be look­ing rather dim for Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy these days, but the future is bright for the CPI. How many tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in mega-donor dona­tions did the group receive in 2022 from this same mega-donor net­work? We’ll see.

The CPI: “helping to build out the vital infrastructure we need to lead the America First movement to new heights.” So Said Trump in His Plea to the GOP’s Mega-Donors

But as the fol­low­ing piece by Fac­ing South points out, the explo­sive growth in fundrais­ing for the CPI last year was­n’t sim­ply due to the spon­ta­neous gen­eros­i­ty of the GOP mega-donor class. Don­ald Trump declared exhort­ed donors to give to the CPI went declared in a June 2021 fundrais­ing let­ter that the CPI was “help­ing to build out the vital infra­struc­ture we need to lead the Amer­i­ca First move­ment to new heights.” This was months after both Mark Mead­ows and Cle­ta Mitchell — two of the cen­tral fig­ures in the post-2020 elec­tion schem­ing that led up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion — joined the group. Again, don’t for­get that Cle­ta Mitchel­l’s ‘Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work’ was also formed by the CPI in 2021. 2021 was the year the CPI become part of the MAGA move­ment, whether that future is lead by Trump or not, as reflect­ed by that mas­sive haul of mega-donor cash.

But as the arti­cle also notes, the CPI was­n’t the only enti­ty involved with the ongo­ing Sched­ule F plot to receive some gen­er­ous dona­tions last year from Trump’s Save Amer­i­ca PAC. The Amer­i­can First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI) also received $1 mil­lion from Trump’s PAC in June 2021. And while that mon­ey undoubt­ed­ly went towards the Sched­ule F plot, don’t for­get that AFPI’s launched its own Cen­ter for Elec­tion Integri­ty chaired by CNP mem­ber Ken­neth Black­well. Like the CPI, AFPI is work­ing on a vari­ety of ‘MAGA infra­struc­ture’ too.

And as the large Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment cash flows into these groups makes clear, the CPI and AFPI aren’t just build­ing the infra­struc­ture that will pro­pell the ‘MAGA’ move­ment ti ‘new heights’. This is the about build­ing the infra­struc­ture for the future of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. Again, whether that future is led by Trump or not. Over­turn­ing elec­tions and stuff­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment with loy­al­ists is part of the GOP’s cur­rent Trumpian agen­da. Also the GOP’s future post-Trumpian agen­da. It’s the future:

Fac­ing South

How Mark Mead­ows’ non­prof­it ben­e­fit­ed from Trump’s ‘Big Ripoff’

By Sue Stur­gis
June 24, 2022

(Update: On June 28, four days after this sto­ry was pub­lished, the Select Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capi­tol revealed that Mark Mead­ows him­self, along with Trump attor­ney Rudy Giu­liani, also request­ed par­dons after the attack.)

Among the mat­ters dis­cussed at the ongo­ing con­gres­sion­al hear­ings into Don­ald Trump’s sup­port­ers’ attack on the U.S. Capi­tol and the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process on Jan. 6. 2021, is how the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s cam­paign used what it knew to be false claims of fraud to raise mon­ey — lots of mon­ey.

As Aman­da Wick, a senior inves­tiga­tive coun­sel for the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee, tes­ti­fied in a video, after elec­tion night Trump began to “bar­rage” small-dol­lar donors with emails con­tain­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion, “some­times as many as 25 a day,” and con­tin­ued to do so until 30 min­utes before the Capi­tol breach. The emails asked for con­tri­bu­tions to some­thing called an Offi­cial Elec­tion Defense Fund, but the com­mit­tee revealed that such a fund did not exist. Instead, most of the $250 mil­lion Trump raised from his false claims went to an enti­ty he cre­at­ed in Novem­ber 2020 called the “Save Amer­i­ca PAC,” which in turn paid mil­lions of dol­lars to Trump-con­nect­ed orga­ni­za­tions.

“Not only was there the Big Lie, there was the Big Ripoff,” said Rep. Zoe Lof­gren, a Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­rat and mem­ber of the bipar­ti­san select com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Capi­tol attack, dur­ing the sec­ond hear­ing held on June 13.

The Jan. 6 com­mit­tee showed that the Save Amer­i­ca PAC sent $5 mil­lion to Event Strate­gies, the com­pa­ny that orga­nized the ral­ly pre­ced­ing the Capi­tol riot. It paid $204,857 to Trump’s hotel busi­ness. And it donat­ed $1 mil­lion each to the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, a non­prof­it think tank led in part by for­mer Trump eco­nom­ic advi­sor Lar­ry Kud­low and for­mer Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion head Lin­da McMa­hon, and the Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI).

CPI is a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble non­prof­it found­ed in 2017 and chaired by Jim DeMint, who rep­re­sent­ed South Car­oli­na in the U.S. House from 1999 to 2005 and the U.S. Sen­ate from 2005 to 2013. A lead­ing fig­ure in the far-right tea par­ty move­ment that opposed Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, DeMint went on to serve as pres­i­dent of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion but resigned from the con­ser­v­a­tive think tank in 2017 at the unan­i­mous request of the board, which cit­ed “sig­nif­i­cant and wors­en­ing man­age­ment issues that led to a break­down of inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions and coop­er­a­tion.” Mick­ey Edwards, one of Her­itage’s found­ing trustees and a for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Okla­homa, told Politi­co at the time that DeMint changed Her­itage “from a high­ly respect­ed think tank to just a par­ti­san tool and more ide­o­log­i­cal — more of a tea par­ty orga­ni­za­tion than a think tank.”

At CPI, DeMint is free to embrace his fringe lean­ings. The stat­ed mis­sion of the group, which has a staff of 20, is “to serve and sup­port the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment on Capi­tol Hill.” Accord­ing to its 2021 annu­al report, CPI trained 49 mem­bers of Con­gress last year as well as 246 staff mem­bers from 132 con­gres­sion­al offices. It offers broad­cast stu­dios and spaces for meet­ings and events, con­venes coali­tions of con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions, and vets, trains, and places con­gres­sion­al staff. Among the mem­bers of Con­gress it cites as using its ser­vices are far-right Reps. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene of Geor­gia and Lau­ren Boe­bert of Col­orado, out­spo­ken elec­tion deniers who were among the 147 House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to over­turn the results of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race after the Capi­tol attack. Greene is also among the six Repub­li­can House mem­bers that the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee has iden­ti­fied as hav­ing sought par­dons from Pres­i­dent Trump in the riot’s after­math.

Many of CPI’s key play­ers came from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. For exam­ple, its pres­i­dent and CEO is Ed Cor­ri­g­an, who led the Trump tran­si­tion team’s per­son­nel selec­tion process for domes­tic pol­i­cy depart­ments. In Jan­u­ary 2021, CPI hired Cle­ta Mitchell, an attor­ney who played a cen­tral role in Trump’s failed effort to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race and who — after com­ing under fire for her role in base­less­ly chal­leng­ing the results in Geor­gia — quit her job at the pres­ti­gious Foley & Lard­ner firm, where she had rep­re­sent­ed the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion, the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee, and the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee. She now leads CPI’s “Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work,” which aims to train con­ser­v­a­tive poll watch­ers as part of a broad­er effort to create enough dis­putes to jus­ti­fy inter­ven­tion in the elec­tion by Repub­li­can-con­trolled state leg­is­la­tures. CPI’s Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work also fought fed­er­al leg­is­la­tion to expand vot­ing rights, includ­ing the For the Peo­ple Act, the John Lewis Vot­ing Rights Advance­ment Act, and the Free­dom to Vote Act. Last Novem­ber, Mitchell was appoint­ed to the U.S. Elec­tion Assis­tance Com­mis­sion’s board of advi­sors, which has no rule mak­ing author­i­ty but offers rec­om­men­da­tions; she was nom­i­nat­ed by the com­mis­sion’s Repub­li­can-appoint­ed mem­bers and approved by a major­i­ty vote.

Two months after hir­ing Mitchell, CPI brought on as senior part­ner Mark Mead­ows, Trump’s fourth and final White House chief of staff. The for­mer real estate devel­op­er and North Car­oli­na con­gress­man was a found­ing mem­ber of the far-right House Free­dom Cau­cus and played an impor­tant role in the 2013 fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down that tried but ulti­mate­ly failed to kill fund­ing for the Afford­able Care Act. The Jan. 6 com­mit­tee has put Mead­ows at the cen­ter of the con­spir­a­cy to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, thanks in part to the 9,000 pages of doc­u­ments he turned over to the com­mit­tee’s inves­ti­ga­tors. For exam­ple, Mead­ows and Mitchell were both part of Trump’s phone call to Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er urg­ing him to “find 11,780 votes” — the min­i­mum need­ed to over­come Biden’s edge in the state. Mead­ows also dis­cussed send­ing Geor­gia elec­tion inves­ti­ga­tors what an aide called “a shit­load of POTUS stuff,” includ­ing coins and auto­graphed MAGA hats. A Geor­gia grand jury is now look­ing into poten­tial charges relat­ed to Trump’s rebuffed request.

Though the House rec­om­mend­ed Mead­ows be held in con­tempt for refus­ing to com­ply with a com­mit­tee’s sub­poe­na, the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice announced on June 3 that it would not pros­e­cute him. CPI, for its part, has dis­missed the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee as “des­per­ate prime­time the­ater.” Indeed, among those CPI named in its lat­est report as its “Heroes of 2021” was none oth­er than Mead­ows, who’s cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion for reg­is­ter­ing to vote simul­ta­ne­ous­ly in three states — Vir­ginia, South Car­oli­na, and North Car­oli­na, where the own­er of a mobile home in rur­al Macon Coun­ty whose address appeared on his reg­is­tra­tion form told the New York­er that Mead­ows “nev­er spent a night.”

But none of that mat­ters to CPI, which takes an “own the libs” approach to its work. “As Pres­i­dent Trump’s most loy­al and effec­tive chief of staff, Mead­ows steered Trump’s White House through some of its tough­est fights against the Left,” it says in the annu­al report. “When Mark left gov­ern­ment ser­vice in Jan­u­ary 2021, he want­ed to keep up the fight. That made CPI his obvi­ous land­ing spot.”

Build­ing a poll watch­er cav­al­ry

Trump’s major invest­ment in CPI and Mead­ows’ arrival there in 2021 coin­cid­ed with a finan­cial boom for the non­prof­it. Between its found­ing in 2017 and 2020, the group’s rev­enue increased steadi­ly from $1.8 mil­lion to $7.3 mil­lion, accord­ing to its lat­est annu­al report. But in 2021, CPI’s rev­enue soared almost 170% to $19.7 mil­lion — helped in no small part by Trump’s per­son­al endorse­ment in a fundrais­ing let­ter, in which he said CPI is “help­ing to build out the vital infra­struc­ture we need to lead the Amer­i­ca First move­ment to new heights.” The non­prof­it is cur­rent­ly work­ing to buy more build­ings sur­round­ing its head­quar­ters, the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Cen­ter, a few blocks from the U.S. Capi­tol.

As a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble non­prof­it, CPI is not allowed to get direct­ly involved in elec­tions, nor is it legal­ly required to dis­close its donors. But the Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy’s (CMD) Sourcewatch.org web­site has com­piled some fund­ing data for the orga­ni­za­tion by scour­ing foun­da­tion reports. One of CPI’s biggest donors, giv­ing $2.25 mil­lion from 2018 to 2020, is the Ed Uih­lein Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion con­trolled by right-wing mega-donor Richard Uih­lein, founder of the Wis­con­sin-based ship­ping and busi­ness sup­ply com­pa­ny Uline. In addi­tion, CPI has received sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing — at least $732,500 — from DonorsTrust, a non­prof­it fund that exists to pro­tect the iden­ti­ty of indi­vid­ual con­ser­v­a­tive donors.

Also among CPI’s major donors, giv­ing it at least $300,000, accord­ing to Sourcewatch.org, is the Lyn­de and Har­ry Bradley Foun­da­tion, one of the largest con­ser­v­a­tive foun­da­tions in the Unit­ed States. CPI’s Cle­ta Mitchell cur­rent­ly sits on Bradley’s board. In 2017, CMD pub­lished a series of sto­ries on the Mil­wau­kee-based foun­da­tion that exposed a high­ly polit­i­cal agen­da, includ­ing efforts to dis­man­tle and defund unions in order to impact state elec­tions. Bradley’s cur­rent pres­i­dent is Art Pope of North Car­oli­na, the mil­lion­aire own­er of the Vari­ety Whole­salers dis­count retail chain; a for­mer state leg­is­la­tor, state bud­get direc­tor, and cur­rent mem­ber of UNC’s Board of Gov­er­nors; and a lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive donor in his own right through his fam­i­ly’s John William Pope Foun­da­tion.

Among CPI’s Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work’s top spend­ing pri­or­i­ties this year is a series of elec­tion sum­mits it held in sev­en key swing states, three of them in the South: Ari­zona, Flori­da, Geor­gia, Michi­gan, North Car­oli­na, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Wis­con­sin. Accord­ing to the sum­mit web­sites, the oth­er groups spon­sor­ing the events includ­ed Her­itage Foun­da­tion’s polit­i­cal affil­i­ate, Her­itage Action for Amer­i­ca; Tea Par­ty Patri­ots Action, part of a net­work of relat­ed groups that took part in the ral­ly before the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack; and Free­dom­Works, a lead­ing tea par­ty orga­ni­za­tion now aligned with Trump. Anoth­er spon­sor was the Pub­lic Inter­est Legal Foun­da­tion, which pro­motes vot­er roll purges; its board is chaired by Mitchell and includes attor­ney John East­man, who has emerged as anoth­er key fig­ure in the effort to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion by pro­mot­ing the base­less the­o­ry that the vice pres­i­dent has the author­i­ty to block cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of an elec­tion.

...

Anoth­er speak­er at CPI’s elec­tions sum­mits was Lynn Tay­lor, pres­i­dent and co-founder of the Vir­ginia Insti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­i­cy, a think tank that belongs to the con­ser­v­a­tive State Pol­i­cy Net­work. CPI says Tay­lor worked close­ly with Mitchell to build a grass­roots team of poll watch­ers and elec­tion work­ers head­ing into Vir­gini­a’s elec­tions last fall. The group says it saw Vir­ginia, where off-year elec­tions decid­ed par­ty con­trol of the gov­er­nor’s office and both leg­isla­tive cham­bers, as a “test case for the elec­tion integri­ty move­ment.” In August 2021, CPI brought near­ly 300 con­ser­v­a­tive activists togeth­er in Rich­mond to learn about vot­er rolls, vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, and how to set up local and state task forces to mon­i­tor elec­tions. And per­haps not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, local elec­tions offi­cials in Vir­ginia report­ed see­ing more poll watch­ers than in pre­vi­ous years, with Repub­li­cans far out­num­ber­ing Democ­rats. Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Glenn Youngkin, who defeat­ed Demo­c­rat Ter­ry McAu­li­ffe by a 51–49 mar­gin, seized on the dis­in­for­ma­tion-dri­ven con­cerns about fraud by invit­ing Vir­ginia vot­ers to join his “elec­tion integri­ty task force” and to get involved in poll watch­ing.

The Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work is an in-house project for CPI, but the group also launch­es spin­off orga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide jobs for Trump loy­al­ists. They include the Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion led by Tom Jones, a for­mer oppo­si­tion research direc­tor for Trump ally U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, which tar­gets Pres­i­dent Biden’s judi­cial nom­i­nees; Amer­i­ca First Legal, a right-wing coun­ter­part to the ACLU led by for­mer Trump advi­sor and anti-immi­gra­tion hard­lin­er Stephen Miller; the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca, which cre­ates mod­el leg­is­la­tion to ban the teach­ing of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry and is led by for­mer Trump Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get Direc­tor Russ Vought, with for­mer Trump Home­land Secu­ri­ty offi­cial and Vir­ginia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Cuc­cinel­li serv­ing as a senior fel­low along with Jef­frey Clark, the for­mer DOJ lawyer who Trump sought to install as attor­ney gen­er­al in the days before the Capi­tol riot; the Amer­i­can Cor­ner­stone Insti­tute, a think tank led by for­mer Trump Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Dr. Ben Car­son that launched a learn­ing plat­form and app called the Lit­tle Patri­ots Pro­gram to pro­vide chil­dren with an alter­na­tive to what it calls “woke” his­to­ry; Amer­i­can Moment, which iden­ti­fies and edu­cates young peo­ple to get involved in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics; Com­pass Legal Ser­vices and Com­pass Pro­fes­sion­al Ser­vices, which pro­vide basic sup­port to both new and estab­lished con­ser­v­a­tive groups; and the State Free­dom Cau­cus Net­work, which sup­ports con­ser­v­a­tive state elect­ed offi­cials and con­nects them with the U.S. House Free­dom Cau­cus. CPI reports that it plans to launch a sep­a­rate polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee, State Free­dom Cau­cus Action, to defend leg­is­la­tors fac­ing tough reelec­tions. And even with the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee clos­ing in on one of its prin­ci­pals, the group sounds opti­mistic about the pos­si­bil­i­ties.
...

———-

“How Mark Mead­ows’ non­prof­it ben­e­fit­ed from Trump’s ‘Big Ripoff’ ” by Sue Stur­gis; Fac­ing South; 06/24/2022

The Jan. 6 com­mit­tee showed that the Save Amer­i­ca PAC sent $5 mil­lion to Event Strate­gies, the com­pa­ny that orga­nized the ral­ly pre­ced­ing the Capi­tol riot. It paid $204,857 to Trump’s hotel busi­ness. And it donat­ed $1 mil­lion each to the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, a non­prof­it think tank led in part by for­mer Trump eco­nom­ic advi­sor Lar­ry Kud­low and for­mer Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion head Lin­da McMa­hon, and the Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI).

$1 mil­lion dol­lars to the Con­ser­v­a­tive Pol­i­cy Insti­tute and anoth­er mil­lion to the AFPI, both from the Save Amer­i­ca PAC, Don­ald Trump’s super PAC. The same super PAC that was scam­ming small donors right up to the last moment before the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, Recall how the AFPI is described as play­ing a key role in the Sched­ule F effort. Brooke Rollins, Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor, is lead­ing the AFPI. It was like a $1 mil­lion dona­tion to keep Sched­ule F going.

And then there’s the $1 mil­lion to the CPI. It was clear­ly an invest­ment. Trump does­n’t give away that kind of mon­ey as a gift. And as we’re going to see, there’s plen­ty of ways the CPI yields returns on that invest­ment. From hir­ing key fig­ures involved in the plot to steal the 2020 elec­tion like Mark Mead­ows the Cle­ta Mitchell, both hired short­ly after the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s igno­min­ious end. And both par­tic­i­pants in the now noto­ri­ous phone call to Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er urg­ing him to “find 11,780 votes”. The CPI was both the last first of the scoundrels behind the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion and the home base for plot­ting the over­turn­ing of the next elec­tion:

...
Many of CPI’s key play­ers came from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. For exam­ple, its pres­i­dent and CEO is Ed Cor­ri­g­an, who led the Trump tran­si­tion team’s per­son­nel selec­tion process for domes­tic pol­i­cy depart­ments. In Jan­u­ary 2021, CPI hired Cle­ta Mitchell, an attor­ney who played a cen­tral role in Trump’s failed effort to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race and who — after com­ing under fire for her role in base­less­ly chal­leng­ing the results in Geor­gia — quit her job at the pres­ti­gious Foley & Lard­ner firm where she had rep­re­sent­ed the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion, the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee, and the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee. She now leads CPI’s “Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work,” which aims to train con­ser­v­a­tive poll watch­ers as part of a broad­er effort to create enough dis­putes to jus­ti­fy inter­ven­tion in the elec­tion by Repub­li­can-con­trolled state leg­is­la­tures. CPI’s Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work also fought fed­er­al leg­is­la­tion to expand vot­ing rights, includ­ing the For the Peo­ple Act, the John Lewis Vot­ing Rights Advance­ment Act, and the Free­dom to Vote Act. Last Novem­ber, Mitchell was appoint­ed to the U.S. Elec­tion Assis­tance Com­mis­sion’s board of advi­sors, which has no rule mak­ing author­i­ty but offers rec­om­men­da­tions; she was nom­i­nat­ed by the com­mis­sion’s Repub­li­can-appoint­ed mem­bers and approved by a major­i­ty vote.

Two months after hir­ing Mitchell, CPI brought on as senior part­ner Mark Mead­ows, Trump’s fourth and final White House chief of staff. The for­mer real estate devel­op­er and North Car­oli­na con­gress­man was a found­ing mem­ber of the far-right House Free­dom Cau­cus and played an impor­tant role in the 2013 fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down that tried but ulti­mate­ly failed to kill fund­ing for the Afford­able Care Act. The Jan. 6 com­mit­tee has put Mead­ows at the cen­ter of the con­spir­a­cy to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, thanks in part to the 9,000 pages of doc­u­ments he turned over to the com­mit­tee’s inves­ti­ga­tors. For exam­ple, Mead­ows and Mitchell were both part of Trump’s phone call to Geor­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperg­er urg­ing him to “find 11,780 votes” — the min­i­mum need­ed to over­come Biden’s edge in the state. Mead­ows also dis­cussed send­ing Geor­gia elec­tion inves­ti­ga­tors what an aide called “a shit­load of POTUS stuff,” includ­ing coins and auto­graphed MAGA hats. A Geor­gia grand jury is now look­ing into poten­tial charges relat­ed to Trump’s rebuffed request.
...

The fact that the CPI is chaired by Jim DeMint is con­sis­tent with the CPI’s rad­i­cal over­all agen­da. He was hired to chair the CPI fol­low­ing his stint as the guy who turned the Her­itage Foun­da­tion into a hack Tea Par­ty orga­ni­za­tion that dropped any pre­tense of respectabil­i­ty. So of course the CPI has become the stomp­ing ground for fig­ures like Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Lau­ren Boe­bert. Fig­ures who played their own role in the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Recall the ear­ly reports of “recon­nais­sance tours” of insur­rec­tion­ists in the halls of the Capi­tol by Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress days before Jan 6. Boe­bert is a named sus­pect in those tours. Also recall the net­work­ing around plan­ning the ‘wild’ Jan 6 ral­ly that Ali Alexan­der was doing with Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lau­ren Boe­bert, Mo Brooks, Madi­son Cawthorn, Andy Big­gs, and Louie Gohmert and the alle­ga­tions the mem­bers of con­gress were ped­dling blan­ket par­don offers on behalf of the White House. These are the CPI’s fel­low trav­el­ers:

...
CPI is a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble non­prof­it found­ed in 2017 and chaired by Jim DeMint, who rep­re­sent­ed South Car­oli­na in the U.S. House from 1999 to 2005 and the U.S. Sen­ate from 2005 to 2013. A lead­ing fig­ure in the far-right tea par­ty move­ment that opposed Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, DeMint went on to serve as pres­i­dent of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion but resigned from the con­ser­v­a­tive think tank in 2017 at the unan­i­mous request of the board, which cit­ed “sig­nif­i­cant and wors­en­ing man­age­ment issues that led to a break­down of inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions and coop­er­a­tion.” Mick­ey Edwards, one of Her­itage’s found­ing trustees and a for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Okla­homa, told Politi­co at the time that DeMint changed Her­itage “from a high­ly respect­ed think tank to just a par­ti­san tool and more ide­o­log­i­cal — more of a tea par­ty orga­ni­za­tion than a think tank.”

At CPI, DeMint is free to embrace his fringe lean­ings. The stat­ed mis­sion of the group, which has a staff of 20, is “to serve and sup­port the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment on Capi­tol Hill.” Accord­ing to its 2021 annu­al report, CPI trained 49 mem­bers of Con­gress last year as well as 246 staff mem­bers from 132 con­gres­sion­al offices. It offers broad­cast stu­dios and spaces for meet­ings and events, con­venes coali­tions of con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions, and vets, trains, and places con­gres­sion­al staff. Among the mem­bers of Con­gress it cites as using its ser­vices are far-right Reps. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene of Geor­gia and Lau­ren Boe­bert of Col­orado, out­spo­ken elec­tion deniers who were among the 147 House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to over­turn the results of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race after the Capi­tol attack. Greene is also among the six Repub­li­can House mem­bers that the Jan. 6 com­mit­tee has iden­ti­fied as hav­ing sought par­dons from Pres­i­dent Trump in the riot’s after­math.
...

Trump’s $1 mil­lion dona­tion though his super PAC was just part of the sup­port gives to the CPI, Trump per­son­al­ly endorsed the group in a 2021 fundrais­ing let­ter, a year when the group’s fundrais­ing explod­ed. The CNP’s CPI is com­plete­ly ded­i­cat­ed to Trump’s agen­da. Because of course it is. Trump’s agen­da is the CNP’s agen­da:

...
Trump’s major invest­ment in CPI and Mead­ows’ arrival there in 2021 coin­cid­ed with a finan­cial boom for the non­prof­it. Between its found­ing in 2017 and 2020, the group’s rev­enue increased steadi­ly from $1.8 mil­lion to $7.3 mil­lion, accord­ing to its lat­est annu­al report. But in 2021, CPI’s rev­enue soared almost 170% to $19.7 mil­lion — helped in no small part by Trump’s per­son­al endorse­ment in a fundrais­ing let­ter, in which he said CPI is “help­ing to build out the vital infra­struc­ture we need to lead the Amer­i­ca First move­ment to new heights.” The non­prof­it is cur­rent­ly work­ing to buy more build­ings sur­round­ing its head­quar­ters, the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Cen­ter, a few blocks from the U.S. Capi­tol.
...

But, of course, Trump’s agen­da is the agen­da of this broad­er mega-donor net­work. Which is why we should­n’t be sur­prised to see sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the CPI from anony­mous mega-donors using the Koch net­work’s DonorsTrust ‘non­prof­it’ to make those anony­mous con­tri­bu­tions. The $300,000 from the Lyn­de and Har­ry Bradley Foun­da­tion — which has Cle­ta Mitchell sit­ting on its board — is anoth­er exam­ple of the main­stream nature of the CPI’s fund­ing. At least the main­stream for right-wing mega-donors:

...
As a 501(c)(3) char­i­ta­ble non­prof­it, CPI is not allowed to get direct­ly involved in elec­tions, nor is it legal­ly required to dis­close its donors. But the Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy’s (CMD) Sourcewatch.org web­site has com­piled some fund­ing data for the orga­ni­za­tion by scour­ing foun­da­tion reports. One of CPI’s biggest donors, giv­ing $2.25 mil­lion from 2018 to 2020, is the Ed Uih­lein Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion con­trolled by right-wing mega-donor Richard Uih­lein, founder of the Wis­con­sin-based ship­ping and busi­ness sup­ply com­pa­ny Uline. In addi­tion, CPI has received sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing — at least $732,500 — from DonorsTrust, a non­prof­it fund that exists to pro­tect the iden­ti­ty of indi­vid­ual con­ser­v­a­tive donors.

Also among CPI’s major donors, giv­ing it at least $300,000, accord­ing to Sourcewatch.org, is the Lyn­de and Har­ry Bradley Foun­da­tion, one of the largest con­ser­v­a­tive foun­da­tions in the Unit­ed States. CPI’s Cle­ta Mitchell cur­rent­ly sits on Bradley’s board. In 2017, CMD pub­lished a series of sto­ries on the Mil­wau­kee-based foun­da­tion that exposed a high­ly polit­i­cal agen­da, includ­ing efforts to dis­man­tle and defund unions in order to impact state elec­tions. Bradley’s cur­rent pres­i­dent is Art Pope of North Car­oli­na, the mil­lion­aire own­er of the Vari­ety Whole­salers dis­count retail chain; a for­mer state leg­is­la­tor, state bud­get direc­tor, and cur­rent mem­ber of UNC’s Board of Gov­er­nors; and a lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive donor in his own right through his fam­i­ly’s John William Pope Foun­da­tion.
...

Also note the rela­tion­ship between Cle­ta Mitchell and John East­man — one of the cen­tral play­ers in orches­trat­ing the efforts to steal the elec­tion — via the CPI’s “Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work”: The series of ‘elec­tion integri­ty sum­mits’ held by the group were spon­sored by the Pub­lic Inter­est Legal Foun­da­tion. Both Mitchell and East­man sit on the Pub­lic Inter­est Legal Foun­da­tion board. Recall the oth­er fig­ures deeply involved with the CNP’s ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts who are mem­bers of this orga­ni­za­tion. As we saw, both CNP-mem­ber J Chris­t­ian Adams and Her­itage Foun­da­tion mem­ber Hans von Spakovsky — two of the GOP’s lead­ing ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ ‘experts’ — have been trot­ted out in front of Con­gress to make unsub­stan­ti­at­ed wild claims about mass vot­er fraud. In addi­tion to sit­ting on the Pub­lic Inter­est Legal Foun­da­tion board, Spakovksy con­tin­ues to head the Her­itage Foundation’s Elec­tion Law Reform Ini­tia­tive. Both the Pub­lic Inter­est Legal Foun­da­tion and the Her­itage Foundation’s Elec­tion Law Reform Ini­tia­tive are fund­ed by the Bradley Foun­da­tion. Again, the CPI’s ‘MAGA’ agen­da is the agen­da of this broad­er right-wing mega-donor net­work. We know this because they’re pay­ing for it:

...
Among CPI’s Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work’s top spend­ing pri­or­i­ties this year is a series of elec­tion sum­mits it held in sev­en key swing states, three of them in the South: Ari­zona, Flori­da, Geor­gia, Michi­gan, North Car­oli­na, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Wis­con­sin. Accord­ing to the sum­mit web­sites, the oth­er groups spon­sor­ing the events includ­ed Her­itage Foun­da­tion’s polit­i­cal affil­i­ate, Her­itage Action for Amer­i­ca; Tea Par­ty Patri­ots Action, part of a net­work of relat­ed groups that took part in the ral­ly before the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack; and Free­dom­Works, a lead­ing tea par­ty orga­ni­za­tion now aligned with Trump. Anoth­er spon­sor was the Pub­lic Inter­est Legal Foun­da­tion, which pro­motes vot­er roll purges; its board is chaired by Mitchell and includes attor­ney John East­man, who has emerged as anoth­er key fig­ure in the effort to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion by pro­mot­ing the base­less the­o­ry that the vice pres­i­dent has the author­i­ty to block cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of an elec­tion.
...

Final­ly, it’s worth not­ing the exten­sive CNP con­nec­tions to the State Pol­i­cy Net­work, anoth­er right-wing ‘think tank’ that’s involved with these ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts. The Pres­i­dent of the State Pol­i­cy Net­work is CNP mem­ber Tra­cy Sharp. Lynn Tay­lor — the pres­i­dent and co-founder of the State Pol­i­cy Net­work’s off­shoot, the Vir­ginia Insti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­i­cy — is the wid­ow of for­mer State Pol­i­cy Net­work CEO John Tay­lor, who also shows up on the CNP mem­ber­ship list. And as we’ve seen, the State Pol­i­cy Net­work has received sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Koch net­work of mega-donors. As we’ve also seen, one of the State Pol­i­cy Net­work’s off­shoots, Fed­er­al­ism in Action, was involved with pro­mot­ing the Bundy clan’s attempts to takeover fed­er­al lands. Extrem­ism is main­stream in the realm of dark mon­ey. Because this is all one big extrem­ist net­work:

...
Anoth­er speak­er at CPI’s elec­tions sum­mits was Lynn Tay­lor, pres­i­dent and co-founder of the Vir­ginia Insti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­i­cy, a think tank that belongs to the con­ser­v­a­tive State Pol­i­cy Net­work. CPI says Tay­lor worked close­ly with Mitchell to build a grass­roots team of poll watch­ers and elec­tion work­ers head­ing into Vir­gini­a’s elec­tions last fall. The group says it saw Vir­ginia, where off-year elec­tions decid­ed par­ty con­trol of the gov­er­nor’s office and both leg­isla­tive cham­bers, as a “test case for the elec­tion integri­ty move­ment.” In August 2021, CPI brought near­ly 300 con­ser­v­a­tive activists togeth­er in Rich­mond to learn about vot­er rolls, vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, and how to set up local and state task forces to mon­i­tor elec­tions. And per­haps not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, local elec­tions offi­cials in Vir­ginia report­ed see­ing more poll watch­ers than in pre­vi­ous years, with Repub­li­cans far out­num­ber­ing Democ­rats. Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Glenn Youngkin, who defeat­ed Demo­c­rat Ter­ry McAu­li­ffe by a 51–49 mar­gin, seized on the dis­in­for­ma­tion-dri­ven con­cerns about fraud by invit­ing Vir­ginia vot­ers to join his “elec­tion integri­ty task force” and to get involved in poll watch­ing.
...

Big extreme plans are in the works. Sched­ule F is just the big extreme start­ing plan to get the fas­cist ball rolling.

The Dark Enlightenment’s Schedule F Purge Plans: Curtis Yarvin, J.D. Vance, and the Plans to Purge Every Institution in the US

So what can we expect after the big Sched­ule F blitzkrieg at the begin­ning of the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion? That pre­sum­ably depends on how of a ‘Cae­sar’ mood the new Repub­li­can pres­i­dent is feel­ing. But it won’t just be up that pres­i­dent. The broad­er right-wing mega-donor power­bro­ker estab­lish­ment will pre­sum­ably want to have its say. And that brings us to the fol­low­ing pro­found­ly dis­turb­ing inter­view pub­lished in Vox just two weeks before the 2022 midterms. An inter­view of a fig­ure whose ideas were long described as ‘out­side the main­stream’. But not so out­side the main­stream any­more: Cur­tis Yarbin a.k.a. Men­cius Mold­bug.

As we’ve seen, in addi­tion to Yarv­in’s role as a kind of ide­o­log­i­cal fel­low trav­el­er of Peter Thiel and an influ­ence on Seast­eading move­ment, Yarvin is also report­ed­ly close to CNP-mem­ber Steve Ban­non, cre­at­ing a backchan­nel between Yarvin and the Trump White House. Yarvin and Ban­non even worked togeth­er to turn Bri­et­bart into a main­stream­ing vehi­cle for the ‘Alt Right’. And as we’re going to see in the fol­low­ing Vox piece, Yarv­in’s influ­ence with con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles has only blos­somed in recent years fol­low­ing the Clare­mont Insti­tute’s pub­li­ca­tion of his writ­ings. He’s appar­ent­ly main­stream enough that Sen­a­tor-elect JD Vance felt com­fort­able cred­it­ing Yarvin with an idea Vance had about what Trump should do should he win a sec­ond term. And idea that could be described as ‘Sched­ule F+’: Vance want­ed to see a full aggres­sive imple­men­ta­tion of Sched­ule F across gov­ern­ment. As he put it, Trump should “seize the insti­tu­tions of the left,” fire “every sin­gle midlev­el bureau­crat” in the US gov­ern­ment, and “replace them with our peo­ple.” In oth­er words, Sched­ule F. But Vance had an addi­tion pro­pos­al for Trump: ignore the courts if they get in the way, includ­ing the Supreme Court. Just ignore them. That was the idea Vance cred­it­ed to Yarvin a year before get­ting elect­ed to the Sen­ate to rep­re­sent Ohio in a cam­paign ini­tial­ly bankrolled by Peter Thiel.

Yarvin got an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share those views that Vance was all excit­ed about with the world in the fol­low­ing Vox inter­view pub­lished two weeks before the elec­tions. And while Yarvin does­n’t explic­it­ly talk about “Sched­ule F”, it’s clear that’s what he was talk­ing about just as it was clear that’s what Vance was propos­ing. And as Yarvin makes clear, any plot to purge the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of non-MAGA loy­al­ists is real­ly just an open­ing plot. The rev­o­lu­tion will only accel­er­ate at that point. A rev­o­lu­tion that Yarvin has spent A LOT of time think­ing about. A talk­ing about. And writ­ing about. And Yarvin has fans. Main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment fans thanks, in part, to the Clare­mont Insti­tute’s to pub­lish Yarv­in’s writ­ings in 2019 as a top­ic of dis­cus­sion. Fans like JD Vance, who has appar­ent­ly heard Yarvin advo­cat­ing for the aggres­sive use of some­thing sound­ing a lot like Sched­ule F. Recall how Vance serves on the board of Amer­i­can Moment, one of the CPI spin­off groups involved with recruit­ing young col­lege con­ser­v­a­tives to fill gov­ern­ment roles as part of the Sched­ule F plan­ning. Vance isn’t just talk­ing about putting Sched­ule F into effect. He’s active­ly prepar­ing.

And Yarv­in’s idea’s go way beyond ignor­ing the courts in the fol­low­ing inter­view. Yarvin advo­cat­ed that Some­one should just declare con­trol over all US insti­tu­tions, fire all non-loy­al­ists, and just take over. State and local gov­ern­ments — where Democ­rats will often be in pow­er — should just be dis­solved. Just a for­mal end to democ­ra­cy in the form of takeover blitzkrieg. Elite media and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions could just be shut down. If the courts get in the way they will be demot­ed to an advi­so­ry sta­tus. Yarvin is con­vinced this will be a pop­u­lar move. Peo­ple are just sick of democ­ra­cy not work­ing and they’re ready for some­thing new. He even sug­gests some­one should run for office on the plat­form, per­haps as ear­ly as 2024. And while Yarvin does­n’t actu­al­ly refer to Sched­ule F in the Vox inter­view, it’s pret­ty clear that the sce­nar­ios he’s talk­ing about would at least start with the aggres­sive imple­men­ta­tion of a Sched­ule F mass purge across the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. The full blown end­ing of democ­ra­cy and author­i­tar­i­an takeover would­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to hap­pen after you purge the gov­ern­ment of all non-loy­al­ists. But it will be a lot eas­i­er:

Vox

Cur­tis Yarvin wants Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy top­pled. He has some promi­nent Repub­li­can fans.

The New Right blog­ger has been cit­ed by Blake Mas­ters and J.D. Vance. What exact­ly is he advo­cat­ing?

By Andrew Prokop
Oct 24, 2022, 5:00am EDT

In Sep­tem­ber 2021, J.D. Vance, a GOP can­di­date for Sen­ate in Ohio, appeared on a con­ser­v­a­tive pod­cast to dis­cuss what is to be done with the Unit­ed States, and his pro­pos­als were dra­mat­ic. He urged Don­ald Trump, should he win anoth­er term, to “seize the insti­tu­tions of the left,” fire “every sin­gle midlev­el bureau­crat” in the US gov­ern­ment, “replace them with our peo­ple,” and defy the Supreme Court if it tries to stop him.

To the unini­ti­at­ed, all that might seem stun­ning. But Vance acknowl­edged he had an intel­lec­tu­al inspi­ra­tion. “So there’s this guy, Cur­tis Yarvin, who has writ­ten about some of these things...”

Near­ly a decade ear­li­er, a Stan­ford law stu­dent named Blake Mas­ters, asked by a friend for read­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for a book club, emailed a link to a set of blog posts. These posts made an argu­ment that was quite unusu­al in the Amer­i­can con­text, assert­ing that the demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed US gov­ern­ment should be abol­ished and replaced with a monar­chy. Its author, then writ­ing pseu­do­ny­mous­ly, was Yarvin.

Mas­ters is now the GOP Sen­ate nom­i­nee in Ari­zona. At a cam­paign event last year, accord­ing to Van­i­ty Fair’s James Pogue, he was asked how he’d actu­al­ly drain the swamp in Wash­ing­ton. “One of my friends has this acronym he calls RAGE — Retire All Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees,” Mas­ters answered. You’ve prob­a­bly guessed who the friend is.

In many thou­sand words’ worth of blog posts over the past 15 years, com­put­er pro­gram­mer and tech start­up founder Cur­tis Yarvin has laid out a cri­tique of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy: argu­ing that it’s lib­er­als in elite aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions, media out­lets, and the per­ma­nent bureau­cra­cy who hold true pow­er in this declin­ing coun­try, while the US exec­u­tive branch has become weak, incom­pe­tent, and cap­tured.

But he stands out among right-wing com­men­ta­tors for being prob­a­bly the sin­gle per­son who’s spent the most time gam­ing out how, exact­ly, the US gov­ern­ment could be top­pled and replaced — “reboot­ed” or “reset,” as he likes to say — with a monarch, CEO, or dic­ta­tor at the helm. Yarvin argues that a cre­ative and vision­ary leader — a “start­up guy,” like, he says, Napoleon or Lenin was — should seize absolute pow­er, dis­man­tle the old regime, and build some­thing new in its place.

To Yarvin, incre­men­tal reforms and half-mea­sures are nec­es­sar­i­ly doomed. The only way to achieve what he wants is to assume “absolute pow­er,” and the game is all about get­ting to a place where you can pull that off. Crit­ics have called his ideas “fas­cist” — a term he dis­putes, argu­ing that cen­tral­iz­ing pow­er under one ruler long pre­dates fas­cism, and that his ide­al monarch should rule for all rather than foment­ing a class war as fas­cists do. “Auto­crat­ic” fits as a descrip­tor, though his pre­ferred term is “monar­chist.” You won’t find many on the right say­ing they whol­ly sup­port Yarvin’s pro­gram — espe­cial­ly the “monar­chy” thing — but his cri­tique of the sta­tus quo and some of his ideas for chang­ing it have influ­enced sev­er­al increas­ing­ly promi­nent fig­ures.

Besides Vance and Mas­ters (whose cam­paigns declined to com­ment for this sto­ry), Yarvin has had a decade-long asso­ci­a­tion with bil­lion­aire Peter Thiel, who is sim­i­lar­ly dis­il­lu­sioned with democ­ra­cy and Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. “I no longer believe that free­dom and democ­ra­cy are com­pat­i­ble,” Thiel wrote in 2009, and ear­li­er this year, he declared that Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress who vot­ed for Trump’s impeach­ment after the Jan­u­ary 6 attacks were “trai­tor­ous.” Fox host Tuck­er Carl­son is anoth­er fan, inter­view­ing Yarvin with some fas­ci­na­tion for his stream­ing pro­gram last year. He’s even influ­enced online dis­course — Yarvin was the first to pop­u­lar­ize the anal­o­gy from The Matrix of being “red­pilled” or “-pilled,” sud­den­ly los­ing your illu­sions and see­ing the sup­posed real­i­ty of the world more clear­ly, as applied to pol­i­tics.

Over­all, Yarvin is arguably the lead­ing intel­lec­tu­al fig­ure on the New Right — a move­ment of thinkers and activists crit­i­cal of the tra­di­tion­al Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment who argue that an elite left “rul­ing class” has cap­tured and is ruin­ing Amer­i­ca, and that dras­tic mea­sures are nec­es­sary to fight back against them. And New Right ideas are get­ting more influ­en­tial among Repub­li­can staffers and politi­cians. Trump’s advis­ers are already brain­storm­ing Yarvi­nite — or at least Yarvin-lite — ideas for the sec­ond term, such as fir­ing thou­sands of fed­er­al civ­il ser­vants and replac­ing them with Trump loy­al­ists. With hun­dreds of “elec­tion deniers” on the bal­lot this year, anoth­er dis­put­ed pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could hap­pen soon — and Yarvin has writ­ten a play­book for the pow­er grab he hopes will then unfold.

So these ideas are no longer entire­ly just abstract mus­ings — it’s unclear how many pow­er­ful peo­ple may take Yarvin entire­ly lit­er­al­ly, but many do take him seri­ous­ly. And after the 2020 elec­tion cri­sis, the fall of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy seems rather more plau­si­ble than it used to. To bet­ter under­stand the ideas influ­enc­ing a grow­ing num­ber of con­ser­v­a­tive elites now, and the bat­tles that may lie ahead, then, I reviewed much of Yarvin’s siz­able body of work, and I inter­viewed him.

Dur­ing our lengthy con­ver­sa­tion, Yarvin argued that the even­tu­al fall of US democ­ra­cy could be “fun­da­men­tal­ly joy­ous and peace­ful.” Yet the steps Pres­i­dent Trump took in that direc­tion after the 2020 elec­tion were not par­tic­u­lar­ly joy­ous or peace­ful, and it was hard for me to see why fur­ther move­ment down that road would be.

From obscure “anti-democ­ra­cy” blog­ger to New Right influ­encer

In Yarvin’s telling, his polit­i­cal awak­en­ing occurred dur­ing the 2004 elec­tion. A com­put­er pro­gram­mer liv­ing in Sil­i­con Val­ley, he was then an avid read­er of polit­i­cal blogs, fol­low­ing the “Swift Boat Vet­er­ans for Truth” scan­dal about whether Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee John Ker­ry had lied about aspects of his mil­i­tary ser­vice. Yarvin thought it was clear Ker­ry had lied, and felt the media went to stun­ning lengths to pro­tect him and smear his accusers. But he also became dis­il­lu­sioned with the con­ser­v­a­tive response, which he thought amount­ed to inef­fec­tive­ly com­plain­ing about “media bias” and con­tin­u­ing with pol­i­tics as usu­al. The prob­lem, he felt, was far deep­er.

An intense peri­od of read­ing old books on polit­i­cal the­o­ry and his­to­ry to con­tem­plate how sys­tems work fol­lowed. Even­tu­al­ly, he (as he lat­er put it) “stopped believ­ing in democ­ra­cy,” com­par­ing this real­iza­tion to how for­mer­ly reli­gious peo­ple feel when they stop believ­ing in God. Soon, he began post­ing blog com­ments, and then writ­ing a self-described “anti-democ­ra­cy blog” begin­ning in 2007, under the pseu­do­nym “Men­cius Mold­bug.” In these writ­ings — dis­cur­sive, filled with his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences, wry, and often glee­ful­ly offen­sive — he laid out a sort of grand the­o­ry of why Amer­i­ca is bro­ken, and how it can be fixed:

* The US gov­ern­ment is a scle­rot­ic, decay­ing insti­tu­tion that can no longer achieve great or even com­pe­tent things and, as he now puts it, “just sucks.” Con­strained by the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers and Con­gress, the pres­i­dent has “neg­li­gi­ble pow­er” to achieve his agen­da in con­trast to the “deep state” bureau­cra­cy and the non­prof­its that are per­ma­nent fix­tures of Washington’s gov­ern­ing class.
* True pow­er in the US is held by “the Cathe­dral” — elite aca­d­e­m­ic and media insti­tu­tions that, in Yarvin’s telling, set the bounds of accept­able polit­i­cal dis­course and dis­tort real­i­ty to fit their pre­ferred ide­o­log­i­cal frames. This does not unfold as a cen­tral­ized con­spir­a­cy, but rather through a shared world­view and cul­ture, and it’s his expla­na­tion for why soci­ety keeps mov­ing to the left through the decades.
* It’s not just the cur­rent gov­ern­ment that sucks — democ­ra­cy sucks, too. Some­times he denounces democ­ra­cy entire­ly, call­ing it a “dan­ger­ous, malig­nant form of gov­ern­ment.” Some­times he says democ­ra­cy doesn’t even prac­ti­cal­ly exist in the US, because vot­ers don’t have true pow­er over the gov­ern­ment as com­pared to those oth­er inter­ests, which func­tion as an oli­garchy. Some­times he argues that orga­ni­za­tions in which lead­er­ship is shared or divid­ed sim­ply aren’t effec­tive.
* Far prefer­able, in his view, would be a gov­ern­ment run like most cor­po­ra­tions — with one leader hold­ing absolute pow­er over those below, though per­haps account­able to a “board of direc­tors” of sorts (he admits that “an unac­count­able autoc­ra­cy is a real prob­lem”). This monarch/CEO would have the abil­i­ty to actu­al­ly run things, unboth­ered by pesky civ­il ser­vants, judges, vot­ers, the pub­lic, or the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers. “How do we achieve effec­tive man­age­ment? We know one sim­ple way: find the right per­son, and put him or her in charge,” he writes.

For years, Yarvin was some­thing of an odd inter­net curios­i­ty, with his ideas far from most polit­i­cal con­ser­v­a­tives’ radar. He gained one promi­nent read­er — Thiel, who had writ­ten about his own dis­il­lu­sion­ment with democ­ra­cy, became a Yarvin friend, and fund­ed his start­up. “He’s ful­ly enlight­ened,” Yarvin lat­er wrote of Thiel in an email, “just plays it very care­ful­ly.” (Thiel did not respond to a request for com­ment.) Beyond that, ideas blog­gers like Robin Han­son and Scott Alexan­der argued with him, and he grad­u­al­ly got more atten­tion for being a lead­ing fig­ure in the “neo­re­ac­tionary” move­ment.

Though his blog was pseu­do­ny­mous, he had not made a par­tic­u­lar­ly exten­sive effort to keep his iden­ti­ty secret, appear­ing in per­son as Mold­bug to give a talk at a con­fer­ence in 2012. In the fol­low­ing years, jour­nal­ists began to write about him by name, and though he soon put his blog on hia­tus to focus on his start­up, out­rage over some of his writ­ings con­tin­ued to fol­low him. Yarvin was dis­in­vit­ed from one tech con­fer­ence in 2015 after protests, and his appear­ance at anoth­er in 2016 led sev­er­al spon­sors and speak­ers to with­draw.

The stick­ing points com­mon­ly cit­ed by his crit­ics includ­ed one Mold­bug post on his­tor­i­cal thought about slav­ery, which was seized on as proof that he was “pro-slav­ery” and racist. In a response, he said he believes in the bio­log­i­cal roots of intel­li­gence and does not believe that all pop­u­la­tions (or racial groups) are equal­ly intel­li­gent, on aver­age. But he insist­ed racism was “despi­ca­ble” and said he did not believe Euro­peans have any inher­ent or “moral supe­ri­or­i­ty” over oth­er races. Anoth­er post that spurred out­rage dis­cussed far-right Nor­we­gian mass mur­der­er Anders Breivik — Yarvin argued that the polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions of left heroes like Che Gue­vara and Nel­son Man­dela also mur­dered civil­ians, and they should face con­dem­na­tion, too.

Yarvin was out of the blog­ging game for the ear­ly Trump years (though he did attend Thiel’s watch par­ty for the 2016 elec­tion). But in his time away, his influ­ence grew. To some on the right, Yarvin’s long­time obses­sions seemed both pre­scient and clar­i­fy­ing. The “Cathe­dral” antic­i­pat­ed the “Great Awok­en­ing” and the social jus­tice wars, as Jacob Siegel has writ­ten. Pres­i­den­tial pow­er­less­ness before the “deep state” pre­dict­ed Trump’s strug­gles in get­ting his agen­da done.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Trump him­self proved a fil­ter of sorts to the con­ser­v­a­tive intel­lec­tu­al class. As the pres­i­dent dis­dained the norms of clas­si­cal­ly lib­er­al democ­ra­cy, con­ser­v­a­tives who were attached to those norms either self-select­ed out of the par­ty or got purged. The pro-Trump intel­lec­tu­al space was tak­en by the New Right, thinkers argu­ing the left’s con­trol of cul­ture, soci­ety, and gov­ern­ment have got­ten so bad that extreme mea­sures were nec­es­sary to reverse it — and that pre­vi­ous GOP lead­ers were too hes­i­tant to ful­ly rec­og­nize they’re in a war and need to fight back.

Take, for instance, Vance. In explain­ing to pod­cast host Jack Mur­phy why he became a Trump sup­port­er after ini­tial­ly dis­dain­ing him, Vance said, “I saw and real­ized some­thing about the Amer­i­can elite, and about my role in the Amer­i­can elite, that took me just a while to fig­ure out. I was red­pilled” — using the ref­er­ence Yarvin helped pop­u­lar­ize. “We are in a late repub­li­can peri­od,” Vance told Mur­phy. “If we’re going to push back against it, we’re going to have to get pret­ty wild, and pret­ty far out there, and go in direc­tions that a lot of con­ser­v­a­tives right now are uncom­fort­able with.”

After Yarvin stepped away from his start­up (the com­pa­ny behind the open source soft­ware project Urbit) in 2019, The Amer­i­can Mind, the online pub­li­ca­tion of the con­ser­v­a­tive think tank the Clare­mont Insti­tute, began pub­lish­ing his essays, effec­tive­ly wel­com­ing him into the now-main­stream dis­course on the right. He became a fre­quent guest on New Right pod­casts, and in 2020 he start­ed a Sub­stack, at first using it to post excerpts from an in-progress book but even­tu­al­ly return­ing to his blog­ging roots. Then, when Trump tried and failed to over­turn that year’s elec­tion result, Yarvin’s long­time inter­est in “regime change” sud­den­ly became far more rel­e­vant.

How to win absolute pow­er in Wash­ing­ton

Talk of an Amer­i­can coup may sound bizarre, but coups are not that weird. They hap­pen in oth­er coun­tries, and in Yarvin’s telling, they’ve even hap­pened in the US, sort of. He argues that Alexan­der Hamil­ton, Abra­ham Lin­coln, and Franklin D. Roo­sevelt each so sweep­ing­ly expand­ed pres­i­den­tial pow­er, cen­tral­iz­ing author­i­ty and estab­lish­ing new depart­ments, that they can be said to have found­ed new regimes.

But Yarvin wants to see some­thing even more dra­mat­ic. In posts such as “Reflec­tions on the late elec­tion” and “The but­ter­fly rev­o­lu­tion,” and pod­cast appear­ances such as those with for­mer Trump offi­cial Michael Anton and writer Bri­an Chau, Yarvin has laid out many spe­cif­ic ideas about how the sys­tem could real­ly be ful­ly top­pled and replaced with some­thing like a cen­tral­ized monar­chy. Some­times he frames this as what Trump should have done in 2020, what he should (but won’t) do in 2024, or what some oth­er can­di­date should do in the future, if they want to seize pow­er. “Trump will nev­er do any­thing like this,” Yarvin wrote. “But I won’t dis­guise my belief that some­one should. Some­one wor­thy of the task, of course.”

It is basi­cal­ly a set of thought exper­i­ments about how to dis­man­tle US democ­ra­cy and its cur­rent sys­tem of gov­ern­ment. Writer John Ganz, review­ing some of Yarvin’s pro­pos­als, con­clud­ed, “If that’s not the prod­uct of a fas­cist imag­i­na­tion, I don’t know what pos­si­bly could be.” Many of these are sim­i­lar to events pre­ced­ing the fall of democ­ra­cies else­where in the world. Again, Yarvin’s promi­nent fans like Vance and Mas­ters wouldn’t ful­ly endorse this pro­gram — Mas­ters told NBC that he would have “a dif­fer­ent pre­scrip­tion” of what to do than Yarvin, and that he believes in the Con­sti­tu­tion — but some aspects of it have caught their inter­est.

Cam­paign on it, and win: First off, the would-be dic­ta­tor should seek a man­date from the peo­ple, by run­ning for pres­i­dent and open­ly cam­paign­ing on the plat­form of, as he put it to Chau, “If I’m elect­ed, I’m gonna assume absolute pow­er in Wash­ing­ton and rebuild the gov­ern­ment.”

The idea here would be not to frame this as destroy­ing the Amer­i­can sys­tem, but rather as improv­ing a bro­ken sys­tem that so many are frus­trat­ed with. Con­gress is unpop­u­lar, the courts are unpop­u­lar, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is unpop­u­lar. Why not just promise to gov­ern as pres­i­dent as you see fit, with­out their inter­fer­ence? And see if peo­ple like that idea?

“You’re not that far from a world in which you can have a can­di­date in 2024, even, maybe,” mak­ing that pledge, Yarvin con­tin­ued. “I think you could get away with it. That’s sort of what peo­ple already thought was hap­pen­ing with Trump,” he said. “To do it for real does not make them much more hys­ter­i­cal, and” — he laughed — “it’s actu­al­ly much more effec­tive!”

It no longer seems clear that vot­ers would reject such a pitch. Trump’s ascen­dan­cy already proves that many Amer­i­can vot­ers are no longer so enam­ored of niceties about the rule of law and civics class pieties about the great­ness of the Amer­i­can sep­a­rat­ed pow­ers sys­tem. Polit­i­cal mes­sag­ing about “threats to democ­ra­cy” has polled poor­ly this year, with vot­ers not par­tic­u­lar­ly engaged by it.

Anoth­er piece of advice Yarvin has in this vein is that the would-be dic­ta­tor should try to pre­vent blue Amer­i­ca from feel­ing so ter­ri­fied about the new regime that they take to the streets and make it all fall apart. Instead, ide­al­ly, lib­er­als and left­ists should feel so dis­il­lu­sioned with the sta­tus quo that they’re ready for some­thing new. (He thought things were on a promis­ing tra­jec­to­ry on this front dur­ing the ear­ly Biden admin­is­tra­tion, but has griped that the Dobbs deci­sion may have scut­tled this by fir­ing up blue Amer­i­ca.)

Purge the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy and cre­ate a new one: Once the new pres­i­den­t/­would-be monarch is elect­ed, Yarvin thinks time is of the essence. “The speed that this hap­pens with has to take everyone’s breath away,” he told Chau. “It should just exe­cute at a rate that total­ly baf­fles its ene­mies.”

Yarvin says the tran­si­tion peri­od before inau­gu­ra­tion should be used to inten­sive­ly study what’s essen­tial for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to do, deter­mine a struc­ture for the new gov­ern­ment, and hire many of its future employ­ees. Then, once in pow­er, it’s time to “Retire All Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees” of the old regime, send­ing them off with nice pen­sions so they won’t make too much of a fuss. To cir­cum­vent Con­gress, the pres­i­dent should have his appointees take over the Fed­er­al Reserve, and direct the Fed on how to fund the new regime.

Talk of fir­ing vast swaths of fed­er­al work­ers is now com­mon on the right. In late 2020, Trump issued an exec­u­tive order called “Sched­ule F” that would reclas­si­fy as many as 50,000 civ­il ser­vants in mid­dle man­age­ment as polit­i­cal appointees who could be fired and replaced by the new pres­i­dent. Noth­ing came of it, and Biden quick­ly revoked it, but Trump’s regime-in-exile is brain­storm­ing what could be done with it in a sec­ond term, as Axios’s Jonathan Swan has report­ed.

To Yarvin, even that is a doomed half-mea­sure. “You should be exe­cut­ing exec­u­tive pow­er from day one in a total­ly emer­gency fash­ion,” he told Anton. “You don’t want to take con­trol of these agen­cies through appoint­ments, you want to defund them. You want them to total­ly cease to exist.” This would of course involve some amount of chaos, but Yarvin hopes that will be brief, and the actu­al­ly essen­tial work of gov­ern­ment would quick­ly be tak­en over by new­ly cre­at­ed bod­ies that could be under the autocrat’s con­trol.

Ignore the courts: The rule of law in Amer­i­ca is based on shared beliefs and behav­iors among many actors through­out the sys­tem, but it has no mag­i­cal pow­er. The courts have no mech­a­nism to actu­al­ly force a pres­i­dent to abide by their wish­es should he defy their rul­ings. Yet, with cer­tain notable excep­tions, they have had an extra­or­di­nary track record at get­ting pres­i­dents to stay in line. Defy­ing the Supreme Court means end­ing the rule of law in the US as it has long been under­stood.

Yarvin has sug­gest­ed just that — that a new pres­i­dent should sim­ply say he has con­clud­ed Mar­bury v. Madi­son — the ear­ly rul­ing in which the Supreme Court great­ly expand­ed its own pow­ers — was wrong­ly decid­ed. He’s also said the new pres­i­dent should declare a state of emer­gency and say he would view Supreme Court rul­ings as mere­ly advi­so­ry.

Would politi­cians back this? J.D. Vance, in the pod­cast men­tioned above, said part of his advice for Trump in his sec­ond term would involve fir­ing vast swaths of fed­er­al employ­ees, “and when the courts stop you, stand before the coun­try like Andrew Jack­son did, and say, ‘The chief jus­tice has made his rul­ing. Now let him enforce it.’”

Co-opt Con­gress: One rea­son past pres­i­dents may have been reluc­tant to defy the Supreme Court is that there is one body that can keep them in check — Con­gress, which can impeach and actu­al­ly remove a pres­i­dent from office, and ban him from run­ning again.

Now, con­gres­sion­al majori­ties have been grad­u­al­ly get­ting more def­er­en­tial to their party’s pres­i­dents. Yet the threat of impeach­ment and removal hung over much of Trump’s deci­sion-mak­ing and like­ly pre­vent­ed him from going fur­ther in sev­er­al key moments. For instance, he didn’t fire spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, and he backed down and left office after Jan­u­ary 6 (while Mitch McConnell’s allies were leak­ing that the GOP Sen­ate leader might sup­port impeach­ment, in an appar­ent threat to Trump). Con­gress also fre­quent­ly cut Trump out of pol­i­cy­mak­ing, ignor­ing his veto threats.

Yarvin’s idea here is that Trump (or insert future would-be auto­crat here) should cre­ate an app — “the Trump app” — and get his sup­port­ers to sign up for it. Trump should then hand­pick can­di­dates for every con­gres­sion­al and Sen­ate seat whose sole pur­pose would be to ful­ly sup­port him and his agen­da, and use the app to get his vot­ers to vote for them in pri­maries. Trump has been pick­ing pri­ma­ry favorites and had some suc­cess in open seat con­tests, but this would be a far more large-scale, strate­gic, and sys­tem­at­ic effort.

The goal would be to cre­ate a per­son­al­is­tic major­i­ty that nul­li­fies the impeach­ment and removal threat, and that gives the pres­i­dent the num­bers to pass what­ev­er leg­is­la­tion he wants. If you can win majori­ties in this way, then “con­grat­u­la­tions, you’ve turned the US into a par­lia­men­tary dic­ta­tor­ship,” Yarvin told Chau. Effec­tive­ly, the US’s Madis­on­ian sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers will have been made moot.

...

Cen­tral­ize police and gov­ern­ment pow­ers: Mov­ing for­ward in the state of emer­gency, Yarvin told Anton the new gov­ern­ment should then take “direct con­trol over all law enforce­ment author­i­ties,” fed­er­al­ize the Nation­al Guard, and effec­tive­ly cre­ate a nation­al police force that absorbs local bod­ies. This amounts to estab­lish­ing a cen­tral­ized police state to back the pow­er grab — as auto­crats typ­i­cal­ly do.

Whether this is at all plau­si­ble in the US any­time soon — well, you’ll have to ask the Nation­al Guard and police offi­cers. “You have to be will­ing to say, okay, when we have this regime change, we have a peri­od of tem­po­rary uncer­tain­ty which has to be resolved in an extreme­ly peace­ful way,” he says.

Yarvin also wants his new monarch’s absolute pow­er to be tru­ly absolute, which can’t real­ly hap­pen so long as there are so many inde­pen­dent­ly elect­ed gov­ern­ment pow­er cen­ters in (espe­cial­ly blue) states and cities. So they’ll have to be abol­ished in “almost” all cas­es. This would sure­ly be a tow­er­ing logis­ti­cal chal­lenge and cre­ate a great deal of resis­tance, to put it mild­ly.

Shut down elite media and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions: Now, recall that, accord­ing to Yarvin’s the­o­ries, true pow­er is held by “the Cathe­dral,” so they have to go, too. The new monarch/dictator should order them dis­solved. “You can’t con­tin­ue to have a Har­vard or a New York Times past the start of April,” he told Anton. After that, he says, peo­ple should be allowed to form new asso­ci­a­tions and insti­tu­tions if they want, but the exist­ing Cathe­dral pow­er bases must be torn down.

Turn out your peo­ple: Final­ly, through­out this process, Yarvin wants to be able to get the new ruler’s sup­port­ers to take to the streets. “You don’t real­ly need an armed force, you need the max­i­mum capac­i­ty to sum­mon demo­c­ra­t­ic pow­er that you can find,” he told Anton. He point­ed to the “Trump app” idea again, which he said could col­lect 80 mil­lion cell num­bers and noti­fy peo­ple to tell them where to go and protest (“peace­ful­ly”) — for instance, they could go to an agency that’s defy­ing the new leader’s instruc­tions, to tell them, “sup­port the law­ful orders of this new law­ful author­i­ty.”

He points to the post-Sovi­et rev­o­lu­tions in East­ern Europe as a mod­el, say­ing the enor­mous mass of peo­ple “shouldn’t be men­ac­ing in this Jan­u­ary 6 sense, it should have this joy­ous sense that you’re actu­al­ly win­ning and win­ning for­ev­er and the world is being com­plete­ly remade.” And he says that though many police offi­cers fol­low orders dur­ing their day jobs, many of them also sup­port Trump — so per­haps they could sig­nal that by putting on “a spe­cial arm­band.”

“If the insti­tu­tions deny the Pres­i­dent the Con­sti­tu­tion­al posi­tion he has legal­ly won in the elec­tion, the vot­ers will have to act direct­ly,” Yarvin wrote. “Trump will call his peo­ple into the streets—not at the end of his term, when he is most pow­er­less; at the start, when he is most pow­er­ful. No one wants to see this nuclear option hap­pen. Prepar­ing for it and demon­strat­ing the capac­i­ty to exe­cute it will pre­vent it from hav­ing to hap­pen.”

Sow­ing seeds of doubt in democ­ra­cy

Yarvin and I spoke for near­ly two and a half hours recent­ly. He pep­pered his com­ments with hun­dreds of his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences, and, as he often does with left inter­locu­tors, he focused on areas where he appeared to believe he could find com­mon ground. He was at pains to reas­sure me that he didn’t believe the US regime was going to fall any­time soon, say­ing this was a “gen­er­a­tional, not imme­di­ate” process.

“Part of my project now is to say let’s make this a lit­tle less of an abstrac­tion, let’s imag­ine what it might look like in a way that it doesn’t scare any­one,” he said. “It is dan­ger­ous! Any kind of seri­ous polit­i­cal change is dan­ger­ous. And where we are is also dan­ger­ous,” he said. He named specif­i­cal­ly the pos­si­bil­i­ty of nuclear war in Ukraine, which does seem quite dan­ger­ous, though it can­not be laid sole­ly at the feet of democ­ra­cy. And while say­ing he was not exact­ly a fan of FDR, he sang the prais­es of New Deal Wash­ing­ton as a time when the US gov­ern­ment could actu­al­ly achieve impres­sive things, bemoan­ing that it no longer can.

All this is more politic than Men­cius Moldbug’s old approach of throw­ing rhetor­i­cal bombs at the left, and he’s giv­en an expla­na­tion of this shift. On his Sub­stack, he has used a Lord of the Rings metaphor in which red-staters are “hob­bits,” bat­tling the elite blue-stater “elves,” but with “dark elf” allies — elite blue-staters like him. “The first job of the dark elves is to seduce the high elves — to sow acorns of dark doubt in their high gold­en minds,” he wrote. Then per­haps they’ll change sides, or at least their “con­vic­tion and ener­gy” may flag. “Today’s glob­al elites are invul­ner­a­ble to any exter­nal coer­cive pow­er and can coerce any inter­nal coer­cive pow­er,” he con­tin­ued. “Like the USSR, they can only over­throw them­selves.”

That is: He wants to con­vince elite lib­er­als and left­ists to lose faith in the sys­tem, believ­ing that when enough of them no longer want to defend it, it will be eas­i­er to top­ple. In his think­ing, that’s the pre­req­ui­site for regime change. “??When you see cul­tur­al elites devel­op­ing a sense of pos­si­bil­i­ty in a broad­er sense which is out­side the sort of matrix of con­ven­tion­al belief, then you’re like, okay, some­thing inter­est­ing is start­ing to hap­pen,” he told me.

...

But of course Yarvin’s vil­lains (the media, acad­e­mia, the “deep state”) are dif­fer­ent from the vil­lains in the pro­gres­sive sto­ry (mon­eyed inter­ests, big­otry or sys­temic bias, reli­gious extrem­ists, igno­rant red-staters). And what he’d want his monarch to do with all that pow­er is dif­fer­ent, too: He’s writ­ten about his idea to deter crime by putting an ankle mon­i­tor on any­one who’s not rich or employed, and to cre­ate “relo­ca­tion cen­ters” for “deciv­i­lized sub­pop­u­la­tions.”

So if you’re try­ing to increase left-right agree­ment that the cur­rent sys­tem is fatal­ly flawed, I asked him, is it real­ly pos­si­ble to please both sides about what the new sys­tem will offer? Might you be try­ing to sell the left a bill of goods, claim­ing this future monar­chy will be bet­ter, when it will actu­al­ly be far worse for them?

“Nei­ther side should be sold a bill of goods,” he answered. “This is not a homo­ge­neous coun­try; it’s nev­er been. There’s a lot of peo­ple in this coun­try who have to share the same land. That’s a solv­able prob­lem.” He ref­er­enced the long-run­ning con­flict between ple­beians and patri­cians in the Roman Repub­lic, which he said was made irrel­e­vant by Julius Cae­sar and his suc­ces­sor Augustus’s cen­tral­iza­tion of pow­er. “Imag­ine in Amer­i­ca if this red state/blue state, race war, class war, all this shit, it’s just gone,” he said.

The pic­ture was so rosy that the music of John Lennon began play­ing in my head. It is cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble to imag­ine a much more effec­tive gov­ern­ment under one-man rule than the one we have now. Per­haps if we picked out the per­fect bril­liant, inge­nious, com­pas­sion­ate king (with a wise board of direc­tors he’d respect rather than sup­plant), it all would work out well. It could also, of course, work out very poor­ly.

Even if the dark­est sce­nar­ios don’t come about, scle­ro­sis and decay are hard­ly prob­lems unique to demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tems — they’ve affect­ed autoc­ra­cies through­out his­to­ry, up to today. It is dif­fi­cult to ensure the leader’s incen­tives are focused on good gov­er­nance rather than on entrench­ing him­self in pow­er. The cor­po­rate mod­el, which Yarvin prais­es, also often leads to dys­func­tion­al bureau­cra­cy, not to men­tion that gov­ern­ing a coun­try might sim­ply be a dif­fer­ent sort of prob­lem than run­ning a com­pa­ny.

But in a prac­ti­cal sense, Yarvin’s long-term ambi­tions for the new regime mat­ter less than his ideas about how the old one could fall. Yarvin’s pop­u­lar­i­ty among ris­ing Repub­li­cans and New Right intel­lec­tu­als reveals this cohort is more and more will­ing to enter­tain ideas that are out of the main­stream. Some ambi­tious fig­ure, or even Trump him­self, could well try to fol­low his play­book in a future cri­sis.

If they do, despite Yarvin’s urg­ing that the rev­o­lu­tion should be “absolute­ly blood­less,” there’s no telling how messy things could get. All the dec­la­ra­tions that Amer­i­ca is cur­rent­ly falling apart could look quaint by com­par­i­son to what comes, if the rule of law is shred­ded and the cur­rent order is top­pled. “If you yank out a tooth, you can­not auto­mat­i­cal­ly expect a new and bet­ter tooth to grow back,” the econ­o­mist Tyler Cowen recent­ly wrote, in a cri­tique of the New Right. The best-laid plans of rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies very often go awry.

...

————

“Cur­tis Yarvin wants Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy top­pled. He has some promi­nent Repub­li­can fans.” by Andrew Prokop; Vox; 10/24/2022

“But he stands out among right-wing com­men­ta­tors for being prob­a­bly the sin­gle per­son who’s spent the most time gam­ing out how, exact­ly, the US gov­ern­ment could be top­pled and replaced — “reboot­ed” or “reset,” as he likes to say — with a monarch, CEO, or dic­ta­tor at the helm. Yarvin argues that a cre­ative and vision­ary leader — a “start­up guy,” like, he says, Napoleon or Lenin was — should seize absolute pow­er, dis­man­tle the old regime, and build some­thing new in its place.”

A lot has changed for Cur­tis Yarvin over the years. He isn’t just focused on pro­mot­ing the Dark Enlight­en­ment phi­los­o­phy. He has a more action­able goal: gam­ing out the col­lapse of the US democ­ra­cy. And as should be clear by now, he’s no longer some obscure blog­ger rant­i­ng into the wilder­ness. His ideas for how to car­ry out a gov­ern­ment coup are basi­cal­ly main­stream ideas with­in the con­tem­po­rary Trumpi­fied con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. He’s even has his writ­ings pub­lished by the Clare­mont Insti­tute start­ing in 2019. Again, recall how the Clare­mont Insti­tute was run­ning the “79 Days report” elec­tion sim­u­la­tions in the final weeks of the 2020 elec­tion that iron­i­cal­ly envi­sioned all sorts of sce­nar­ios involv­ing left­ist mobs occu­py­ing capi­tols. The Clare­mont Insti­tute hap­pens to have John East­man, one of the cen­tral fig­ures in devel­op­ing legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the events that led up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. Also recall how John East­man is work­ing for the CRA, which has Sched­ule F as one of its main focus­es. You can’t real­ly make sense of the insur­rec­tionary fer­vor of the GOP with­out account­ing for the grow­ing influ­ence and main­stream­ing of Yarv­in’s ideas. When John East­man was mak­ing up BS legal excus­es for Trump to oppose the elec­tion results that even ne knew were BS, he was chan­nel­ing Yarvin. Just Do It. That’s Yarv­in’s slo­gan. Just go ahead and grab the pow­er and declare your insti­t­u­a­tion­al ene­mies invalid.

And while Yarvin may not be using the phrase ‘Sched­ule F’ when he issues these calls for a mass purge of insti­tu­tions across the US, it’s pret­ty obvi­ous that he’s very much talk­ing about Sched­ule F. He’s just doing it using the hyper­bol­ic rev­o­lu­tion­ary lan­guage of the ‘Alt-Right’ aka the ‘New Right’ where they just come out and admit their plans to end democ­ra­cy. And despite that open talk of end­ing democ­ra­cy and purg­ing insti­tu­tions across the US of any and all ‘left­ists’, Yarv­in’s essays start­ed get­ting open­ly pro­mot­ed by the Clare­mont Insti­tute back in 2019, “effec­tive­ly wel­com­ing him into the now-main­stream dis­course on the right.” That’s part of the dis­turb­ing con­text of Yarvin will­ing­ness to talk so open­ly about what sounds like Sched­ule F on steroids. He’s not fight­ing for accep­tance. This is post-Jan 6. Cur­tis Yarvin is lead­ing fol­low­ers with an inter­view like that:

...
To Yarvin, incre­men­tal reforms and half-mea­sures are nec­es­sar­i­ly doomed. The only way to achieve what he wants is to assume “absolute pow­er,” and the game is all about get­ting to a place where you can pull that off. Crit­ics have called his ideas “fas­cist” — a term he dis­putes, argu­ing that cen­tral­iz­ing pow­er under one ruler long pre­dates fas­cism, and that his ide­al monarch should rule for all rather than foment­ing a class war as fas­cists do. “Auto­crat­ic” fits as a descrip­tor, though his pre­ferred term is “monar­chist.” You won’t find many on the right say­ing they whol­ly sup­port Yarvin’s pro­gram — espe­cial­ly the “monar­chy” thing — but his cri­tique of the sta­tus quo and some of his ideas for chang­ing it have influ­enced sev­er­al increas­ing­ly promi­nent fig­ures.

...

Over­all, Yarvin is arguably the lead­ing intel­lec­tu­al fig­ure on the New Right — a move­ment of thinkers and activists crit­i­cal of the tra­di­tion­al Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment who argue that an elite left “rul­ing class” has cap­tured and is ruin­ing Amer­i­ca, and that dras­tic mea­sures are nec­es­sary to fight back against them. And New Right ideas are get­ting more influ­en­tial among Repub­li­can staffers and politi­cians. Trump’s advis­ers are already brain­storm­ing Yarvi­nite — or at least Yarvin-lite — ideas for the sec­ond term, such as fir­ing thou­sands of fed­er­al civ­il ser­vants and replac­ing them with Trump loy­al­ists. With hun­dreds of “elec­tion deniers” on the bal­lot this year, anoth­er dis­put­ed pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could hap­pen soon — and Yarvin has writ­ten a play­book for the pow­er grab he hopes will then unfold.

So these ideas are no longer entire­ly just abstract mus­ings — it’s unclear how many pow­er­ful peo­ple may take Yarvin entire­ly lit­er­al­ly, but many do take him seri­ous­ly. And after the 2020 elec­tion cri­sis, the fall of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy seems rather more plau­si­ble than it used to. To bet­ter under­stand the ideas influ­enc­ing a grow­ing num­ber of con­ser­v­a­tive elites now, and the bat­tles that may lie ahead, then, I reviewed much of Yarvin’s siz­able body of work, and I inter­viewed him.

Dur­ing our lengthy con­ver­sa­tion, Yarvin argued that the even­tu­al fall of US democ­ra­cy could be “fun­da­men­tal­ly joy­ous and peace­ful.” Yet the steps Pres­i­dent Trump took in that direc­tion after the 2020 elec­tion were not par­tic­u­lar­ly joy­ous or peace­ful, and it was hard for me to see why fur­ther move­ment down that road would be.

...

Yarvin was out of the blog­ging game for the ear­ly Trump years (though he did attend Thiel’s watch par­ty for the 2016 elec­tion). But in his time away, his influ­ence grew. To some on the right, Yarvin’s long­time obses­sions seemed both pre­scient and clar­i­fy­ing. The “Cathe­dral” antic­i­pat­ed the “Great Awok­en­ing” and the social jus­tice wars, as Jacob Siegel has writ­ten. Pres­i­den­tial pow­er­less­ness before the “deep state” pre­dict­ed Trump’s strug­gles in get­ting his agen­da done.

...

After Yarvin stepped away from his start­up (the com­pa­ny behind the open source soft­ware project Urbit) in 2019, The Amer­i­can Mind, the online pub­li­ca­tion of the con­ser­v­a­tive think tank the Clare­mont Insti­tute, began pub­lish­ing his essays, effec­tive­ly wel­com­ing him into the now-main­stream dis­course on the right. He became a fre­quent guest on New Right pod­casts, and in 2020 he start­ed a Sub­stack, at first using it to post excerpts from an in-progress book but even­tu­al­ly return­ing to his blog­ging roots. Then, when Trump tried and failed to over­turn that year’s elec­tion result, Yarvin’s long­time inter­est in “regime change” sud­den­ly became far more rel­e­vant.
...

And as Yarvin has observed, his ideas for over­throw­ing democ­ra­cy are already so main­stream with­in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment that he now advo­cates that some­one run for the pres­i­den­cy on a plat­form of end­ing democ­ra­cy and seiz­ing pow­er. It would be a pop­u­lar plat­form, as Yarvin sees it. He could even imag­ine a can­di­date run­ning on that plat­form in 2024. It’s also worth not­ing the keen inter­est of fig­ures like Peter Thiel, Steven Ban­non, and Robert Mer­cer in the grow­ing field of psy­che­del­ic med­i­cine and the evi­dence show­ing that psy­che­delics can help peo­ple resist author­i­tar­i­an world­views. It should be pret­ty clear by now that a pop­u­la­tion gripped by author­i­tar­i­an mind­sets is absolute­ly cen­tral to the futures envi­sioned by these fas­cist net­works:

...
Talk of an Amer­i­can coup may sound bizarre, but coups are not that weird. They hap­pen in oth­er coun­tries, and in Yarvin’s telling, they’ve even hap­pened in the US, sort of. He argues that Alexan­der Hamil­ton, Abra­ham Lin­coln, and Franklin D. Roo­sevelt each so sweep­ing­ly expand­ed pres­i­den­tial pow­er, cen­tral­iz­ing author­i­ty and estab­lish­ing new depart­ments, that they can be said to have found­ed new regimes.

But Yarvin wants to see some­thing even more dra­mat­ic. In posts such as “Reflec­tions on the late elec­tion” and “The but­ter­fly rev­o­lu­tion,” and pod­cast appear­ances such as those with for­mer Trump offi­cial Michael Anton and writer Bri­an Chau, Yarvin has laid out many spe­cif­ic ideas about how the sys­tem could real­ly be ful­ly top­pled and replaced with some­thing like a cen­tral­ized monar­chy. Some­times he frames this as what Trump should have done in 2020, what he should (but won’t) do in 2024, or what some oth­er can­di­date should do in the future, if they want to seize pow­er. “Trump will nev­er do any­thing like this,” Yarvin wrote. “But I won’t dis­guise my belief that some­one should. Some­one wor­thy of the task, of course.”

It is basi­cal­ly a set of thought exper­i­ments about how to dis­man­tle US democ­ra­cy and its cur­rent sys­tem of gov­ern­ment. Writer John Ganz, review­ing some of Yarvin’s pro­pos­als, con­clud­ed, “If that’s not the prod­uct of a fas­cist imag­i­na­tion, I don’t know what pos­si­bly could be.” Many of these are sim­i­lar to events pre­ced­ing the fall of democ­ra­cies else­where in the world. Again, Yarvin’s promi­nent fans like Vance and Mas­ters wouldn’t ful­ly endorse this pro­gram — Mas­ters told NBC that he would have “a dif­fer­ent pre­scrip­tion” of what to do than Yarvin, and that he believes in the Con­sti­tu­tion — but some aspects of it have caught their inter­est.

Cam­paign on it, and win: First off, the would-be dic­ta­tor should seek a man­date from the peo­ple, by run­ning for pres­i­dent and open­ly cam­paign­ing on the plat­form of, as he put it to Chau, “If I’m elect­ed, I’m gonna assume absolute pow­er in Wash­ing­ton and rebuild the gov­ern­ment.”

The idea here would be not to frame this as destroy­ing the Amer­i­can sys­tem, but rather as improv­ing a bro­ken sys­tem that so many are frus­trat­ed with. Con­gress is unpop­u­lar, the courts are unpop­u­lar, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is unpop­u­lar. Why not just promise to gov­ern as pres­i­dent as you see fit, with­out their inter­fer­ence? And see if peo­ple like that idea?

“You’re not that far from a world in which you can have a can­di­date in 2024, even, maybe,” mak­ing that pledge, Yarvin con­tin­ued. “I think you could get away with it. That’s sort of what peo­ple already thought was hap­pen­ing with Trump,” he said. “To do it for real does not make them much more hys­ter­i­cal, and” — he laughed — “it’s actu­al­ly much more effec­tive!”

It no longer seems clear that vot­ers would reject such a pitch. Trump’s ascen­dan­cy already proves that many Amer­i­can vot­ers are no longer so enam­ored of niceties about the rule of law and civics class pieties about the great­ness of the Amer­i­can sep­a­rat­ed pow­ers sys­tem. Polit­i­cal mes­sag­ing about “threats to democ­ra­cy” has polled poor­ly this year, with vot­ers not par­tic­u­lar­ly engaged by it.
...

And then we get to the Sched­ule F part of Yarv­in’s 2024 Fas­cist Dream cam­paign sce­nario: after run­ning and win­ning on a plat­form of con­sol­i­dat­ing pow­er as a new Cae­sar, Yarvin rec­om­mends a bureau­crat­ic blitzkrieg. Mass fir­ings of fed­er­al work­ers under the ‘Sched­ule F’ plot would hap­pen imme­di­ate­ly, with new enti­ties and agen­cies replac­ing them. It’s a recipe for a mass pri­va­ti­za­tion of the gov­ern­ment. And to pay for it all, the new Cae­sar should have his appointees take over the Fed­er­al Reserve:

...
Purge the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy and cre­ate a new one: Once the new pres­i­den­t/­would-be monarch is elect­ed, Yarvin thinks time is of the essence. “The speed that this hap­pens with has to take everyone’s breath away,” he told Chau. “It should just exe­cute at a rate that total­ly baf­fles its ene­mies.”

Yarvin says the tran­si­tion peri­od before inau­gu­ra­tion should be used to inten­sive­ly study what’s essen­tial for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to do, deter­mine a struc­ture for the new gov­ern­ment, and hire many of its future employ­ees. Then, once in pow­er, it’s time to “Retire All Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees” of the old regime, send­ing them off with nice pen­sions so they won’t make too much of a fuss. To cir­cum­vent Con­gress, the pres­i­dent should have his appointees take over the Fed­er­al Reserve, and direct the Fed on how to fund the new regime.

Talk of fir­ing vast swaths of fed­er­al work­ers is now com­mon on the right. In late 2020, Trump issued an exec­u­tive order called “Sched­ule F” that would reclas­si­fy as many as 50,000 civ­il ser­vants in mid­dle man­age­ment as polit­i­cal appointees who could be fired and replaced by the new pres­i­dent. Noth­ing came of it, and Biden quick­ly revoked it, but Trump’s regime-in-exile is brain­storm­ing what could be done with it in a sec­ond term, as Axios’s Jonathan Swan has report­ed.

To Yarvin, even that is a doomed half-mea­sure. “You should be exe­cut­ing exec­u­tive pow­er from day one in a total­ly emer­gency fash­ion,” he told Anton. “You don’t want to take con­trol of these agen­cies through appoint­ments, you want to defund them. You want them to total­ly cease to exist.” This would of course involve some amount of chaos, but Yarvin hopes that will be brief, and the actu­al­ly essen­tial work of gov­ern­ment would quick­ly be tak­en over by new­ly cre­at­ed bod­ies that could be under the autocrat’s con­trol.
...

The courts would then be demot­ed to an “advi­so­ry” branch of gov­ern­ment and ignored. How believ­able is such a sce­nario? And, don’t for­get that Thiel-backed Ohio Sen­ate can­di­date JD Vance — who won his race — actu­al­ly advo­cat­ed that exact approach for a Trump sec­ond term. Just demote and ignore the courts. That’s appar­ent­ly a main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive idea now:

...
Ignore the courts: The rule of law in Amer­i­ca is based on shared beliefs and behav­iors among many actors through­out the sys­tem, but it has no mag­i­cal pow­er. The courts have no mech­a­nism to actu­al­ly force a pres­i­dent to abide by their wish­es should he defy their rul­ings. Yet, with cer­tain notable excep­tions, they have had an extra­or­di­nary track record at get­ting pres­i­dents to stay in line. Defy­ing the Supreme Court means end­ing the rule of law in the US as it has long been under­stood.

Yarvin has sug­gest­ed just that — that a new pres­i­dent should sim­ply say he has con­clud­ed Mar­bury v. Madi­son — the ear­ly rul­ing in which the Supreme Court great­ly expand­ed its own pow­ers — was wrong­ly decid­ed. He’s also said the new pres­i­dent should declare a state of emer­gency and say he would view Supreme Court rul­ings as mere­ly advi­so­ry.

Would politi­cians back this? J.D. Vance, in the pod­cast men­tioned above, said part of his advice for Trump in his sec­ond term would involve fir­ing vast swaths of fed­er­al employ­ees, “and when the courts stop you, stand before the coun­try like Andrew Jack­son did, and say, ‘The chief jus­tice has made his rul­ing. Now let him enforce it.’”
...

Then we get to the plan to get around the threat of an impeach­ment: stack­ing the GOP with author­i­tar­i­an loy­al­ists who will back the new Cae­sar in every­thing he does. That’s already the sta­tus quo, as Jan 6 and the result­ing endur­ing sup­port for Don­ald Trump amply demon­strates. So we can check off that part of the pow­er-grab ‘to-do’ list:

...
Co-opt Con­gress: One rea­son past pres­i­dents may have been reluc­tant to defy the Supreme Court is that there is one body that can keep them in check — Con­gress, which can impeach and actu­al­ly remove a pres­i­dent from office, and ban him from run­ning again.

...

Yarvin’s idea here is that Trump (or insert future would-be auto­crat here) should cre­ate an app — “the Trump app” — and get his sup­port­ers to sign up for it. Trump should then hand­pick can­di­dates for every con­gres­sion­al and Sen­ate seat whose sole pur­pose would be to ful­ly sup­port him and his agen­da, and use the app to get his vot­ers to vote for them in pri­maries. Trump has been pick­ing pri­ma­ry favorites and had some suc­cess in open seat con­tests, but this would be a far more large-scale, strate­gic, and sys­tem­at­ic effort.
...

What about state and local gov­ern­ments, which will fre­quent­ly be under Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol? Oh, they’ll have to be dis­solved, along with all major uni­ver­si­ties. Poof. Gone. This will pre­sum­ably all fall under the plan of cre­at­ing a sense of ‘shock and awe’ in the open­ing rounds of this coup plot:

...
Cen­tral­ize police and gov­ern­ment pow­ers: Mov­ing for­ward in the state of emer­gency, Yarvin told Anton the new gov­ern­ment should then take “direct con­trol over all law enforce­ment author­i­ties,” fed­er­al­ize the Nation­al Guard, and effec­tive­ly cre­ate a nation­al police force that absorbs local bod­ies. This amounts to estab­lish­ing a cen­tral­ized police state to back the pow­er grab — as auto­crats typ­i­cal­ly do.

Whether this is at all plau­si­ble in the US any­time soon — well, you’ll have to ask the Nation­al Guard and police offi­cers. “You have to be will­ing to say, okay, when we have this regime change, we have a peri­od of tem­po­rary uncer­tain­ty which has to be resolved in an extreme­ly peace­ful way,” he says.

Yarvin also wants his new monarch’s absolute pow­er to be tru­ly absolute, which can’t real­ly hap­pen so long as there are so many inde­pen­dent­ly elect­ed gov­ern­ment pow­er cen­ters in (espe­cial­ly blue) states and cities. So they’ll have to be abol­ished in “almost” all cas­es. This would sure­ly be a tow­er­ing logis­ti­cal chal­lenge and cre­ate a great deal of resis­tance, to put it mild­ly.

Shut down elite media and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions: Now, recall that, accord­ing to Yarvin’s the­o­ries, true pow­er is held by “the Cathe­dral,” so they have to go, too. The new monarch/dictator should order them dis­solved. “You can’t con­tin­ue to have a Har­vard or a New York Times past the start of April,” he told Anton. After that, he says, peo­ple should be allowed to form new asso­ci­a­tions and insti­tu­tions if they want, but the exist­ing Cathe­dral pow­er bases must be torn down.
...

So what should this aspir­ing Cae­sar do in the face of the inevitable pop­u­lar resis­tance to this plot? Orga­nize vig­i­lante mobs in sup­port for the new regime. Some­thing like a “Trump App” that allows the pres­i­dent to issue orders to his sup­port­ers is poten­tial­ly all that would be required. The mob would take care of the rest:

...
Turn out your peo­ple: Final­ly, through­out this process, Yarvin wants to be able to get the new ruler’s sup­port­ers to take to the streets. “You don’t real­ly need an armed force, you need the max­i­mum capac­i­ty to sum­mon demo­c­ra­t­ic pow­er that you can find,” he told Anton. He point­ed to the “Trump app” idea again, which he said could col­lect 80 mil­lion cell num­bers and noti­fy peo­ple to tell them where to go and protest (“peace­ful­ly”) — for instance, they could go to an agency that’s defy­ing the new leader’s instruc­tions, to tell them, “sup­port the law­ful orders of this new law­ful author­i­ty.”

...

“If the insti­tu­tions deny the Pres­i­dent the Con­sti­tu­tion­al posi­tion he has legal­ly won in the elec­tion, the vot­ers will have to act direct­ly,” Yarvin wrote. “Trump will call his peo­ple into the streets—not at the end of his term, when he is most pow­er­less; at the start, when he is most pow­er­ful. No one wants to see this nuclear option hap­pen. Prepar­ing for it and demon­strat­ing the capac­i­ty to exe­cute it will pre­vent it from hav­ing to hap­pen.”
...

It’s worth not­ing that Trump’s “Truth Social” app just got added to the Google app store back in Octo­ber. Will Truth Social be the app-of-choice for orga­niz­ing Trumpian street mobs to ‘keep the peace’ after the bureau­crat­ic blitzkrieg gets under­way in ear­ly 2025? That remains to be seen. But at this point it’s pret­ty obvi­ous that the right-wing social media ecosys­tem is only going to grow head­ing into 2024. It’s also worth not­ing that none oth­er than John McEn­tee has report­ed­ly got­ten into the app-mak­ing busi­ness with Peter Thiel, to make a con­ser­v­a­tive dat­ing app. These are the kinds of details that could because salient when the Sched­ule F blitzkrieg is actu­al­ly put into action. A lot of peo­ple are going to have to be recruit­ed into the gov­ern­ment all of a sud­den. Or recruit­ed into the vig­i­lante street mobs if it comes to that.

Will it come to that? Rov­ing mobs of sup­port­ers get­ting direct­ed around the streets by a pres­i­dent-turned-dic­ta­tor’s social media apps? Let’s hope not, but there’s no deny­ing that such thoughts are in the air. From Cur­tis Yarv­in’s lips to JD Vance’s ears. And Vance obvi­ous­ly isn’t the only high-lev­el Repub­li­can who has been drink­ing Yarv­in’s Kool-Aid. The Repub­li­can Par­ty is in a decid­ed­ly rev­o­lu­tion­ary mood and in no mood to run into the same bureau­crat­ic obsta­cle Trump faced dur­ing his first term. But with the prospects of a Trump-rerun now on the table fol­low­ing Trump’s 2024 cam­paign announce­ment, it isn’t just rev­o­lu­tion in the air. Revenge is on the agen­da. The kind of revenge that will make all of Trump’s ene­mies rue the day they ever thought about cross­ing him. That caul­dron of rage of griev­ance is poised to become the ani­mat­ing force in US pol­i­tics. The errat­ic chaos of Trump’s first term replaced with a more refined and venge­ful chaos of a sec­ond term. A revenge term. And a term defined by all the planned chaos. It’s easy to for­get when read­ing all of these con­ser­v­a­tive sources describ­ing their plans for reorder­ing the nature of the fed­er­al work­force just how wild­ly chaot­ic that whole process would actu­al­ly be if imple­ment­ed. You can’t actu­al­ly mix-and-max exper­tise and skill sets the way these Sched­ule F plot­ters are plan­ning and expect­ing things to run smooth­ly. But smooth run­ning isn’t what they are plan­ning on. Rev­o­lu­tion­ary chaos is the plan. Con­trolled chaos, but chaos. A bureau­crat­ic blitzkrieg so sweep­ing and all encom­pass­ing that the pub­lic can bare­ly wrap its head around what’s going on. Domes­tic shock and awe. Excit­ing and enthralling shock and awe, at least for much of the pub­lic if Cur­tis Yarv­in’s pre­dic­tions on the pop­u­lar­i­ty of plots is at all accu­rate.

That’s the plan, Trump or not. It’s not a secret. It was a secret. One of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s most close­ly held secrets in 2020, as we saw. But not any­more. Those twin giant Axios arti­cles were the Sched­ule F com­ing out par­ty. This is the plan for 2024 and the GOP is open­ly own­ing it. Will Sched­ule F man­age to actu­al­ly make it into the par­ty’s 2024 plat­form? Who knows. That’s assum­ing there’s even a plat­form at all. But as we’ve seen in this post, the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment is thor­ough­ly com­mit­ted to this project, whether or not the GOP offi­cial­ly declares a mass purge of the fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy in the par­ty plat­form. And whether that 2024 nom­i­nee is Trump or not. This isn’t just Trump’s revenge any­more. The mega-donors want this too. The Empire is plan­ning on Strik­ing Back. You don’t find this many CNP mem­bers work­ing on some­thing with­out full buy-in from the GOP estab­lish­ment. Just as you would­n’t have found one CNP-mem­ber after anoth­er work­ing on over­turn­ing the 2020 elec­tion results if that strat­e­gy did­n’t have the thor­ough back­ing of the CNP net­work and mega-donor class. Sched­ule F is the plan for the next Repub­li­can admin­stra­tion. And tens of mil­lions more dol­lars are going to be spent get­ting that mas­sive plan ready to spring into action when the oppor­tu­ni­ty strikes. The only real ques­tion at this point is when they’ll get a chance to imple­ment. Along with the gen­er­al ques­tion of just how much more pop­u­lar will Cur­tis Yarv­in’s world­view get between now and then. Is Yarvin cor­rect that an army of aver­age Amer­i­cans are ready and will­ing to toss away democ­ra­cy for the excite­ment of a Cae­sar? Trump or not, we are on track to get­ting an answer that ques­tion. Again.

Discussion

8 comments for “The (Schedule F) Purge: Trump’s Big Revenge Plan, Brought to You By the Council for National Policy”

  1. Can any­thing be done to stop the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion from imple­ment­ing the Sched­ule F plot? It’s a ques­tion that’s become all the more acute With Trump’s 2024 announce­ment and the GOP’s recap­ture of the House. And as we’re going to see in the fol­low­ing arti­cles, it’s a ques­tion the Democ­rats have been wrest­ing with over the past cou­ple of years since Trump left office and they do have options. Option to impede the abil­i­ty of a GOP pres­i­dent to uni­lat­er­al­ly imple­ment Sched­ule F on their own. But as we’re also going to see, those options are lim­it­ed to stop­ping pres­i­dents from imple­ment­ing Sched­ule F on their own. A Repub­li­can pres­i­dent with a Repub­li­can con­trolled con­gress is anoth­er sto­ry.

    So with only a few months left for the Democ­rats to pass laws, the ques­tion of what they are going to do about Sched­ule F while the oppor­tu­ni­ty is there looms large. And set to loom ever larg­er the clos­er we get to 2024 no mat­ter what the Democ­rats do because as we’re also going to see, the rest of the GOP appears to be ful­ly on board with Sched­ule F. Which means the next GOP pres­i­dent pre­sid­ing over a GOP-con­trolled con­gress isn’t going to have any trou­ble find­ing sup­port for their Sched­ule F impuls­es. And that’s why the Sched­ule F plot is going to remain a loom­ing inevitabil­i­ty no mat­ter what Democ­rats do:

    Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive

    Trump, Who Tried to Weak­en Feds’ Civ­il Ser­vice Pro­tec­tions, Announces 2024 Run
    Pri­or to Tuesday’s announce­ment, the for­mer pres­i­dent endorsed plans to reim­ple­ment Sched­ule F if he returned to the White House.

    Erich Wag­n­er | Novem­ber 16, 2022 04:25 PM ET

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump—who sup­ports a plan to make may fed­er­al work­ers at-will employ­ees and as pres­i­dent signed exec­u­tive orders to make it eas­i­er to fire them and to lim­it the reach of fed­er­al unions—on Tues­day announced that he would again seek the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent in 2024 in an hour-long speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Flori­da.

    ...

    Trump’s term as pres­i­dent was a dif­fi­cult one for the fed­er­al work­force. A series of now-rescind­ed exec­u­tive orders sought to make it eas­i­er to fire fed­er­al employ­ees and reduce the role of unions at fed­er­al agen­cies, and his admin­is­tra­tion tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to dis­band the Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment and send its func­tions to the Gen­er­al Ser­vices Admin­is­tra­tion and the Exec­u­tive Office of the Pres­i­dent.

    Short­ly before the 2020 elec­tion, Trump estab­lished a new job clas­si­fi­ca­tion—Sched­ule F—with­in the except­ed ser­vice and tasked agen­cies with find­ing fed­er­al work­ers in “pol­i­cy-relat­ed” posi­tions to reclas­si­fy into the new cat­e­go­ry. Had Biden not tak­en office in Jan­u­ary 2021 and quick­ly axed the plan, tens of thou­sands of fed­er­al work­ers could have effec­tive­ly become at-will employ­ees.

    Dur­ing the first two years of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, many of Trump’s fed­er­al work­force poli­cies have been revoked, but con­ser­v­a­tive activists have con­tin­ued to work behind the scenes, lay­ing the ground­work to revive those plans in the event Trump or anoth­er Repub­li­can returns to the White House. Last sum­mer, Axios report­ed that some con­ser­v­a­tive groups are work­ing to have Sched­ule F ready to imple­ment imme­di­ate­ly upon a Republican’s inau­gu­ra­tion, and have iden­ti­fied 50,000 fed­er­al work­ers to reclas­si­fy and threat­en with fir­ing.

    Trump him­self endorsed the plan to revive Sched­ule F and purge the civ­il ser­vice of so-called “rogue bureau­crats” at a ral­ly ear­li­er this year and began fundrais­ing on the pro­pos­al short­ly there­after.

    “We need to make it much eas­i­er to fire rogue bureau­crats who are delib­er­ate­ly under­min­ing democ­ra­cy or, at a min­i­mum, just want to keep their jobs,” Trump said in July. “They want to hold onto their jobs. Con­gress should pass his­toric reforms empow­er­ing the pres­i­dent to ensure that any bureau­crat who is cor­rupt, incom­pe­tent or unnec­es­sary for the job can be told—did you ever hear this—‘You’re fired, get out, you’re fired.’ [You] have to do it. Deep state. Wash­ing­ton will be an entire­ly dif­fer­ent place.”

    How­ev­er, the threat of politi­ciz­ing the fed­er­al work­force is not unique to Trump. Since the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion, Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have begun to embrace Sched­ule F, oppos­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic efforts to require con­gres­sion­al autho­riza­tion before a pres­i­dent insti­tutes a new job clas­si­fi­ca­tion in the except­ed ser­vice, and oth­ers have intro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would make fed­er­al work­ers at-will employ­ees.

    With the House like­ly to flip to Repub­li­can con­trol in 2023, the win­dow for law­mak­ers to pass a law pre­vent­ing the return of Sched­ule F is clos­ing. But Sen­ate Democ­rats told Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive in recent weeks that they are opti­mistic that they will be able to include the mea­sure as part of either the annu­al Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act or an omnibus spend­ing pack­age to fund the gov­ern­ment through next Sep­tem­ber.

    ———–

    “Trump, Who Tried to Weak­en Feds’ Civ­il Ser­vice Pro­tec­tions, Announces 2024 Run” by Erich Wag­n­er; Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive; 11/16/2022

    With the House like­ly to flip to Repub­li­can con­trol in 2023, the win­dow for law­mak­ers to pass a law pre­vent­ing the return of Sched­ule F is clos­ing. But Sen­ate Democ­rats told Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive in recent weeks that they are opti­mistic that they will be able to include the mea­sure as part of either the annu­al Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act or an omnibus spend­ing pack­age to fund the gov­ern­ment through next Sep­tem­ber.”

    The win­dow is clos­ing. And as Trump made clear dur­ing a fundrais­ing ral­ly in July when he called for a purge of the civ­il ser­vice of “rogue bureau­crats”, the threat remains. Trump wants his purge and wants to con­tin­ue prepa­ra­tions for Sched­ule F’s imple­men­ta­tion as soon as he’s reelect­ed. Hence the fundrais­er in July at the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (AFPI), which, as we’ve seen, is one of the groups already work­ing towards that goal. Trump’s fundrais­ing pitch was effec­tive­ly a call to donate to the AFPI so in can con­tin­ue its Sched­ule F prepa­ra­tions:

    ...
    Trump him­self endorsed the plan to revive Sched­ule F and purge the civ­il ser­vice of so-called “rogue bureau­crats” at a ral­ly ear­li­er this year and began fundrais­ing on the pro­pos­al short­ly there­after.

    “We need to make it much eas­i­er to fire rogue bureau­crats who are delib­er­ate­ly under­min­ing democ­ra­cy or, at a min­i­mum, just want to keep their jobs,” Trump said in July. “They want to hold onto their jobs. Con­gress should pass his­toric reforms empow­er­ing the pres­i­dent to ensure that any bureau­crat who is cor­rupt, incom­pe­tent or unnec­es­sary for the job can be told—did you ever hear this—‘You’re fired, get out, you’re fired.’ [You] have to do it. Deep state. Wash­ing­ton will be an entire­ly dif­fer­ent place.”

    How­ev­er, the threat of politi­ciz­ing the fed­er­al work­force is not unique to Trump. Since the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion, Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have begun to embrace Sched­ule F, oppos­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic efforts to require con­gres­sion­al autho­riza­tion before a pres­i­dent insti­tutes a new job clas­si­fi­ca­tion in the except­ed ser­vice, and oth­ers have intro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would make fed­er­al work­ers at-will employ­ees.
    ...

    So what are the Democ­rats in con­gress going to do? For starters, the House passed a bill back in Sep­tem­ber that effec­tive forces future pres­i­dents to go to Con­gress for approval before imple­ment­ing Sched­ule F. That bill has yet to be passed by the sen­ate and signed into law but it sounds like­ly that this will hap­pen in the final months of this lame duck con­gress. So it’s some­thing, but the prob­lem is that’s more or less the only thing the Democ­rats can do to pre­vent this. As long as one of the two major par­ties is intent on imple­ment­ing Sched­ule F there isn’t a lot the Democ­rats can do oth­er than win­ning enough elec­tions to pre­vent a repeat of 2017’s com­plete GOP sweep of the White House and Con­gress. And that ‘win­ning strat­e­gy’ of block­ing Repub­li­cans from get­ting a lock on the White House and Con­gress by win­ning elec­tion has to hap­pen indef­i­nite­ly. It’s not a great long-term strat­e­gy giv­en the back-and-forth ‘throw the bums out’ reac­tionary pat­terns of US pol­i­tics:

    Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive

    The House Has Approved a Bill to Pre­vent Future Sched­ules F
    Despite the sup­port of more than 30 good gov­ern­ment groups, Repub­li­cans remained large­ly opposed to the mea­sure.

    Erich Wag­n­er | Sep­tem­ber 15, 2022

    The House on Thurs­day vot­ed 225–204 to pass leg­is­la­tion bar­ring future pres­i­dents from uni­lat­er­al­ly strip­ping fed­er­al work­ers of their civ­il ser­vice pro­tec­tions as for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump tried to do with his abortive estab­lish­ment of Sched­ule F. Six Repub­li­can mem­bers vot­ed in favor of the bill.

    ...

    The Pre­vent­ing a Patron­age Sys­tem Act (H.R. 302), intro­duced by Rep. Ger­ry Con­nol­ly, D‑Va., blocks the pres­i­dent from reim­ple­ment­ing Sched­ule F, or any oth­er new except­ed sched­ule cat­e­go­ry of work­ers, with­out advanced con­gres­sion­al approval. The text of the bill already passed out of the House as part of the chamber’s ver­sion of the fis­cal 2023 Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act in July, and com­pan­ion leg­is­la­tion was intro­duced in the Sen­ate last month.

    The renewed focus on the issue by con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats comes after reports that con­ser­v­a­tive activists and ex-Trump admin­is­tra­tion staffers have plans to imme­di­ate­ly revive Sched­ule F under the next Repub­li­can pres­i­dent and have already iden­ti­fied 50,000 employ­ees to threat­en with ter­mi­na­tion. Trump, who is mulling anoth­er run at the White House, also explic­it­ly endorsed the idea dur­ing a polit­i­cal ral­ly last month.

    The bill has the sup­port of dozens of good gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions and fed­er­al employ­ee groups, includ­ing the Nation­al Active and Retired Fed­er­al Employ­ees Asso­ci­a­tion, the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees, the Nation­al Trea­sury Employ­ees Union, the Senior Exec­u­tives Asso­ci­a­tion, Pro­fes­sion­al Man­agers Asso­ci­a­tion, among oth­ers.

    Dur­ing debate on the House floor, Con­nol­ly said the bill would pre­serve both the fed­er­al workforce’s cen­tu­ry-old mer­it sys­tem pro­tec­tions and reassert Con­gress’ author­i­ty as the mak­er of fed­er­al per­son­nel pol­i­cy.

    “This bill does not pre­clude the pres­i­dent request­ing to cre­ate a new job clas­si­fi­ca­tion, but it does require [a request to Con­gress],” he said. “It restores the bal­ance . . . Chang­ing the nature of the civ­il ser­vice is rare and impor­tant, and it should require express con­gres­sion­al par­tic­i­pa­tion through leg­is­la­tion.”

    Rep. James Com­er, R‑Ky., accused Democ­rats of want­i­ng to entrench “bureau­crats” who are hos­tile to Repub­li­can poli­cies and that Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-area sup­port Connolly’s leg­is­la­tion because of the large num­bers of fed­er­al employ­ees in their dis­trict.

    “This bureau­cra­cy gets big­ger every Con­gress,” he said. “I’ve noticed that with the excep­tion of one speak­er, all of the speak­ers on the oth­er side of the aisle rep­re­sent the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., fed­er­al bureau­cra­cy work­force, but the major­i­ty of Con­gress, we rep­re­sent Amer­i­ca. Amer­i­cans want to hold poor per­form­ing gov­ern­ment employ­ees, the bureau­crats who are paid with our hard earned tax dol­lars, account­able.”

    ...

    ——–

    “The House Has Approved a Bill to Pre­vent Future Sched­ules F” by Erich Wag­n­er; Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive; 09/15/2022

    “The House on Thurs­day vot­ed 225–204 to pass leg­is­la­tion bar­ring future pres­i­dents from uni­lat­er­al­ly strip­ping fed­er­al work­ers of their civ­il ser­vice pro­tec­tions as for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump tried to do with his abortive estab­lish­ment of Sched­ule F. Six Repub­li­can mem­bers vot­ed in favor of the bill.

    It was­n’t a par­ty-line vote. But it almost was. A whole six Repub­li­cans vot­ed for the bill. It’s a big clue as to what to expect the next time Repub­li­cans have con­trol of con­gress. And that’s why the ques­tion of whether or not this bill pass­es in the Sen­ate and is signed into law is cer­tain­ly an impor­tant ques­tion but even if it hap­pens the the Sched­ule F threat does­n’t go away. It just requires GOP con­trols of con­gress in addi­tion to the White House. Yes, the bar­ri­er is high­er, but it’s also a bar­ri­er pret­ty rou­tine­ly over­come in US pol­i­tics as was the case in 2017 fol­low­ing Trump’s big win. As long as the GOP con­gres­sion­al cau­cus is on board with the Sched­ule F plot it’s just a mat­ter of time.

    And as the fol­low­ing sto­ry from back in July about the GOP’s big plans for Sched­ule F makes clear, Sched­ule F has the back­ing of the GOP cau­cus. They’ve already pro­posed a bill to imple­ment the Sched­ule F plot. A bill with the added effect of neu­ter­ing the exist­ing fed­er­al whistle­blow­er laws:

    Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive

    ‘There Needs to Be a Reck­on­ing’: Repub­li­cans Intro­duce a Bill to Make Feds At-Will Employ­ees
    The leg­is­la­tion, along with recent talk of a renewed effort to imple­ment Sched­ule F, makes clear that a “major assault” on the fed­er­al civ­il ser­vice is com­ing, regard­less of who the next Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee will be.

    Erich Wag­n­er
    July 29, 2022

    A group of five con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­cans has intro­duced leg­is­la­tion to make the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment an at-will employ­er, evis­cer­at­ing civ­il ser­vice pro­tec­tions, chill­ing whistle­blow­er activ­i­ty and abol­ish­ing the Mer­it Sys­tems Pro­tec­tion Board.

    Reps. Chip Roy, R‑Texas, Mary Miller, R‑Ill., Troy Nehls, R‑Texas, Bob Good, R‑Va., and Lau­ren Boe­bert, R‑Colo., on Thurs­day intro­duced the Pub­lic Ser­vice Reform Act (H.R. 8550), which would make fed­er­al work­ers at-will employ­ees and strip them of many of the avenues cur­rent­ly at their dis­pos­al to appeal adverse per­son­nel actions. It would abol­ish the MSPB, send­ing all com­plaints of whistle­blow­er retal­i­a­tion to the Office of Spe­cial Coun­sel, albeit only for 14 days, after which all appeals would go direct­ly to fed­er­al appel­late courts.

    “Most career civ­il ser­vants do their jobs faith­ful­ly day in and day out, but there are still too many fed­er­al employ­ees active­ly under­min­ing Amer­i­ca through their bla­tant con­tempt for our nation, the rule of law, and the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Roy said in a state­ment. “That is because poli­cies meant to insu­late the gov­ern­ment from pol­i­tics have instead cre­at­ed a dense web of red tape that rewards lazi­ness and non­com­pli­ance and enables hos­tile par­ti­sans to entrench them­selves with­in fed­er­al agen­cies. For­mer Pres­i­dent Trump is absolute­ly right about this: there needs to be a reck­on­ing, and bureau­crats actu­al­ly need to be fire­able.”

    Although the bill stands near­ly zero chance of pass­ing in the cur­rent Con­gress, experts say that it, com­bined with recent news that con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal oper­a­tives with Trump’s endorse­ment have devised plans to revive Sched­ule F, a pro­pos­al to strip the civ­il ser­vice pro­tec­tions from tens of thou­sands of fed­er­al employ­ees in “pol­i­cy-relat­ed” posi­tions, indi­cates the civ­il ser­vice sys­tem as we have known it for the last 150 years will be under attack under the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion.

    “This is obvi­ous­ly a huge and major change, an effort to gear up a major assault on the fed­er­al employ­ment sys­tem,” said Don Ket­tl, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus and for­mer dean of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy. “This is being helped and aid­ed unques­tion­ably by a set of groups like Amer­i­ca First Works, Her­itage Action for Amer­i­ca, Free­dom­Works and Cit­i­zens for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca, who have endorsed the bill . . . Much of the debate has large­ly been about if Trump is reelect­ed, but what this makes clear is the efforts to try to change the civ­il ser­vice aren’t just Trump nec­es­sar­i­ly, and if Repub­li­cans take con­trol of Con­gress fol­low­ing the midterms, this may very well go from idea to spe­cif­ic action.”

    Under the bill, the only way a fed­er­al employ­ee would be able to fight their ter­mi­na­tion aside from through the Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Commission—in instances of discrimination—or OSC and the judi­cia­ry if they are whistle­blow­ers is by appeal­ing to the very man­ag­er who has pro­posed fir­ing them. Only an agency head has the pow­er to over­rule the offi­cial who has pro­posed fir­ing some­one.

    Roy said in a state­ment that his bill pre­serves pro­tec­tions against dis­crim­i­na­tion and whistle­blow­er retal­i­a­tion. But in the case of dis­crim­i­na­tion, EEOC would be required to toss all of its poli­cies regard­ing com­plaints that orig­i­nate from fed­er­al agen­cies and apply the same stan­dards it uses in pri­vate sec­tor cas­es.

    ...

    How­ev­er, the bill’s pur­port­ed whistle­blow­er pro­tec­tions sug­gest just the oppo­site, Ket­tl said. OSC only has a 14-day win­dow in which to make non­bind­ing rec­om­men­da­tions on whether an adverse per­son­nel action con­sti­tutes retal­i­a­tion. Anoth­er pro­vi­sion requires the deduc­tion of 25% of a fed­er­al employee’s retire­ment annu­ity if a court finds their appeal to be “in bad faith or friv­o­lous.”

    “This dra­mat­i­cal­ly lim­its the amount of whistle­blow­ing activ­i­ty that’s pos­si­ble,” he said. “Going to court is extreme­ly expen­sive and time con­sum­ing. In addi­tion, it cre­ates a dis­in­cen­tive to blow the whis­tle because your retire­ment ben­e­fits could be reduced. When you put it togeth­er, it’s a very big deal. It would dra­mat­i­cal­ly change the incen­tives for indi­vid­u­als who are being dis­missed because of whistle­blow­ing.”

    ————-

    “ ‘There Needs to Be a Reck­on­ing’: Repub­li­cans Intro­duce a Bill to Make Feds At-Will Employ­ees” by Erich Wag­n­er; Gov­ern­ment Exec­u­tive; 07/20/2022

    “Although the bill stands near­ly zero chance of pass­ing in the cur­rent Con­gress, experts say that it, com­bined with recent news that con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal oper­a­tives with Trump’s endorse­ment have devised plans to revive Sched­ule F, a pro­pos­al to strip the civ­il ser­vice pro­tec­tions from tens of thou­sands of fed­er­al employ­ees in “pol­i­cy-relat­ed” posi­tions, indi­cates the civ­il ser­vice sys­tem as we have known it for the last 150 years will be under attack under the next Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion.”

    Yes, while the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion has no chance of becom­ing law any time soon, it’s a strong indi­ca­tion of what to expect at the next oppor­tu­ni­ty. Chip Roy, one of the leg­is­la­tion’s co-spon­sors, made clear the under­ly­ing nar­ra­tive the GOP is plan­ning on using: “there are still too many fed­er­al employ­ees active­ly under­min­ing Amer­i­ca through their bla­tant con­tempt for our nation, the rule of law, and the Amer­i­can peo­ple” and “there needs to be a reck­on­ing.” That’s the nar­ra­tive they’re going with:

    ...
    “Most career civ­il ser­vants do their jobs faith­ful­ly day in and day out, but there are still too many fed­er­al employ­ees active­ly under­min­ing Amer­i­ca through their bla­tant con­tempt for our nation, the rule of law, and the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Roy said in a state­ment. “That is because poli­cies meant to insu­late the gov­ern­ment from pol­i­tics have instead cre­at­ed a dense web of red tape that rewards lazi­ness and non­com­pli­ance and enables hos­tile par­ti­sans to entrench them­selves with­in fed­er­al agen­cies. For­mer Pres­i­dent Trump is absolute­ly right about this: there needs to be a reck­on­ing, and bureau­crats actu­al­ly need to be fire­able.”
    ...

    And note the now-famil­iar groups help­ing the GOP craft this leg­is­la­tion: Her­itage Action for Amer­i­ca and Cit­i­zens for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA). Along with anoth­er “Amer­i­can First” group and the Koch-backed Free­dom­Works:

    ...
    “This is obvi­ous­ly a huge and major change, an effort to gear up a major assault on the fed­er­al employ­ment sys­tem,” said Don Ket­tl, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus and for­mer dean of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy. “This is being helped and aid­ed unques­tion­ably by a set of groups like Amer­i­ca First Works, Her­itage Action for Amer­i­ca, Free­dom­Works and Cit­i­zens for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca, who have endorsed the bill . . . Much of the debate has large­ly been about if Trump is reelect­ed, but what this makes clear is the efforts to try to change the civ­il ser­vice aren’t just Trump nec­es­sar­i­ly, and if Repub­li­cans take con­trol of Con­gress fol­low­ing the midterms, this may very well go from idea to spe­cif­ic action.”
    ...

    Final­ly, there’s the ero­sion of exist­ing whistle­blow­er pro­tec­tions that comes with this leg­isla­tive ‘reck­on­ing’. Because if you’re going to engage in a mass ide­o­log­i­cal purge you had bet­ter pre­pare for whistle­blow­ers:

    ...
    Under the bill, the only way a fed­er­al employ­ee would be able to fight their ter­mi­na­tion aside from through the Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Commission—in instances of discrimination—or OSC and the judi­cia­ry if they are whistle­blow­ers is by appeal­ing to the very man­ag­er who has pro­posed fir­ing them. Only an agency head has the pow­er to over­rule the offi­cial who has pro­posed fir­ing some­one.

    Roy said in a state­ment that his bill pre­serves pro­tec­tions against dis­crim­i­na­tion and whistle­blow­er retal­i­a­tion. But in the case of dis­crim­i­na­tion, EEOC would be required to toss all of its poli­cies regard­ing com­plaints that orig­i­nate from fed­er­al agen­cies and apply the same stan­dards it uses in pri­vate sec­tor cas­es.

    ...

    How­ev­er, the bill’s pur­port­ed whistle­blow­er pro­tec­tions sug­gest just the oppo­site, Ket­tl said. OSC only has a 14-day win­dow in which to make non­bind­ing rec­om­men­da­tions on whether an adverse per­son­nel action con­sti­tutes retal­i­a­tion. Anoth­er pro­vi­sion requires the deduc­tion of 25% of a fed­er­al employee’s retire­ment annu­ity if a court finds their appeal to be “in bad faith or friv­o­lous.”

    “This dra­mat­i­cal­ly lim­its the amount of whistle­blow­ing activ­i­ty that’s pos­si­ble,” he said. “Going to court is extreme­ly expen­sive and time con­sum­ing. In addi­tion, it cre­ates a dis­in­cen­tive to blow the whis­tle because your retire­ment ben­e­fits could be reduced. When you put it togeth­er, it’s a very big deal. It would dra­mat­i­cal­ly change the incen­tives for indi­vid­u­als who are being dis­missed because of whistle­blow­ing.”
    ...

    And let’s not for­get the the whole point of the Sched­ule F plot is to get peo­ple put in place who will imple­ment the next Repub­li­can pres­i­den­t’s agen­da regard­less of the agen­da’s legal­i­ty or con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty. In oth­er words, the post-Sched­ule F plot is a a recipe for wide­spread whistle­blow­ing. Whistle­blow­ing that will come with the risk of lost retire­ment funds once the GOP purge is inevitably exe­cut­ed. It’s just more glar­ing detail warn­ing us about the obvi­ous real­i­ty that the whole Sched­ule F plot is real­ly just the open­ing act.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 20, 2022, 5:57 pm
  2. It looks like Don­ald Trump’s 2024 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is get­ting off to a fit­ting start. The for­mer pres­i­dent is already hav­ing to explain away a din­ner par­ty he host­ed at Mar-a-Lago with Kanye “Ye” West and open white suprema­cist Nick Fuentes. Even Steve Ban­non is decry­ing the din­ner, call­ing it a “trolling oper­a­tion” that was intend­ed to “insult Trump,” “put Trump in his place,” and make it seem as though the for­mer pres­i­dent “lacks judg­ment.” In oth­er words, Ban­non is char­ac­ter­iz­ing Trump as the vic­tim here. A vic­tim of a far right plot to dis­cred­it Trump that through his far right asso­ci­a­tions.

    What is Trump’s excuse for the meet­ing? Well, he has already attempt­ed to claim that Fuentes was just one of West­’s guests who Trump did­n’t know. Of course, as we’ve seen, this was far from the only time Nick Fuentes has popped up in Trump’s orbit. Recall how Fuentes had been pop­u­lar­iz­ing the idea dur­ing Trump’s term that if the GOP doesn’t do every­thing pos­si­ble to keep Trump in office, the pro-Trump sup­port­ers are going to “destroy the GOP”. It was at the Decem­ber 12 ral­ly, where Fuentes declared, “In the first Mil­lion MAGA march we promised that if the GOP did not do every­thing in their pow­er to keep Trump in office, then we would destroy the GOP...As we gath­er here in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. for a sec­ond Mil­lion MAGA March, we’re done mak­ing promis­es. It has to hap­pen now. We are going to destroy the GOP.” The crowd fol­lowed Fuentes’s lead and start­ed chant­i­ng: “Destroy the GOP! Destroy the GOP!” This was the same ral­ly that include mul­ti­ple fly­overs by Trump in Marine One. And in the peri­od fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion, Fuentes was pub­licly rumi­nat­ing about killing state leg­is­la­tors who don’t sup­port efforts to over­turn the elec­tion for Trump. Final­ly, recall how, four days before the Decem­ber 12, 2020, “Destroy the GOP!” ral­ly, Fuentes received hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars worth of Bit­coin dona­tions from a slew of far right groups dur­ing this same post-2020 elec­tion peri­od. So beyond being a major white suprema­cist online per­son­al­i­ty, Fuentes was also a key far right orga­ni­za­tion­al fig­ure in the pro-Trump move­ment that cul­mi­nat­ed in the Jan­u­ary 6 storm­ing of the Capi­tol.

    And as we’re going to see in the fol­low­ing Axios arti­cle, Trump report­ed­ly “seemed very tak­en” with Fuentes, and was impressed Fuentes’s abil­i­ty to rat­tle off sta­tis­tics and recall speech­es dat­ing back to his 2016 cam­paign. Fuentes also coun­seled Trump about the impor­tance of seem­ing “authen­tic”, warn­ing Trump that his 2024 reelec­tion cam­paign speech did­n’t have the same authen­tic feel. Trump respond­ed, “You like it bet­ter when I just speak off the cuff,” accord­ing to an unnamed source. Fuentes agreed, call­ing Trump an “amaz­ing” pres­i­dent when he was unre­strained. “There was a lot of fawn­ing back and forth,” accord­ing to the source. Mutu­al fawn­ing. That’s what was actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing. So when Steve Ban­non tries to dis­miss Trump’s Mar-a-Lago din­ner par­ty with Fuentes as a “trolling oper­a­tion”, that may have been an iron­i­cal­ly accu­rate label. Hold­ing this mutu­al fawn­ing ses­sion, let­ting it come out in pub­lic, and then pass­ing it all off as an ‘oop­sy’ real­ly is an epic troll. With Trump and Fuentes as co-troll mas­ters, and Ban­non play­ing a sup­port­ing role. At least we have an answer to the ques­tion of whether or not Trump is plan­ning on run­ning as a Nazi-friend­ly can­di­date again. He’s friend­ly and fawn­ing. And already trolling the world about it.

    But was mutu­al fawn­ing and trolling the only pur­pose for the din­ner par­ty? Per­haps, but with the Sched­ule F plot loom­ing large as part of Trump’s sec­ond term agen­da, it’s worth not­ing that Nick Fuentes isn’t very far removed from that exact Sched­ule F plot. As we already saw, the two key GOP Sen­ate can­di­dates heav­i­ly backed by Peter Thiel — JD Vance and Blake Mas­ters — both have a his­to­ry of talk­ing favor­ably of Cur­tis Yarvin, the pro-monar­chy chief intel­lec­tu­al archi­tect of the ‘neo­re­ac­tionary’ move­ment that blos­somed into the ‘Alt Right’. That includes talk­ing favor­ably of Yarv­in’s schemes that involve mass fir­ing all fed­er­al gov­ern­ment employ­ees. Yarvin even coined a term for his ver­sion of Sched­ule F back in 2012: Retire All Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees (RAGE). It was Step 1 in Yarv­in’s guide to over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment and installing a monar­chy. And as Van­i­ty Fair report­ed back in April, Mas­ters made a ref­er­ence to Yarv­in’s “RAGE” acronym — when asked how he was plan­ning on ‘drain­ing the swamp’ dur­ing a cam­paign event. Vance and Mas­ters both can’t stop mak­ing ref­er­ences to Yarvin.

    And Yarvin obvi­ous­ly isn’t the only far right extrem­ist these guys are acquaint­ed with. As the Van­i­ty Fair arti­cle excerpt from August describes, Blake Mas­ters has anoth­er Nazi prob­lem: they just won’t stop endors­ing him. Like Andrew Anglin, who gave Mas­ters a gush­ing endorse­ment. Or Andrew Tor­ba, the CEO of Gab who endorsed Mas­ters only to have Mas­ters claim he did­n’t know him and Tor­ba was a nobody, caus­ing Tor­ba to release an audio file of a con­ver­sa­tion between the two. Or Nick Fuentes, who declared, “Today is the big day—Vote for…Blake Mas­ters in AZ!” and implored his fol­low­ers to “turn out in large num­bers for Amer­i­ca First, Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ist can­di­dates,” on the August 2 pri­maries.

    So when we see Trump play­ing foot­sie with a promi­nent Nazi social media influ­encer days after launch­ing his cam­paign that has a Sched­ule F mass purge as the already declared ‘Step 1’ for the start of his sec­ond term, it’s worth ask­ing: is Nick Fuentes — who knows A LOT of Nazis and fel­low trav­el­ers — going to be play­ing a staffing role in the next Trummp admin­is­tra­tion? Trump does­n’t just want any­one to fill all gov­ern­ment jobs. He wants loy­al­ist with no bound­aries or qualms. Tens of that that thou­sands or more.

    And don’t for­get about Yarv­in’s next steps in the plan to over­throw democ­ra­cy and install a pop­u­lar dic­ta­tor: have the new president/dictator direct street mobs of fol­low­ers around with phone apps to help main­tain order. It’s hard to think of some­one more use­ful for that than Nick Fuentes, an lit­er­al neo-Nazi social media star with a dai­ly fol­low­ing. Trump is clear­ly plan­ning on once again cam­paign­ing as an out­sider ready to storm into DC again and ‘drain the swamp’ for real this time. He’ll cross lines that peo­ple say should­n’t be crossed, again. And this time he’s not going to leave any lines uncrossed. That’s what Trump appears to be plan­ning on cam­paign­ing on for the next two years. And he’s going to need a lot of mus­cle will­ing to play a Brown Shirts role. That’s part of the con­text of the high­ly con­spic­u­ous din­ner with with Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago. Sched­ule F+ needs Nazi mus­cle and Nick Fuentes can pro­vide a lot of it:

    Axios

    Trump talks with white nation­al­ist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago din­ner

    Jonathan Swan & Zachary Basu

    Nov 25, 2022
    Updat­ed Nov 26, 2022 — Pol­i­tics & Pol­i­cy

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Trump dined and con­versed with white nation­al­ist Nick Fuentes and rap­per Ye, for­mer­ly known as Kanye West, at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tues­day night, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    Why it mat­ters: Trump’s direct engage­ment with a man labeled a “white suprema­cist” by the Jus­tice Depart­ment, one week after declar­ing his 2024 can­di­da­cy, is like­ly to draw renewed out­rage over the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s embrace of extrem­ists.

    * Fuentes, who fre­quent­ly pro­motes racist and anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, had been spot­ted with Ye at Mar-a-Lago, but reports erro­neous­ly sug­gest­ed he did not have din­ner with the for­mer pres­i­dent.

    What they’re say­ing: “Kanye West very much want­ed to vis­it Mar-a-Lago. Our din­ner meet­ing was intend­ed to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had nev­er met and knew noth­ing about,” Trump said in a state­ment.

    ...

    Behind the scenes: A source famil­iar with the din­ner con­ver­sa­tion told Axios that Trump “seemed very tak­en” with Fuentes, impressed that the 24-year-old was able to rat­tle off sta­tis­tics and recall speech­es dat­ing back to his 2016 cam­paign.

    * Para­phras­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, the source said Fuentes told the pres­i­dent he pre­ferred him to be “authen­tic,” and that Trump seemed script­ed and unlike him­self dur­ing his recent 2024 cam­paign announce­ment speech.
    * Trump respond­ed, “You like it bet­ter when I just speak off the cuff,” the source said. Fuentes replied that he did, call­ing Trump an “amaz­ing” pres­i­dent when he was unre­strained. “There was a lot of fawn­ing back and forth,” the source added.

    Fuentes told Trump that he rep­re­sent­ed a side of Trump’s base that was dis­ap­point­ed with his new­ly cau­tious approach, espe­cial­ly with what some far-right activists view as a lack of sup­port for those charged in the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack.

    * Trump did­n’t dis­agree with Fuentes, but said he has advis­ers who want him to read off teleprompters and be more “pres­i­den­tial.” Notably, Trump referred to him­self as a politi­cian, which he has been loathe to do in the past.
    * Fuentes also told Trump that he would crush poten­tial 2024 Repub­li­can rivals in a pri­ma­ry, includ­ing Flori­da Gov. Ron DeSan­tis. Trump asked for Fuentes’ opin­ion on oth­er can­di­dates as well.

    Trump at one point turned to Ye and said, “I real­ly like this guy. He gets me,” accord­ing to the source.

    “To be hon­est, I don’t believe the pres­i­dent knew who the hell [Fuentes] was,” the source added.

    Trump asked if Fuentes was on social media such as Truth Social, the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s alter­na­tive to Twit­ter.

    * Fuentes told Trump that he was on Truth Social but had been banned from the social media plat­form Get­tr because Trump advis­er Jason Miller, the CEO of the com­pa­ny, was­n’t a fan of his.
    * Trump asked whether it was because Fuentes was on the “fringe” of his sup­port­er base, the source said. Fuentes acknowl­edged that he was, say­ing he’s “one of those peo­ple who got banned from every­thing.”

    Dri­ving the news: Ye, whose Twit­ter account was recent­ly restored after being restrict­ed for anti-Semit­ic com­ments, post­ed a video on Thurs­day night titled “Mar-a-Lago debrief.”

    * Ye claims in the video that Trump was “real­ly impressed” with Fuentes because “unlike so many of the lawyers and so many peo­ple that he was left with on his 2020 cam­paign, he’s actu­al­ly a loy­al­ist.”
    * A source famil­iar with the con­ver­sa­tion told Axios Trump took a phone call dur­ing the din­ner, and his demeanor toward Ye seemed to change when he got off the call. Trump made some nasty com­ments about Ye’s ex-wife, Kim Kar­dashi­an, and told the rap­per to pass them on.
    * Ye, who has lost major spon­sor­ships over his anti-Semi­tism and recent far-right asso­ci­a­tions, has said he wants to run for pres­i­dent in 2024. The rap­per claims Trump start­ed “scream­ing” at him at the din­ner and told him he would lose — “most per­turbed” by Ye ask­ing Trump to be his run­ning mate.

    Between the lines: The Dai­ly Beast report­ed Wednes­day that Fuentes was not present at the Mar-a-Lago din­ner with Ye, cit­ing a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    * Ye tweet­ed out a screen­shot of a group text with Fuentes on Thurs­day night in which a cen­sored par­tic­i­pant accus­es a Trump advis­er of being the source for the Dai­ly Beast sto­ry.
    * Dis­graced far-right com­men­ta­tor Milo Yiannopou­los, who appears with Ye in his “Mar-a-Lago debrief” video, is also in the “YE24” group chat.

    Flash­back: Truth Social, Trump’s social media plat­form, sparked back­lash by ver­i­fy­ing Fuentes’ account in Feb­ru­ary.

    ...

    ———

    “Trump talks with white nation­al­ist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago din­ner” by Jonathan Swan & Zachary Basu; Axios; 11/26/2022

    “Fuentes told Trump that he rep­re­sent­ed a side of Trump’s base that was dis­ap­point­ed with his new­ly cau­tious approach, espe­cial­ly with what some far-right activists view as a lack of sup­port for those charged in the Jan. 6 Capi­tol attack.”

    It was a one-man Nazi focus group. Nick Fuentes was there rep­re­sent­ing “a side of Trump’s base”. And it sounds like this side includes a lot of peo­ple fac­ing legal con­se­quences over Jan 6. But while it sounds like Fuentes was there deliv­er­ing crit­i­cism, it sounds like that crit­i­cism was drowned out by all the mutu­al fawn­ing:

    ...
    Behind the scenes: A source famil­iar with the din­ner con­ver­sa­tion told Axios that Trump “seemed very tak­en” with Fuentes, impressed that the 24-year-old was able to rat­tle off sta­tis­tics and recall speech­es dat­ing back to his 2016 cam­paign.

    * Para­phras­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, the source said Fuentes told the pres­i­dent he pre­ferred him to be “authen­tic,” and that Trump seemed script­ed and unlike him­self dur­ing his recent 2024 cam­paign announce­ment speech.
    * Trump respond­ed, “You like it bet­ter when I just speak off the cuff,” the source said. Fuentes replied that he did, call­ing Trump an “amaz­ing” pres­i­dent when he was unre­strained. “There was a lot of fawn­ing back and forth,” the source added.
    ...

    And note the Truth Social sto­ry from Feb­ru­ary of this year that Trump should know Fuentes from: Truth Social was get­ting slammed in the press for ver­i­fy­ing Fuentes’s account, which is still active:

    ...
    “To be hon­est, I don’t believe the pres­i­dent knew who the hell [Fuentes] was,” the source added.

    Trump asked if Fuentes was on social media such as Truth Social, the for­mer pres­i­den­t’s alter­na­tive to Twit­ter.

    * Fuentes told Trump that he was on Truth Social but had been banned from the social media plat­form Get­tr because Trump advis­er Jason Miller, the CEO of the com­pa­ny, was­n’t a fan of his.
    * Trump asked whether it was because Fuentes was on the “fringe” of his sup­port­er base, the source said. Fuentes acknowl­edged that he was, say­ing he’s “one of those peo­ple who got banned from every­thing.”

    ...

    Flash­back: Truth Social, Trump’s social media plat­form, sparked back­lash by ver­i­fy­ing Fuentes’ account in Feb­ru­ary.
    ...

    What else did they dis­cuss at that din­ner? Will there be more such semi-secret din­ners? We’ll see, maybe. But whether or not we hear about anoth­er such din­ner, we can be pret­ty con­fi­dent this chan­nel of com­mu­ni­ca­tion will remain open going into 2024. And not just open with Trump. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle about Blake Mas­ters and his die hard Alt Right fan base who claim him as one of their own, Nick Fuentes and oth­er ‘Alt Right’ fig­ures are still very keen on mak­ing fur­ther inroads into the GOP ‘main­stream’ and that impulse is only going to surge as the pri­maries play out

    Van­i­ty Fair

    White Extrem­ists Have Found Their Guy for the Sen­ate: Blake Mas­ters

    Arizona’s Repub­li­can Sen­ate nom­i­nee, Blake Mas­ters, has been adopt­ed by far-right online cir­cles, but now that the Peter Thiel pro­tégé is in a heat­ed gen­er­al elec­tion, it looks like he’s try­ing to brush off those ties.

    By Caleb Ecar­ma
    August 16, 2022

    In Blake Mas­ters, white extrem­ists feel that they may soon have an ally in the Sen­ate. The 36-year-old ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, who is the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee in Arizona’s key Sen­ate race, has earned sup­port from far-right fig­ures by refus­ing to shy away from con­tro­ver­sy through­out his cam­paign. He has claimed that “Black peo­ple” are to blame for America’s “gun vio­lence prob­lem”; praised the writ­ings of Ted Kaczyn­s­ki, a domes­tic ter­ror­ist who has become a cult hero among the young and very online por­tion of the far right; and embraced the rhetoric of “the great replace­ment,” a the­o­ry cham­pi­oned by white nation­al­ists who accuse Democ­rats of replac­ing white Amer­i­cans via an “inva­sion” of immi­grants from non-white coun­tries. (Though Mas­ters did con­demn the bomb­ings car­ried out by Kaczyn­s­ki, he not­ed that he sup­ports the Unabomber’s writ­ings on the neg­a­tive social effects of mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy.)

    Among the influ­en­tial white-extrem­ist fig­ures who have tak­en a lik­ing to Mas­ters is Andrew Anglin, the founder of the neo-Nazi Dai­ly Stormer blog. Anglin endorsed Mas­ters in a June post, writ­ing, “I can­not give a more force­ful endorse­ment, and I demand that any­one in Ari­zona (who is not some kind of known neo-Nazi or what­ev­er) get in con­tact with his cam­paign and see what kind of help he needs.” He added that the can­di­date was only “get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.”

    On the morn­ing of the August 2 pri­ma­ry, Nick Fuentes, a well-known white nation­al­ist livestream­er who attend­ed the dead­ly Unite the Right ral­ly in 2017, issued the fol­low­ing reminder to his Telegram fol­low­ers: “Today is the big day—Vote for…Blake Mas­ters in AZ!” Fuentes pre­vi­ous­ly endorsed Mas­ters while encour­ag­ing his fans to “turn out in large num­bers for Amer­i­ca First, Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ist can­di­dates.” Like­wise, Scott Greer, a for­mer Dai­ly Caller edi­tor who has writ­ten for a white suprema­cist web­site, sig­naled his sup­port for Mas­ters dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, tweet­ing, “blaKEYED masters”—“KEYED” being a syn­onym for “based,” the far right’s favorite term of endearment—in response to an attack ad por­tray­ing Mas­ters as anti-Semit­ic.

    Jack Poso­biec, a pro­po­nent of the Piz­za­gate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry who has a track record of mak­ing anti-Semit­ic remarks, post­ed a pho­to last year from a fundrais­er held by Mas­ters and Don­ald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. His sup­port of Mas­ters has car­ried into the gen­er­al elec­tion, as Masters’s offi­cial press account on Twit­ter retweet­ed a Poso­biec post on Sun­day pro­mot­ing the candidate’s ral­ly with Ron DeSan­tis. (The Mas­ters cam­paign did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment.)

    Mas­ters, for his part, has attempt­ed to dis­tance him­self from one of the more unsa­vory far-right char­ac­ters who latched on to his cam­paign dur­ing the con­tentious pri­ma­ry. Sev­er­al days after Mas­ters was endorsed by Andrew Tor­ba, the CEO of the far-right social media site Gab, he stat­ed that he was pre­vi­ous­ly unaware of Tor­ba, call­ing him a “nobody” whom “nobody cares about.” But Tor­ba, who once declared that he’d pre­fer to see Mas­ters in the White House over Trump, failed to appre­ci­ate Masters’s tac­ti­cal retreat, insist­ing that the two had com­mu­ni­cat­ed in the past. “Blake Mas­ters knows exact­ly who I am. We had a long con­ver­sa­tion on Twit­ter Spaces live a few months ago. Mega cringe cuck­ing here, but what­ev­er, I still want him to win for the great peo­ple of Ari­zona and for the right to con­trol the Sen­ate,” he wrote in a since-delet­ed Gab post ear­li­er this month. Torba’s claim was con­firmed last week after Jew­ish Insid­er pub­lished a clip of the two con­vers­ing in a Twit­ter audio chat. In the record­ing, Mas­ters can be heard telling Tor­ba that he will “check out” Gab, adding, “I mean, I’ve nev­er used [Gab]. I’m def­i­nite­ly not anti—I think I’m on Get­tr.” (A Mas­ters cam­paign advis­er reit­er­at­ed to Jew­ish Insid­er that Mas­ters “doesn’t know Tor­ba and rejects his sup­port.”)

    Among the most unortho­dox Sen­ate can­di­dates run­ning this cycle, Mas­ters lacks the polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence, celebri­ty name ID, and per­son­al wealth that are typ­i­cal­ly need­ed to run a suc­cess­ful Sen­ate cam­paign. But he spent much of his adult life work­ing for tech bil­lion­aire Peter Thiel, who has spent at least $15 mil­lion to boost a pro-Mas­ters super PAC. Masters’s oth­er allies include mem­bers of the so-called New Right, a loose move­ment made up of nation­al­ists who despise big tech and free trade, includ­ing Tuck­er Carl­son, blog­ger Cur­tis Yarvin, and J.D. Vance, anoth­er Thiel-backed Sen­ate hope­ful.

    ...

    ———–

    “White Extrem­ists Have Found Their Guy for the Sen­ate: Blake Mas­ters” By Caleb Ecar­ma; Van­i­ty Fair; 08/16/2022

    On the morn­ing of the August 2 pri­ma­ry, Nick Fuentes, a well-known white nation­al­ist livestream­er who attend­ed the dead­ly Unite the Right ral­ly in 2017, issued the fol­low­ing reminder to his Telegram fol­low­ers: “Today is the big day—Vote for…Blake Mas­ters in AZ!” Fuentes pre­vi­ous­ly endorsed Mas­ters while encour­ag­ing his fans to “turn out in large num­bers for Amer­i­ca First, Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ist can­di­dates.” Like­wise, Scott Greer, a for­mer Dai­ly Caller edi­tor who has writ­ten for a white suprema­cist web­site, sig­naled his sup­port for Mas­ters dur­ing the pri­ma­ry, tweet­ing, “blaKEYED masters”—“KEYED” being a syn­onym for “based,” the far right’s favorite term of endearment—in response to an attack ad por­tray­ing Mas­ters as anti-Semit­ic.”

    And that, right there, is Nick Fuentes’s ‘influ­ence’ in action. A GOP pri­ma­ry-day endorse­ment. Fuentes has fol­low­ers and Nazi votes count too. Although it may not have been as help­ful to Mas­ters as Ander Anglin’s call, back in June, for his fol­low­ers to con­tact the Mas­ters cam­paign and find out what help it needs:

    ...
    Among the influ­en­tial white-extrem­ist fig­ures who have tak­en a lik­ing to Mas­ters is Andrew Anglin, the founder of the neo-Nazi Dai­ly Stormer blog. Anglin endorsed Mas­ters in a June post, writ­ing, “I can­not give a more force­ful endorse­ment, and I demand that any­one in Ari­zona (who is not some kind of known neo-Nazi or what­ev­er) get in con­tact with his cam­paign and see what kind of help he needs.” He added that the can­di­date was only “get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.”
    ...

    How many Nazis did the Mas­ters cam­paign take on as a result of that call to action? We don’t know, but with Trump’s Sched­ule F plot requir­ing an army of loy­al extrem­ists right out the gates if Trump wins again, it’s not hard to imag­ine that the kind of peo­ple who answered Anglin’s call to help Mas­ter­s’s cam­paign are the kind of peo­ple Trump is going to be look­ing for in large num­bers. Nazis clean enough to join a cam­paign. And then join the gov­ern­ment and where they’ll pro­ceed to ‘drain the swamp’.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 28, 2022, 2:38 am
  3. Calls to ter­mi­nate the US Con­sti­tu­tion. That’s where we are. Don­ald Trump was­n’t minc­ing words, or hid­ing his intent, when he open­ly called for the ter­mi­na­tion of the US Con­sti­tu­tion’s rules on elec­tions and his rein­stall­ment as pres­i­dent in response to the sto­ry about the ‘Hunter Biden Twit­ter Files’. It’s also the lat­est exam­ple of Trump mak­ing clear that he’s not sim­ply run­ning to be pres­i­dent again. He’s run­ning to over­throw the gov­ern­ment and become some sort of new God King. A rev­o­lu­tion that’s going to start with a mass Sched­ule F purge of gov­ern­ment employ­ees, but pre­sum­ably won’t end there. At least not if that open­ing purge is suc­cess­ful.

    On one lev­el, Trump’s calls to be rein­stat­ed was anoth­er pre­dictable esca­la­tion from Trump. Provo­ca­tions like that are going be com­ing almost dai­ly from Trump for the next two years. But there’s the oth­er con­text to this: it was bare­ly a week ago that Trump had the now-noto­ri­ous Mar-a-Lago din­ner with Kanye West and neo-Nazi youth leader Nick Fuentes. As we saw, while Trump claimed to have no idea who Fuentes was dur­ing the din­ner, that’s a rather implau­si­ble claim. And either way, Trump was report­ed­ly enam­ored with Fuentes. It was the kind of report that raised the ques­tion: is Trump plan­ning the much larg­er ‘Sched­ule F+’-style soci­ety-wide purge and sus­pen­sion of democ­ra­cy that Cur­tis Yarvin has writ­ten about? And if so, is he look­ing at groups like Fuentes’s thou­sands of ‘groyper’ fol­low­ers to play a kind of Brown­shirts role in exe­cut­ing that coup? Signs keep point­ing towards some sort of giant pow­er grab right out of the gates designed to pre­emp­tive­ly squash any future oppo­si­tion to what comes next. Signs being sent by Trump him­self. Trump’s call to ter­mi­nate the Con­sti­tu­tion’s rules on elec­tions is just the lat­est of those signs.

    So with Trump sound­ing increas­ing­ly fas­cist with each pass­ing week, here’s a set of arti­cles describ­ing the grow­ing alliances being formed between Fuentes’s ‘groyper’ fol­low­ing and some par­tic­u­lar­ly reac­tionary quar­ters of the Catholic com­mu­ni­ty. Specif­i­cal­ly, the St. Michael’s Media group, com­mon­ly known as “Church Mil­i­tant”. As we saw, while the phrase “church mil­i­tant” has tra­di­tion­al­ly been used to describe a benign spir­i­tu­al strug­gle with­in one’s own soul, the phrase has tak­en on a very dif­fer­ent mean­ing inside the theo­crat­ic com­mu­ni­ty found at St Michael’s ChurchMilitant.com. It was back in Decem­ber of 2016 when the NY Times report­ed on how ChurchMilitant.com, found­ed by Michael Voris, was using the term “church mil­i­tant” as a high­ly politi­cized cry for Chris­tians to rise up and wage ‘spir­i­tu­al war­fare’ against all non-Chris­tians aspects of soci­ety. It was an appli­ca­tion of the ‘church mil­i­tant’ con­cept that was aligned with Steve Ban­non’s use of the term “church mil­i­tant” to call for a glob­al war on “Islam­ic fas­cism” and inter­na­tion­al finan­cial elites. And as we also saw, Ban­non’s rela­tion­ship with Voris and the Church Mil­i­tant move­ment was on dis­play again last Novem­ber when Ban­non, Voris, and Milo Yiannopou­los held a ral­ly in Bal­it­more over the objec­tion of city offi­cials who feared the event was going to be used to pro­voke polit­i­cal vio­lence.

    As we’re going to see, CNP-mem­ber Steve Ban­non is far from the only Amer­i­can fas­cist inter­est­ed in cul­ti­vat­ing a polit­i­cal­ly weaponized “church mil­i­tant” move­ment. It turns out Nick Fuentes’s groypers have become excep­tion­al­ly close to the Voris’s Church Mil­i­tant move­ment. So close that one of the ‘reporters’/producers at ChurchMilitant.com, Joseph Enders, is a him­self a full-fledged groyper. Enders is described as a fix­ture on the Church Mil­i­tant Evening News and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to churchmilitant.com.

    Anoth­er groyper who has man­aged to get a lot of pos­i­tive Church Mil­i­tant media cov­er­age is Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter. As we’re going see, Clod­fel­ter went on the far right Stew Peters show back in August and made a dec­la­ra­tion that sound­ed was awful­ly close to the kind of full-scale purge Cur­tis Yarvin has envi­sioned. Clod­fel­ter called for the estab­lish­ment of a “far-right author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment” that will imprison its polit­i­cal ene­mies, estab­lish Chris­tian­i­ty as the nation­al reli­gion, and out­law all sec­u­lar edu­ca­tion. “Once we take con­trol, we will iden­ti­fy our ene­mies, and we will stomp them into the dirt. They will not be able to return to pow­er. We will rip them from their offices. We will rip them from their homes for being degen­er­ate liars, degen­er­ate trea­so­nous domes­tic ter­ror­ists because that is what they are.” That sure sounds a lot like Curts Yarv­in’s fan­ta­sy sce­nario for a pop­u­lar author­i­tar­i­an move­ment. And that’s the group Michael Voris’s Church Mil­i­tant com­mu­ni­ty of reac­tionary Catholics is now tar­get­ing for recruit­ment. Nick Fuentes already couched his Nazi move­ment in Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist terms and now Fuentes’s groypers have become the recruits-of-choice for the same group of Catholic reac­tionar­ies already aligned with Steve Ban­non.

    There’s anoth­er reac­tionary Catholic who, like Ban­non, played an impor­tant role in the plan­ning that led up to the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion and who also has a close work­ing rela­tion­ship with this Church Militant/Groyper nexus of Catholic fas­cism: CNP-mem­ber Ali Alexan­der. As we’ve seen, it was Alexan­der’s planned “Stop the Steal” ral­ly out­side the Capi­tol that actu­al­ly devolved into the insur­rec­tionary mob. And that was just the last of a string of ‘wild’ “Stop the Steal” ral­lies Alexan­der held, includ­ing one in Lans­ing, Michi­gan, led by none oth­er than Fuentes. As we’re going to see, Church Mil­i­tant cel­e­brat­ed the Lans­ing ral­ly at the time and Michael Voris lat­er fond­ly recount­ed attend­ing that ral­ly dur­ing an inter­view he did with Alexan­der a week after Jan 6. Alexan­der told Voris he had come to real­ize there was a “war between the church and the peo­ple who have infil­trat­ed the church”, echo­ing the war on the Catholic Church’s pro­gres­sive wing that Ban­non has been wag­ing for years.

    And that Lans­ing ral­ly was one of many ‘Stop the Steal’ ral­lies Fuentes spoke at in that post-elec­tion peri­od. There was also the Decem­ber 2020 ral­ly in DC where Fuentes led the crowd in chants of “Destroy the GOP.” As Fuentes declared, “In the first Mil­lion MAGA march we promised that if the GOP did not do every­thing in their pow­er to keep Trump in office, then we would destroy the GOP...As we gath­er here in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. for a sec­ond Mil­lion MAGA March, we’re done mak­ing promis­es. It has to hap­pen now. We are going to destroy the GOP...Destroy the GOP! Destroy the GOP!” Michael Fly­nn also spoke at the ral­ly, And at one point, then-pres­i­dent Trump did a fly­over of the crowd in the Marine One heli­copter three times. That’s part of the absur­di­ty of Trump’s claims that he did­n’t know Fuentes. Trump lit­er­al­ly did three fly­overs at the ral­ly where Fuentes led the crowd in ‘Destroy the GOP!’ chants as a show of their loy­al­ty to him. Of course Trump remem­bers him.

    And if Trump some­how gen­uine­ly did­n’t remem­ber Fuentes from that triple-fly­over, sure­ly he would remem­ber Fuentes from the Feb­ru­ary 2021 “Amer­i­can First PAC” (AFPAC) con­fer­ence held by Fuentes right down the street from CPAC. As we saw, AFPAC was basi­cal­ly a super-pro-MAGA taunt against CPAC. And, again, a giant pub­lic dis­play of love and loy­al­ty for Trump. Fuentes just keeps mak­ing the news for pub­lic dis­plays of love and loy­al­ty for Trump.

    That’s all part of the con­text of the Trump’s pub­lic lurch towards author­i­tar­i­an fig­ures and ideas in just the last cou­ple of weeks since announc­ing his reelec­tion bid. Din­ner with Nick Fuentes was­n’t some sil­ly slip up. It was a meet­ing between Trump and the Amer­i­can fas­cist with a huge online fol­low­ing best posi­tioned to pro­vide Trump with the street mus­cle he’s going need. Street mus­cle that will include a nation­wide net­work of rad­i­cal­ized Catholics by the time Fuentes and Voris have com­plet­ed the cre­ation of a MAGA-fied Nazi-Catholic mar­riage of move­ments made in hell.

    Ok, first, here’s Part 1 of a two-part Salon series from back in May about this grow­ing alliance between Fuentes’s groypers, the ‘Alt Right’, and the ‘trad-Cath’ reac­tionar­ies at Michael Voris’s ChurchMilitant.com. An alliance forged in the shared goal of impos­ing an author­i­tar­i­an form of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism at the ear­li­est oppor­tu­ni­ty:

    Salon

    White nation­al­ists get reli­gion: On the far-right fringe, Catholics and racists forge a move­ment

    Nick Fuentes’ racist “groyper” move­ment is build­ing a coali­tion with far-right Catholics. They have a plan

    By Kathryn Joyce — Ben Lor­ber
    Pub­lished May 12, 2022 6:30AM (EDT)

    This is the first arti­cle in a two-part series.

    Last Sun­day, as pro-choice sup­port­ers react­ed to the leaked Supreme Court draft opin­ion that will like­ly over­turn Roe v. Wade, a series of videos shot in low­er Man­hat­tan went viral. In one, a group of young men stood before an arched wood­en door­way at the Basil­i­ca of St. Patrick­’s Old Cathe­dral, recit­ing the Rosary while pro­test­ers demon­strat­ed out­side the church gates. In their cen­ter was a young man wear­ing an Amer­i­ca First hat and an FDNY fleece, clos­ing his eyes as he prayed. By that after­noon, the video had been shared on social media by far-right Repub­li­can Reps. Paul Gosar and Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, who praised the men as “heroes” “defend­ing their church­es against the abor­tion­ist horde.” 

    In two oth­er videos tak­en the same day at the same loca­tion, the man in the Amer­i­ca First hat heck­led pro­test­ers, shout­ing from the church steps, “I am the peo­ple. The peo­ple have decid­ed, the court has decid­ed. You lose. You have no choice. Not your body, your choice. Your body is mine and you’re hav­ing my baby.”

    The man was not, as the New York City Fire Depart­ment quick­ly point­ed out, a fire­fight­er. Nor was he mere­ly a devout Catholic. Rather, he was a right-wing activist affil­i­at­ed with white nation­al­ist wun­derkind Nick Fuentes’ glee­ful­ly racist and anti­se­mit­ic Amer­i­ca First/“groyper” move­ment, which at its third annu­al Amer­i­ca First Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (AFPAC) this Feb­ru­ary drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion for its glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Vladimir Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine, Fuentes’ praise of Hitler and the call by one speak­er, a state sen­a­tor from Ari­zona, to build “gal­lows” to hang polit­i­cal ene­mies.

    On a pop­u­lar groyper livestream show Sun­day night, host and move­ment leader Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter said he rec­og­nized the man in the videos and called him to join the show. As jour­nal­ist and West­ern States Cen­ter senior fel­low Nick Mar­tin report­ed, Clod­fel­ter said the man had made “a real­ly bold state­ment today and it’s going to be heard by a lot of peo­ple.” The man claimed that many of the oth­er pray­ing men who assem­bled that after­noon were also groypers, described the demon­stra­tors he’d been heck­ling as “demon­ic crea­tures” and “ani­mals” and said that one Black pro­test­er should be “enslaved” or “shot.” “What­ev­er church they’re going to attack next,” he pledged, “we’ll be there, and we’ll crush them.”

    None of that seemed to mat­ter to the right-wing politi­cians and media who held the man up as a hero of the faith. Promi­nent among those was Church Mil­i­tant, a far-right Catholic media out­let that pro­mot­ed its Mon­day night cov­er­age of the protest with a pic­ture of the groyper­’s face. That was more than acci­dent or coin­ci­dence — Church Mil­i­tant and the groypers are increas­ing­ly col­lab­o­rat­ing to mobi­lize their respec­tive audi­ences to con­front what both are call­ing “proabor­tion­ist demons” at pro-choice ral­lies across the coun­try, and, more gen­er­al­ly, to grow their move­ments on both sides. 

    All of this is part of a broad­er pat­tern of increas­ing over­lap between the far right, includ­ing overt­ly white nation­al­ist move­ments and lead­ers, with the extreme right-wing fringe of the Roman Catholic Church. This emerg­ing coali­tion includes such fig­ures as Milo Yiannopou­los, who was effec­tive­ly expelled from the MAGA move­ment in 2017 over his remarks about child sex abuse; Cana­di­an white nation­al­ist Faith Goldy, sim­i­lar­ly dis­graced after appear­ing on a pod­cast of the neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer; one­time “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der; and “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Ben­nett. 

    All four have rebrand­ed them­selves as “tra­di­tion­al” Catholics (or “trad-Caths,” in inter­net par­lance) and allied them­selves with an exist­ing net­work of far-right Catholics that includes Piz­za­gate provo­ca­teur-turned con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Jack Poso­biec, Trump con­fi­dant and advis­er Steve Ban­non and groyper-guru Nick Fuentes him­self. 

    At one point, Resis­tance, the activist wing of Church Mil­i­tant, began to mobi­lize sup­port­ers to counter-protest Planned Par­ent­hood march­es sched­uled for this Sat­ur­day in Chica­go, Nashville, Wash­ing­ton, San Anto­nio, Los Ange­les and oth­er cities. On Mon­day on the alter­na­tive social media site Telegram, Clod­fel­ter called on groypers to attend these ral­lies. By Wednes­day evening, more than five-dozen groypers on the site had eager­ly signed on. As of Fri­day, how­ev­er, Church Mil­i­tant seemed to have aban­doned this ini­tia­tive, though Clod­fel­ter still claims the groypers will ral­ly in Nashville.

    As we will dis­cuss in part 2 of this inves­ti­ga­tion, at least one promi­nent staff mem­ber at Church Mil­i­tant is also a groyper, and oth­er employ­ees of the right-wing Catholic group appear eager to build a unit­ed front between the two for­ma­tions. In the larg­er polit­i­cal land­scape of Trump-era Amer­i­ca, this is more evi­dence that white nation­al­ist and Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist move­ments, despite some mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ences on prin­ci­ple, strat­e­gy and tac­tics, are work­ing side by side in the right’s broad­er push to roll back abor­tion rights and enshrine white Chris­t­ian dom­i­nance in Amer­i­ca.

    “We have to push the enve­lope” 

    From its begin­nings, the groyper move­ment sought to strad­dle the gap between the white and Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist move­ments. In the lat­er years of the Trump pres­i­den­cy, as the large­ly pagan or athe­ist alt-right fell into dis­ar­ray, Fuentes sought to dis­tin­guish the most­ly Gen‑Z groyper move­ment from its dis­graced pre­de­ces­sor by gar­nish­ing its core white nation­al­ist prin­ci­ples with the flag and the cross.

    “[The alt-right] was a racial­ist, athe­ist, post-Amer­i­can, rev­o­lu­tion­ary and transna­tion­al move­ment,” Fuentes explained to fol­low­ers in Novem­ber 2019, attempt­ing to chart a new direc­tion for white nation­al­ism in the U.S. “Amer­i­ca First is a tra­di­tion­al­ist, Chris­t­ian, con­ser­v­a­tive, reformist, Amer­i­can nation­al­ist Move­ment.” While oth­er white nation­al­ists had giv­en up hope of trans­form­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment, the groypers, Fuentes argued, would redou­ble their efforts to influ­ence the main­stream Right. This project con­tin­ues today. “We have to push the enve­lope,” Fuentes told fol­low­ers in May 2021. “We are the right-wing flank of the Repub­li­can Party…we have got to be on the Right, drag­ging these peo­ple kick­ing and scream­ing into the future, into the right wing, into a tru­ly reac­tionary par­ty.”

    In today’s groyper move­ment, clas­sic white nation­al­ist themes of “white geno­cide,” white iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics and con­spir­a­to­r­i­al anti­semitism blend seam­less­ly with fer­vent appeals to Chris­t­ian piety, slo­gans like “Christ is King” and mil­i­tant calls to enshrine Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ism as state pol­i­cy. Most groypers are young and enthu­si­as­tic adher­ents of Catholic, East­ern Ortho­dox, Lat­ter-day Saints or oth­er Chris­t­ian faith tra­di­tions, and many are first drawn into the move­ment through its ubiq­ui­tous “trad” sub­cul­ture — a large­ly online aes­thet­ic cel­e­brat­ing a rejec­tion of moder­ni­ty and embrace of patri­ar­chal, anti-LGBTQ val­ues — and become “red-pilled” on the tenets of white nation­al­ism along the way. 

    For the groypers, hard-edged, tra­di­tion­al­ist oppo­si­tion to LGBTQ rights, abor­tion and fem­i­nism is root­ed in uncom­pro­mis­ing misog­y­ny and male suprema­cy, a world­view in which straight, white, Chris­t­ian Gen‑Z men are val­orized as the right­ful heirs to and guardians of the Amer­i­can nation. Today, the groypers’ strate­gic blend of white and Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism has arrived right on time, help­ing the move­ment find nat­ur­al allies among hard-right Chris­t­ian groups — par­tic­u­lar­ly Catholic right groups like Church Mil­i­tant — and, from there, to build new path­ways towards main­stream accep­tance. 

    In a par­al­lel project, Church Mil­i­tant also seeks to trans­form main­stream Catholi­cism from its right­ward flank. Just two weeks ago, Church Mil­i­tant made nation­al news for its hour­long inter­view with Rep. Greene, in which the Geor­gia con­gress­woman sug­gest­ed that Satan is con­trol­ling the Catholic Church (most­ly because of Catholic sup­port for refugees at the U.S. south­ern bor­der). While it might seem odd for a Catholic media site to cel­e­brate such a charge com­ing from an evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tant — Church Mil­i­tant titled the first seg­ment of its week­long pro­mo­tion of the inter­view “Mar­jorie for Pope” — the out­let has long waged a vit­ri­olic cam­paign against the church’s cur­rent hier­ar­chy, which it derides as both mil­que­toast and lib­er­al and an “inter­na­tion­al crime syn­di­cate” run by a “laven­der mafia.” By com­par­i­son, Church Mil­i­tant presents itself as the home of authen­ti­cal­ly ortho­dox Catholi­cism (even as the Arch­dio­cese of Detroit, where Church Mil­i­tant is head­quar­tered, com­pelled the out­let more than a decade ago to stop using “Catholic” in its name and has repeat­ed­ly denounced the group). 

    Last Novem­ber, the out­let host­ed a noisy, day­long ral­ly on the Bal­ti­more water­front to protest the annu­al meet­ing of the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops next door. Church Mil­i­tan­t’s emcee for the event, fall­en “alt-lite” star turned groyper leader Yiannopou­los — who joined Church Mil­i­tant as a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor in 2021 after declar­ing him­self “ex-gay” — direct­ed the rough­ly 1,200-person audi­ence to chant “Lock them up” at the bish­ops gath­ered near­by. It was he, in fact, who report­ed­ly arranged for Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene to speak at Fuentes’ AFPAC III in Feb­ru­ary. 

    ... 

    Many of Church Mil­i­tan­t’s tar­gets are with­in the Catholic Church itself. It has run arti­cles “expos­ing” bish­ops as reg­is­tered Democ­rats; called the first Black car­di­nal in the Amer­i­can church “African Queen”; demand­ed that Pope Fran­cis resign; and vowed to use its claimed net­work of hun­dreds of priests and church staff, as well as thou­sands of lay activists, to dig up dirt on any bish­ops who “go after a good priest.” 

    But much of the site’s writ­ing and advo­ca­cy is more direct­ly polit­i­cal, as when it com­pared the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment to fas­cism, attacked the Catholic bish­ops’ sup­port for immi­grants as a num­bers game meant to “shore up” a “shrink­ing, shriv­el­ing church,” and, in 2020, declared that “every Demo­c­ra­t­ic leader in the coun­try” should be “imme­di­ate­ly arrest­ed and impris­oned” for their role in pan­dem­ic pub­lic health restric­tions. Church Mil­i­tant was such an avid sup­port­er of Trump’s reelec­tion cam­paign that it repeat­ed­ly warned read­ers that if Joe Biden were elect­ed, Catholics would be “iden­ti­fied, hunt­ed down, declared ‘ille­gal,’ ” “gun[ned] down in the streets,” or “herd­ed onto the trains head­ing for the camps.” 

    Church Mil­i­tant is wide­ly con­sid­ered, even among many con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics, as so out­ra­geous and aggres­sive that it is best ignored. But as Com­mon­weal’s Paul Moses report­ed, that out­let and the fel­low-trav­el­ing Life­Site­News togeth­er “gar­nered near­ly 10 mil­lion vis­its to their alt-right ‘news’ web­sites dur­ing the last three months of 2020,” help­ing to “spread bogus elec­tion-con­spir­a­cy claims to a huge Catholic audi­ence.” On Jan. 6, 2021, both Church Mil­i­tant and its staff cel­e­brat­ed the riot at the U.S. Capi­tol, tweet­ing images of pro-Trump pro­test­ers car­ry­ing Catholic iconog­ra­phy and declar­ing the riot­ers “patri­ots.” 

    The out­let has made com­mon cause with many of the most con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures on the right, pro­mot­ing inter­views with Roger Stone, Joseph Fly­nn (broth­er of QAnon hero Michael Fly­nn), Gab founder and CEO Andrew Tor­ba and Steve Ban­non, who was to be the keynote speak­er at Church Mil­i­tan­t’s Bal­ti­more ral­ly, although he ulti­mate­ly did­n’t attend — because he was arrest­ed that week and charged with con­tempt of Con­gress. Beyond its Bal­ti­more ral­ly, the orga­ni­za­tion rou­tine­ly plat­forms voic­es con­nect­ed to the groyper move­ment as well. Mul­ti­ple Church Mil­i­tant arti­cles have fea­tured Tor­ba and YouTube stream­er John Doyle, who are both long­stand­ing Fuentes allies and were fea­tured as speak­er and spe­cial guest, respec­tive­ly, at AFPAC III. Church Mil­i­tant founder Michael Voris recent­ly appeared on a show host­ed by white nation­al­ist for­mer Sen­ate can­di­date Lau­ren Witzke, anoth­er promi­nent Fuentes ally. 

    Just a week after the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, Voris inter­viewed anoth­er Fuentes acolyte, Jan. 6 plan­ner Ali Alexan­der, about his then-recent con­ver­sion to Catholi­cism as well as their shared sense — in the imme­di­ate after­math of the Capi­tol riot — that “dying an hon­or­able death is an awe­some thing.” Alexan­der said he had come to real­ize there was a “war between the church and the peo­ple who have infil­trat­ed the church,” and Voris recount­ed attend­ing sev­er­al of Alexan­der’s “Stop the Steal” protests in Michi­gan, includ­ing one at the state capi­tol in Lans­ing. That ral­ly was led by Nick Fuentes and John Doyle and cel­e­brat­ed on Church Mil­i­tan­t’s Twit­ter account.

    These points of over­lap exem­pli­fy how the white nation­al­ist move­ment and the Catholic right are both draw­ing togeth­er and influ­enc­ing each oth­er. But it is in the youth move­ment, and on the streets, where the most sig­nif­i­cant col­lab­o­ra­tion is now unfold­ing. 

    “We are intense­ly try­ing to cul­ti­vate the youth,” Voris said in a Feb­ru­ary 2022 video enti­tled “CM Youth Move­ment,” claim­ing that 24 of Church Mil­i­tan­t’s 63 employ­ees are under the age of 30. “As men, it’s real­ly impor­tant that we act,” pro­fessed one young Church Mil­i­tant staffer in the video. “We can’t just sit by and watch our civ­i­liza­tion and church col­lapse into a cesspool of degen­er­a­cy.”

    Voris took note when Fuentes held AFPAC III, prais­ing the con­fer­ence as “where all the youth­ful (read: future) ener­gy is” in the “real strug­gle for the heart and soul of the [con­ser­v­a­tive] move­ment” — a strug­gle, Voris said, echo­ing Fuentes’ fram­ing, which “will dic­tate the future of the [Repub­li­can] par­ty and, to a large extent, the nation.” 

    In a sub­se­quent video enti­tled “Young Con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics,” Voris drove the point home. Bemoan­ing the “col­lapse of the Amer­i­can empire,” Voris com­pared con­tem­po­rary young Catholics to the “first young Romans” who, in the wake of the col­lapse of the Roman Empire in the 4th cen­tu­ry AD, “con­quered the bar­bar­ians” and insti­tut­ed a new Catholic civ­i­liza­tion. 

    “Just like in the days of Rome, as it col­lapsed,” Voris explained, “there was a gen­er­a­tion of 20-some­things that beheld it, so too now, here, in the U.S…in the com­ing years but begin­ning now, what must be fought for is Catholic truth. Straight up, ter­ri­ble, glo­ri­ous Catholic truth.” He went on to say that “estab­lish­ment con­ser­vatism has betrayed the cause” and “it is the young more than any­one else who must under­stand the real war here.” Fuentes and Yiannopou­los both shared Voris’ video on Telegram, with a cap­tion fram­ing it as a direct appeal to the groypers: “ ‘The cry “Christ is King” must ring loud across the land.’ Church Mil­i­tan­t’s Michael Voris on Amer­i­ca First.” 

    ———-

    “White nation­al­ists get reli­gion: On the far-right fringe, Catholics and racists forge a movement“By Kathryn Joyce and Ben Lor­ber; Salon; 05/12/2022

    All of this is part of a broad­er pat­tern of increas­ing over­lap between the far right, includ­ing overt­ly white nation­al­ist move­ments and lead­ers, with the extreme right-wing fringe of the Roman Catholic Church. This emerg­ing coali­tion includes such fig­ures as Milo Yiannopou­los, who was effec­tive­ly expelled from the MAGA move­ment in 2017 over his remarks about child sex abuse; Cana­di­an white nation­al­ist Faith Goldy, sim­i­lar­ly dis­graced after appear­ing on a pod­cast of the neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer; one­time “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der; and “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Ben­nett.”

    A fusion of neo-Nazis and hard-right Catholics. Fig­ures includ­ing CNP-mem­ber Ali Alexan­der who played a cen­tral role in orga­niz­ing the vio­lence the unfold­ed on Jan­u­ary 6. That’s the dis­turb­ing trend we’re see­ing play out. The “trad-Cath” iden­ti­ty is becom­ing a tool for the fur­ther main­stream­ing of white nation­al­ist ideas. With main­stream Catholics being the tar­get audi­ence:

    ...
    All four have rebrand­ed them­selves as “tra­di­tion­al” Catholics (or “trad-Caths,” in inter­net par­lance) and allied them­selves with an exist­ing net­work of far-right Catholics that includes Piz­za­gate provo­ca­teur-turned con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Jack Poso­biec, Trump con­fi­dant and advis­er Steve Ban­non and groyper-guru Nick Fuentes him­self.
    ...

    It was that fusion of Nazis and “Trad-Caths” the was put on dis­play fol­low­ing the ini­tial news of the impend­ing over­turn­ing of Roe, when a ‘groyper’ caught on video pub­licly taunt­ing women pass­ing by on the streets with threats that they were going to be forced to have his babies with the cel­e­bra­tion was ulti­mate­ly cel­e­brat­ed by fel­low groyper Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter on his show. As we’re going to see, Clod­fel­ter is a wel­come fig­ure inside the “Trad-Cath” move­ment, and is par­tic­u­lar­ly close to St. Michael’s Media group, aka the “Church Mil­i­tant” media out­let, which joined Clod­fel­ter in cel­e­brat­ing the mes­sage deliv­ered to the women of Amer­i­ca by the ‘groyper’ on the street cor­ner. As we saw back in Novem­ber, Church Mil­i­tant has become a lead­ing voice in artic­u­lat­ing the the­o­log­i­cal view that and CNP-mem­ber Steve Ban­non has been push­ing for years: The idea that the tra­di­tion­al Catholic con­cept of the “church mil­i­tant” wrestling against sin should be trans­lat­ed into a call for spir­i­tu­al war­fare waged as polit­i­cal war­fare and the polit­i­cal cap­ture of soci­ety by tra­di­tion­al Chris­tians for the pur­pose of impos­ing reli­gion the rest of soci­ety. A call for a polit­i­cal coup in the form of a nation­al spir­i­tu­al revival. Ban­non and Church Mil­i­tant have been devel­op­ing this for years now. That’s part of the con­text of the open alliance between Church Mil­i­tant and Fuentes’s ‘Groypers’. It’s the cul­mi­na­tion of one of Steve Ban­non’s ongo­ing polit­i­cal projects:

    ...
    The man was not, as the New York City Fire Depart­ment quick­ly point­ed out, a fire­fight­er. Nor was he mere­ly a devout Catholic. Rather, he was a right-wing activist affil­i­at­ed with white nation­al­ist wun­derkind Nick Fuentes’ glee­ful­ly racist and anti­se­mit­ic Amer­i­ca First/“groyper” move­ment, which at its third annu­al Amer­i­ca First Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (AFPAC) this Feb­ru­ary drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion for its glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of Vladimir Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine, Fuentes’ praise of Hitler and the call by one speak­er, a state sen­a­tor from Ari­zona, to build “gal­lows” to hang polit­i­cal ene­mies.

    On a pop­u­lar groyper livestream show Sun­day night, host and move­ment leader Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter said he rec­og­nized the man in the videos and called him to join the show. As jour­nal­ist and West­ern States Cen­ter senior fel­low Nick Mar­tin report­ed, Clod­fel­ter said the man had made “a real­ly bold state­ment today and it’s going to be heard by a lot of peo­ple.” The man claimed that many of the oth­er pray­ing men who assem­bled that after­noon were also groypers, described the demon­stra­tors he’d been heck­ling as “demon­ic crea­tures” and “ani­mals” and said that one Black pro­test­er should be “enslaved” or “shot.” “What­ev­er church they’re going to attack next,” he pledged, “we’ll be there, and we’ll crush them.”

    None of that seemed to mat­ter to the right-wing politi­cians and media who held the man up as a hero of the faith. Promi­nent among those was Church Mil­i­tant, a far-right Catholic media out­let that pro­mot­ed its Mon­day night cov­er­age of the protest with a pic­ture of the groyper­’s face. That was more than acci­dent or coin­ci­dence — Church Mil­i­tant and the groypers are increas­ing­ly col­lab­o­rat­ing to mobi­lize their respec­tive audi­ences to con­front what both are call­ing “proabor­tion­ist demons” at pro-choice ral­lies across the coun­try, and, more gen­er­al­ly, to grow their move­ments on both sides. 
    ...

    And note how the niche Nick Fuentes and his fel­low groypers are attempt­ing to fill is a kind of more pious ver­sion of the ‘Alt Right’, draped in the flag and car­ry­ing the cross. A move­ment where ‘White geno­cide’ and ‘Christ is King’ are paired slo­gans. Par­al­lel to the is the move­ment inside Catholi­cism by groups like Church Mil­i­tant to push the Catholic church in an ‘Alt Right’ direc­tion. Nick Fuente’s groypers and Church Mil­i­tan­t’s audi­ence are two sides of the same Ban­non-inspired move­ment:

     
    ... 
    From its begin­nings, the groyper move­ment sought to strad­dle the gap between the white and Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist move­ments. In the lat­er years of the Trump pres­i­den­cy, as the large­ly pagan or athe­ist alt-right fell into dis­ar­ray, Fuentes sought to dis­tin­guish the most­ly Gen‑Z groyper move­ment from its dis­graced pre­de­ces­sor by gar­nish­ing its core white nation­al­ist prin­ci­ples with the flag and the cross.

    ...

    In today’s groyper move­ment, clas­sic white nation­al­ist themes of “white geno­cide,” white iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics and con­spir­a­to­r­i­al anti­semitism blend seam­less­ly with fer­vent appeals to Chris­t­ian piety, slo­gans like “Christ is King” and mil­i­tant calls to enshrine Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ism as state pol­i­cy. Most groypers are young and enthu­si­as­tic adher­ents of Catholic, East­ern Ortho­dox, Lat­ter-day Saints or oth­er Chris­t­ian faith tra­di­tions, and many are first drawn into the move­ment through its ubiq­ui­tous “trad” sub­cul­ture — a large­ly online aes­thet­ic cel­e­brat­ing a rejec­tion of moder­ni­ty and embrace of patri­ar­chal, anti-LGBTQ val­ues — and become “red-pilled” on the tenets of white nation­al­ism along the way. 

    ...

    In a par­al­lel project, Church Mil­i­tant also seeks to trans­form main­stream Catholi­cism from its right­ward flank. Just two weeks ago, Church Mil­i­tant made nation­al news for its hour­long inter­view with Rep. Greene, in which the Geor­gia con­gress­woman sug­gest­ed that Satan is con­trol­ling the Catholic Church (most­ly because of Catholic sup­port for refugees at the U.S. south­ern bor­der). While it might seem odd for a Catholic media site to cel­e­brate such a charge com­ing from an evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tant — Church Mil­i­tant titled the first seg­ment of its week­long pro­mo­tion of the inter­view “Mar­jorie for Pope” — the out­let has long waged a vit­ri­olic cam­paign against the church’s cur­rent hier­ar­chy, which it derides as both mil­que­toast and lib­er­al and an “inter­na­tion­al crime syn­di­cate” run by a “laven­der mafia.” By com­par­i­son, Church Mil­i­tant presents itself as the home of authen­ti­cal­ly ortho­dox Catholi­cism (even as the Arch­dio­cese of Detroit, where Church Mil­i­tant is head­quar­tered, com­pelled the out­let more than a decade ago to stop using “Catholic” in its name and has repeat­ed­ly denounced the group). 
    ...

    And regard­ing Church Mil­i­tan­t’s focus on the Catholic Church itself, recall how this is also part of Steve Ban­non’s long-stand­ing push to build an inter­na­tion­al net­work of reac­tionary Catholics focused on purg­ing the Vat­i­can of any­thing resem­bling pro­gres­sive teach­ings. So when we read about how Church Mil­i­tant tar­gets fig­ures with­in the Church’s hier­ar­chy, keep in mind it’s part of that same ongo­ing effort:

     
    ...
    Many of Church Mil­i­tan­t’s tar­gets are with­in the Catholic Church itself. It has run arti­cles “expos­ing” bish­ops as reg­is­tered Democ­rats; called the first Black car­di­nal in the Amer­i­can church “African Queen”; demand­ed that Pope Fran­cis resign; and vowed to use its claimed net­work of hun­dreds of priests and church staff, as well as thou­sands of lay activists, to dig up dirt on any bish­ops who “go after a good priest.” 
    ...

    It’s that years-long zeal for the cap­ture of both church and state that should be kept in mind when we learn about the ties between Church Mil­i­tant, Fuentes, and fig­ures direct­ly involved in the plan­ning around Jan­u­ary 6 like recent-Catholic-con­vert, and CNP-mem­ber, Ali Alexan­der. Jan­u­ary 6 — and all of the CNP orga­niz­ing that went into it — was effec­tive­ly a man­i­fes­ta­tion of what Ban­non and Church Mil­i­tant have been cul­ti­vat­ing for years:

    ...
    The out­let has made com­mon cause with many of the most con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures on the right, pro­mot­ing inter­views with Roger Stone, Joseph Fly­nn (broth­er of QAnon hero Michael Fly­nn), Gab founder and CEO Andrew Tor­ba and Steve Ban­non, who was to be the keynote speak­er at Church Mil­i­tan­t’s Bal­ti­more ral­ly, although he ulti­mate­ly did­n’t attend — because he was arrest­ed that week and charged with con­tempt of Con­gress. Beyond its Bal­ti­more ral­ly, the orga­ni­za­tion rou­tine­ly plat­forms voic­es con­nect­ed to the groyper move­ment as well. Mul­ti­ple Church Mil­i­tant arti­cles have fea­tured Tor­ba and YouTube stream­er John Doyle, who are both long­stand­ing Fuentes allies and were fea­tured as speak­er and spe­cial guest, respec­tive­ly, at AFPAC III. Church Mil­i­tant founder Michael Voris recent­ly appeared on a show host­ed by white nation­al­ist for­mer Sen­ate can­di­date Lau­ren Witzke, anoth­er promi­nent Fuentes ally. 

    Just a week after the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, Voris inter­viewed anoth­er Fuentes acolyte, Jan. 6 plan­ner Ali Alexan­der, about his then-recent con­ver­sion to Catholi­cism as well as their shared sense — in the imme­di­ate after­math of the Capi­tol riot — that “dying an hon­or­able death is an awe­some thing.” Alexan­der said he had come to real­ize there was a “war between the church and the peo­ple who have infil­trat­ed the church,” and Voris recount­ed attend­ing sev­er­al of Alexan­der’s “Stop the Steal” protests in Michi­gan, includ­ing one at the state capi­tol in Lans­ing. That ral­ly was led by Nick Fuentes and John Doyle and cel­e­brat­ed on Church Mil­i­tan­t’s Twit­ter account.

    ...

    Voris took note when Fuentes held AFPAC III, prais­ing the con­fer­ence as “where all the youth­ful (read: future) ener­gy is” in the “real strug­gle for the heart and soul of the [con­ser­v­a­tive] move­ment” — a strug­gle, Voris said, echo­ing Fuentes’ fram­ing, which “will dic­tate the future of the [Repub­li­can] par­ty and, to a large extent, the nation.” 
    ...

    And as Part 2 in that Salon series describes, Church Mil­i­tan­t’s founder, Michael Voris, isn’t just an open fan of Nick Fuentes’s “groypers”. The activist wing of Church Mil­i­tant, the Resis­tance net­work, has been rebrand­ing itself specif­i­cal­ly to attract those groypers and build a youth move­ment. That includes hir­ing a full-fledged groyper, Joseph Enders, as a reporter, senior pro­duc­er and asso­ciate pro­duc­er at Church Mil­i­tant. Enders is described as a fix­ture on Church Mil­i­tant Evening News and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to churchmilitant.com. As observers describe, it’s “Catholic LARP­ing”, or a way for the ‘Alt Right’ to pre­tend they’re “Knights Tem­plar fight­ing the forces of dark­ness in the deep state”:

    Salon

    “Tra­di­tion­al” Catholics and white nation­al­ist “groypers” forge a new far-right youth move­ment

    Activist arm of right-wing Catholic out­let Church Mil­i­tant is increas­ing­ly entwined with racist “groyper” move­ment

    By Kathryn Joyce — Ben Lor­ber
    Pub­lished May 13, 2022 6:00AM (EDT)

    This is the sec­ond in a two-part series. In our first install­ment, read about how the after­math of the leaked Supreme Court opin­ion over­turn­ing Roe v. Wade revealed exten­sive con­nec­tions between the white nation­al­ist “groyper” move­ment and the far-right Catholic net­work around the con­tro­ver­sial out­let Church Mil­i­tant.

    The activist wing of Church Mil­i­tant is called the Resis­tance net­work. As of 2020 the out­let said it boast­ed more than 5,000 mem­bers, and claimed to have launched groups in almost every dio­cese in the U.S. Last June, the group claimed that its protest of a church vac­cine dri­ve in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia forced the dri­ve to end three hours ear­ly. The same month, mem­bers of the Resis­tance net­work host­ed an “affi­davit-sign­ing dri­ve at Church Mil­i­tant head­quar­ters” out­side Detroit, join­ing with oth­er right-wing Michi­gan groups in demand­ing a foren­sic audit of the 2020 elec­tion and hold­ing a protest ral­ly on the state capi­tol steps. 

    More recent­ly, as Resis­tance leader Joe Gal­lagher out­lined at a Church Mil­i­tant ral­ly last Novem­ber, the group has pick­et­ed local bish­ops; brought “ex-gay” con­ser­v­a­tive fire­brand Milo Yiannopou­los to the Penn State cam­pus to advo­cate “pray­ing the gay away”; and protest­ed at a Dal­las memo­r­i­al for George Floyd to “bear wit­ness to a real racial injus­tice: the mass slaugh­ter of the unborn, which dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly affects minori­ties.” 

    Now the Resis­tance net­work is look­ing to recruit direct­ly from the groypers, the large­ly young far-right fol­low­ers of white nation­al­ist Nick Fuentes. On May 2, Gal­lagher inter­viewed Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter — the same groyper leader who cel­e­brat­ed the Catholic counter-pro­test­er at New York’s Basil­i­ca of St. Patrick­’s Old Cathe­dral last week­end — intro­duc­ing Resis­tance view­ers to Fuentes’ web­site, CozyTV, as a “new stream­ing plat­form for a lot of awe­some younger con­ser­v­a­tives.” Gal­lagher hyped the report­ed 1,200 atten­dees at Fuentes’ AFPAC III gath­er­ing, say­ing that “obvi­ous­ly [Amer­i­ca First] is boom­ing, you guys have got­ten huge…You guys go for the jugu­lar every sin­gle time.” He con­tin­ued, “[You go for] the truth, you’re not afraid to hide it at all, and that’s one of the most respectable aspects of Amer­i­ca First, is you guys don’t real­ly care. And that’s cool.” 

    Clod­fel­ter, who told Gal­lagher it was Yiannopou­los who first intro­duced him to Church Mil­i­tant, pitched Amer­i­ca First in a lan­guage that his new audi­ence was like­ly eager to hear. “It’s not like it’s the alt-right, because that is not even cool any­more, even if you want­ed it to be. And it’s also not like normie neo­con con­ser­vatism. … it’s Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist.” He went on, “The mes­sage of Amer­i­ca First is tied direct­ly to the word of God and spread­ing Chris­tian­i­ty through our nation where it’s lack­ing … every­thing we do is [a spir­i­tu­al bat­tle], we’re fight­ing demons, we’re fight­ing Satan.” Clod­fel­ter empha­sized the need to “grow the view­er base” of CozyTV, explain­ing that “a major­i­ty of white young Zoomer men would just love CozyTV — the prob­lem is, they don’t know where to go to get it.”
     
    Clod­fel­ter went on to draw a par­tic­u­lar con­nec­tion between the groyper move­ment and Catholi­cism, say­ing he’d nev­er con­sid­ered join­ing the church before get­ting involved with Amer­i­ca First. “I met peo­ple who are tru­ly devout, tru­ly liv­ing by the word and they weren’t hyp­ocrites,” he said. “They were rep­re­sent­ing Catholi­cism so well for me I was like, wow, the least I could do is go to Mass and do some research.” Now, he said, he’s study­ing for the Rite of Chris­t­ian Ini­ti­a­tion of Adults — the for­mal process by which unbap­tized adults become Catholics — and says he under­stands why Fuentes says of the groypers, “This is sort of a Catholic move­ment.”

    Since then, Resis­tance has con­tin­ued to brand itself to appeal to groypers. One adver­tise­ment for Resis­tance post­ed on Gab last week fea­tured the Amer­i­ca First and CozyTV logos as well as a style of sun­glass­es pop­u­lar­ized by Fuentes as part of last year’s “White Boy Sum­mer” groyper brand­ing cam­paign. Mean­while, as report­ed in part 1 of this series, Clod­fel­ter attempt­ed to mobi­lize groypers to attend Resis­tance coun­ter­protests of pro-choice demon­stra­tions planned for week­end in cities across the coun­try. As of Fri­day, the events appear to have been removed from Resis­tance’s web­site, while on Telegram Clod­fel­ter not­ed late Wednes­day night that most of the coun­ter­protests had been post­poned, writ­ing, “Work­ing with Church Mil­i­tant on this to make sure we are doing this in the most orga­nized and safe way.” Clod­fel­ter still claims the groypers will ral­ly in Nashville.

    Not every Church Mil­i­tant staffer appears thrilled with the grow­ing crossover, how­ev­er. In July 2021, Church Mil­i­tant exec­u­tive pro­duc­er Chris­tine Niles remarked on Twit­ter that “the Amer­i­ca First move­ment, which has great things to say, is ill-served” by Fuentes’ open anti­semitism. “This unfor­tu­nate obses­sion with the Jews will sink the Amer­i­ca First move­ment, and that’s tru­ly a shame.” Some audi­ence mem­bers have pushed back as well. “Was a sup­port­er of CM, but no more,” com­ment­ed one view­er in Feb­ru­ary 2020, after Voris ran an inter­view with Fuentes ally Michelle Malkin. “I’m all for bor­ders. I’m all for pre­serv­ing West­ern cul­ture … but I’m not down with Holo­caust denial.”

    In emailed com­ments on Wednes­day, Voris told Salon, “Church Mil­i­tant might part­ner with any­one in a par­tic­u­lar effort to achieve a lim­it­ed and shared goal. In this par­tic­u­lar case (Roe), yes. [Church Mil­i­tant] will link arms with almost any­one who decries the hor­ror of babies being hacked to death in their moth­ers’ wombs. Isn’t ‘link­ing arms’ the very thing Antifa and BLM and the Democ­rats do?”

    ...

    “Groypers are every­where” — includ­ing on Church Mil­i­tan­t’s staff

    It is coun­ter­in­tu­itive, to say the least, that an osten­si­bly faith-based orga­ni­za­tion is embrac­ing a move­ment so explic­it­ly big­ot­ed as the groypers. Fuentes has engaged in elab­o­rate jokes deny­ing the Holo­caust, praised Hitler and told view­ers on one livestream show that “frankly, I’m get­ting pret­ty sick of world Jew­ry run­ning the show,” to name just sev­er­al exam­ples of his vir­u­lent anti­semitism. Fuentes has dis­par­aged African-Amer­i­can vot­er out­reach as attempts to “flood the zone with n****r votes,” called for “total Aryan vic­to­ry,” reject­ed “race-mix­ing” because “peo­ple should stick with their own kind,” bragged that he “made misog­y­ny cool again,” cel­e­brat­ed domes­tic vio­lence against women and much more.

    On his Thurs­day night livestream show, Fuentes respond­ed to the claims made in part 1 of Salon’s inves­ti­ga­tion. “You’re damn right the groypers are form­ing an alliance with the Catholics,” he exclaimed, “and you’re right we have a plan, and we are gonna take the Repub­li­can Par­ty and we are going to drag it against its will back through the doors of the church and to the altar, and we are going to bap­tize it.” Clod­fel­ter, mean­while, extolled his audi­ence to “show our love and sup­port for Church Mil­i­tant. These guys are strong, these guys are determined…yes, we’re col­lab­o­rat­ing in this effort to com­bat Satanism in Amer­i­ca, we are. Groypers are every­where.”

    While Niles appeared ambiva­lent about Amer­i­ca First, or at least its leader, her col­league, 27-year old Joseph Enders, is a full-fledged groyper. Var­i­ous­ly named as a reporter, senior pro­duc­er and asso­ciate pro­duc­er at Church Mil­i­tant, Enders is a fix­ture on Church Mil­i­tant Evening News and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to churchmilitant.com. 

    Enders did­n’t always sup­port white nation­al­ism. In 2018, he self-iden­ti­fied as an “Augus­tin­ian nation­al­ist,” claimed affil­i­a­tion with the Proud Boys and uploaded inter­views to YouTube where he argued with white nation­al­ist lead­ers like Richard Spencer and James All­sup. “The phi­los­o­phy of the right,” he told Spencer in June 2018, should be ani­mat­ed by “a peo­ple that focus[es] inward on pre­serv­ing the tra­di­tions of West­ern cul­ture … [but] race should not be a con­sid­er­a­tion in this. I think we should only judge peo­ple based on how they exer­cise their will.” 

    By late 2019, how­ev­er, when the groypers entered the nation­al spot­light with a series of pub­lic stunts chal­leng­ing con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers on col­lege cam­pus­es, Enders had changed his tune. “I don’t think any­body is say­ing we’re pre­serv­ing our race because our race is bet­ter,” he explained when he called in to the stream­ing show of Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes on McInnes’ Censored.TV plat­form. Defend­ing the groypers’ empha­sis on white demo­graph­ic “replace­ment” — the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that white Amer­i­cans are being “replaced” by non­white immi­gra­tion — Enders told McInnes, “You’re into fash­ion, so you’ll under­stand this anal­o­gy: When we look at a coun­try, there are peo­ple that wear the coun­try the best, and that’s usu­al­ly the found­ing stock of the coun­try.”

    Since join­ing Church Mil­i­tan­t’s staff in 2020, Enders’ embrace of the groypers has con­tin­ued apace. “Nick is a Mass-attend­ing Catholic, unheard of at his age,” Enders post­ed on Face­book in April 2021. “I can’t help but like Nick … the Right needs more of [his] troll­ish humor to root out the grifters. It’s supreme­ly enter­tain­ing.” A year lat­er, his sup­port was even more pro­nounced. “I hear this Nick Fuentes dude is pret­ty based,” he tweet­ed on April 30, 2022. “I have to say … I sup­port his efforts to put Amer­i­ca First.”

    On Gab, Telegram and oth­er social media plat­forms, Enders reg­u­lar­ly cel­e­brates Amer­i­ca First and its polit­i­cal ambi­tions; shares con­tent from groyper lead­ers like Fuentes, Vince James and Anthime Gionet, (aka “Baked Alas­ka,” who on Wednes­day under­mined his own Jan. 6 plea deal, poten­tial­ly send­ing his case to tri­al); uploads pho­tos of him­self sport­ing the blue “Amer­i­ca First” hat and oth­er move­ment para­pher­na­lia; and par­tic­i­pates in debates on move­ment strat­e­gy. Like oth­ers in the groyper orbit, he reg­u­lar­ly traf­fics in anti­semitism, includ­ing using the (((echo))) sym­bol, a meme cre­at­ed by white nation­al­ists to tar­get Jew­ish peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions. In the first days of the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine, Enders quot­ed, with seem­ing approval, a state­ment by Vladimir Putin decry­ing Euro­pean coun­tries’ sup­posed aban­don­ment of “Chris­t­ian val­ues” and shared an arti­cle argu­ing that Putin was seek­ing to “rebuild Chris­ten­dom.”

    White nation­al­ist themes car­ry over into Enders’ work with Church Mil­i­tant, as well. On Church Mil­i­tan­t’s web­site, arti­cles writ­ten by Enders quote Fuentes, name the Jew­ish iden­ti­ty of polit­i­cal oppo­nents and claim that crit­i­cal race the­o­ry “rejects the eth­nic iden­ti­ty of White Amer­i­cans.” On the out­let’s night­ly news pro­gram, Enders has cham­pi­oned white nation­al­ist slo­gans like “it’s ok to be white,” claimed that “the Left­’s essen­tial pol­i­cy when deal­ing with race is … ‘is it going to hurt white people?’...more dead white peo­ple is the pol­i­cy of the Democ­rats,” and protest­ed the deci­sion by the flag­ship Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence to bar Fuentes from atten­dance.  

    When news broke last week that the Supreme Court was mov­ing to over­turn Roe v. Wade, Enders’ mes­sage was direct and dis­turb­ing. “Get ready witch­es,” he post­ed on May 3 on Gab and Twit­ter, “we’re com­ing for your birth con­trol next.”

    “A soul for their pol­i­tics”

    As men­tioned in our first install­ment, this is all part of a broad­er pat­tern of over­lap between the far-right, includ­ing the white nation­al­ist right, with right-wing Catholi­cism. In 2017, groyper leader Milo Yian­napou­los was drummed out of many right-wing move­ments for state­ments he made min­i­miz­ing child sex abuse, and sub­se­quent­ly used his return to Catholi­cism as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to rebrand. This March he head­lined an anti-abor­tion con­ven­tion in Ohio that was blessed by the local Catholic bish­op, and in June he will be a fea­tured speak­er at a Church Mil­i­tant Resis­tance boot­camp. Cana­di­an white nation­al­ist Faith Goldy, who was dis­graced after appear­ing on the neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer, like­wise tout­ed her return to the church as part of her reha­bil­i­ta­tion. “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der found his way to a new audi­ence at the end of 2020 with a high­ly pub­lic con­ver­sion to Catholi­cism, as did “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Ben­nett in late 2021. They joined a core group of far-right activists who have deployed their Catholic iden­ti­ty in ser­vice of their move­ments, includ­ing Piz­za­gate provo­ca­teur-turned con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Jack Poso­biec, for­mer Trump advis­er Steve Ban­non and Fuentes him­self. 

    As the alt-right was plan­ning its 2017 march in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, one of the most pop­u­lar places where activists did their plan­ning was a Dis­cord chat forum called the “Nick Fuentes forum,” ded­i­cat­ed to explor­ing con­nec­tions between “Unite the Right” and the Catholic Church. With­in it, hun­dreds of posters dis­cussed tra­di­tion­al­ist Catholi­cism and post­ed memes alter­nat­ing, or com­bin­ing, Cru­sades-era imagery with neo-Nazi and anti­se­mit­ic con­tent. 

    As jour­nal­ist Eric Mar­tin report­ed at the lib­er­al Chris­t­ian mag­a­zine Sojourn­ers, some posters iden­ti­fied them­selves as “Charles Cough­lin Roman Catholics,” for the 1930s pro-fas­cist priest and broad­cast­er who helped pio­neer the dem­a­gog­ic media style that is frac­tur­ing our democ­ra­cy today. Fuentes him­self has waxed nos­tal­gic about fas­cist and monar­chist regimes in Europe and Latin Amer­i­ca that were ground­ed in Catholic teach­ing, and in 2018 declared on a livestream that, “in an ide­al world,” there would be “a glob­al Catholic theoc­ra­cy” and that “the state should enforce moral­i­ty that is informed by Catholic teach­ing.” 

    More broad­ly online, far-right activists online began adopt­ing phras­es like “Viva Cristo Rey” (Christ the King) or “Deus Vult” (God wills it) in their posts and tweets, and Catholic sym­bol­ism like medieval cross­es and Cru­sad­er imagery. 

    Some con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics have wel­comed this devel­op­ment. In a 2019 arti­cle pub­lished by the Catholic right mag­a­zine Cri­sis, “Kids in defense of the cul­ture,” Amer­i­can Great­ness edi­tor Pedro Gon­za­lez praised Fuentes’ groypers. “They have cho­sen to be guid­ed by a Chris­tian­i­ty ham­mered free of the dross of the mod­ern world,” Gon­za­lez wrote. “In an age of com­pro­mise and pet­ty prin­ci­ples, groypers have cho­sen to stand for some­thing, armed with lit­tle more than dig­i­tal sling­shots. That alone is rea­son enough to hear them out.”

    But mod­er­ate and lib­er­al Catholics were appalled. “It’s such a hor­ri­fy­ing appro­pri­a­tion of Catholi­cism,” not­ed writer and researcher D.W. Laf­fer­ty in a 2020 pod­cast episode pro­duced by Where Peter Is, a mod­er­ate Catholic web­site that tracks the Catholic right. Laf­fer­ty described the new far-right aes­thet­ic as “Pepe Catholi­cism,” while George­town Uni­ver­si­ty the­olo­gian Adam Ras­mussen called it “Catholic LARP­ing”: a way for the alt-right to pre­tend they were “Knights Tem­plar fight­ing the forces of dark­ness in the deep state.”

    As Vat­i­can cor­re­spon­dent Christo­pher Lamb, author of the papal biog­ra­phy “The Out­sider: Pope Fran­cis and His Bat­tle to Reform the Church,” explained dur­ing the 2020 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, the far right’s adop­tion of Catholic sym­bol­ism was a means for the move­ment to infuse itself with deep­er spir­i­tu­al mean­ing. “The pop­ulists and nation­al­ists were look­ing for some kind of soul for their pol­i­tics. And they found it in some sym­bols of the faith,” Lamb said. “And they’re pow­er­ful sym­bols. Quite often they make the whole case that the past has been lost.” 

    “In a sense, you emp­ty the con­tent of the reli­gious,” Lamb not­ed ear­li­er this year, “and use the exter­nals — the rosary beads, the cru­ci­fix, some words, per­haps some prayers — but you use it as an iden­ti­ty mark­er to give your move­ment a sense that it has a soul or deep­er inten­si­ty at a moral lev­el.” 

    But that influ­ence goes both ways, and as Lamb not­ed in 2020, as more and more right-wing Catholics iden­ti­fied them­selves with Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign, “Trump­ism,” in turn, “got into the church.” 

    As Laf­fer­ty said at the time, “What’s hap­pen­ing on the right, I think, is unprece­dent­ed,” except for the his­tor­i­cal exam­ples of ultra­na­tion­al­ist fas­cist groups before World War II, such as Action Française in France or the Falangist move­ment in Spain. “But fas­cism isn’t new and the Catholic Church was often com­plic­it in fas­cism,” he added. “So it’s not total­ly shock­ing that peo­ple can come in and do this.” 

    The rev­e­la­tion that some high­ly enthu­si­as­tic and vis­i­ble ele­ments of the Catholic right are now part­ner­ing with a group whose rep­u­ta­tion is based on snarky dis­plays of over-the-top big­otry just marks an esca­la­tion of that trend. 

    “This is a con­tin­u­a­tion of a pat­tern that’s been hap­pen­ing for years,” said Laf­fer­ty, “and it’s only going to become more intense now that we’re look­ing at the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Roe v. Wade being over­turned.” As a faith­ful Catholic, he agrees with the Church’s stance against abor­tion, he said, but he also sees the immi­nent SCOTUS rever­sal as one more “pil­lar of what we call ‘nor­mal’ falling.” 

    I wor­ry when­ev­er you see anti-abor­tion rhetoric mixed with anti-immi­grant rhetoric or iso­la­tion­ist for­eign pol­i­cy,” said Laf­fer­ty. “It feeds into this spread­ing pan­ic that West­ern cul­ture is dis­ap­pear­ing and immi­gra­tion is killing Chris­tian­i­ty and white hege­mo­ny. Ordi­nary Catholics who may have good inten­tions need to wake up to this — the bish­ops includ­ed. Because if we look at what’s hap­pened in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, a fringe pop­ulist ele­ment even­tu­al­ly took over. We could see the same thing in the church.” 

    ...

    ———-
    ““Tra­di­tion­al” Catholics and white nation­al­ist “groypers” forge a new far-right youth move­ment” By Kathryn Joyce and Ben Lor­ber; Salon; 05/13/2022

    Now the Resis­tance net­work is look­ing to recruit direct­ly from the groypers, the large­ly young far-right fol­low­ers of white nation­al­ist Nick Fuentes. On May 2, Gal­lagher inter­viewed Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter — the same groyper leader who cel­e­brat­ed the Catholic counter-pro­test­er at New York’s Basil­i­ca of St. Patrick­’s Old Cathe­dral last week­end — intro­duc­ing Resis­tance view­ers to Fuentes’ web­site, CozyTV, as a “new stream­ing plat­form for a lot of awe­some younger con­ser­v­a­tives.” Gal­lagher hyped the report­ed 1,200 atten­dees at Fuentes’ AFPAC III gath­er­ing, say­ing that “obvi­ous­ly [Amer­i­ca First] is boom­ing, you guys have got­ten huge…You guys go for the jugu­lar every sin­gle time.” He con­tin­ued, “[You go for] the truth, you’re not afraid to hide it at all, and that’s one of the most respectable aspects of Amer­i­ca First, is you guys don’t real­ly care. And that’s cool.””

    Church Mil­i­tan­t’s activist wing — the Resis­tance net­work — is recruit­ing. Specif­i­cal­ly, recruit­ing groypers, hence the fawn­ing inter­view of groyper fig­ures like Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter back in May. An inter­view where Clod­fel­ter pitched the mes­sage of the ‘Amer­i­ca First’ move­ment rep­re­sent­ing a spir­i­tu­al bat­tle against Satan. A spir­i­tu­al bat­tle being simul­ta­ne­ous­ly waged in both the church and the Repub­li­can Par­ty. Which, we’ll recall, is awful­ly sim­i­lar to the mes­sage Nick Fuentes claimed he deliv­ered direct­ly to Don­ald Trump dur­ing that now infa­mous din­ner at Mar-a-Lago with Kanye West. In oth­er words, Nick Fuentes was at that din­ner to sell Trump on the idea of turn­ing his reelec­tion bid and the MAGA move­ment into a holy war. The same holy war Steve Ban­non and the Church Mil­i­tant net­work have been work­ing on start­ing for years now:

    ...
    Clod­fel­ter, who told Gal­lagher it was Yiannopou­los who first intro­duced him to Church Mil­i­tant, pitched Amer­i­ca First in a lan­guage that his new audi­ence was like­ly eager to hear. “It’s not like it’s the alt-right, because that is not even cool any­more, even if you want­ed it to be. And it’s also not like normie neo­con con­ser­vatism. … it’s Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist.” He went on, “The mes­sage of Amer­i­ca First is tied direct­ly to the word of God and spread­ing Chris­tian­i­ty through our nation where it’s lack­ing … every­thing we do is [a spir­i­tu­al bat­tle], we’re fight­ing demons, we’re fight­ing Satan.” Clod­fel­ter empha­sized the need to “grow the view­er base” of CozyTV, explain­ing that “a major­i­ty of white young Zoomer men would just love CozyTV — the prob­lem is, they don’t know where to go to get it.”
     
    Clod­fel­ter went on to draw a par­tic­u­lar con­nec­tion between the groyper move­ment and Catholi­cism, say­ing he’d nev­er con­sid­ered join­ing the church before get­ting involved with Amer­i­ca First. “I met peo­ple who are tru­ly devout, tru­ly liv­ing by the word and they weren’t hyp­ocrites,” he said. “They were rep­re­sent­ing Catholi­cism so well for me I was like, wow, the least I could do is go to Mass and do some research.” Now, he said, he’s study­ing for the Rite of Chris­t­ian Ini­ti­a­tion of Adults — the for­mal process by which unbap­tized adults become Catholics — and says he under­stands why Fuentes says of the groypers, “This is sort of a Catholic move­ment.”

    ...

    On his Thurs­day night livestream show, Fuentes respond­ed to the claims made in part 1 of Salon’s inves­ti­ga­tion. “You’re damn right the groypers are form­ing an alliance with the Catholics,” he exclaimed, “and you’re right we have a plan, and we are gonna take the Repub­li­can Par­ty and we are going to drag it against its will back through the doors of the church and to the altar, and we are going to bap­tize it.” Clod­fel­ter, mean­while, extolled his audi­ence to “show our love and sup­port for Church Mil­i­tant. These guys are strong, these guys are determined…yes, we’re col­lab­o­rat­ing in this effort to com­bat Satanism in Amer­i­ca, we are. Groypers are every­where.”

    ...

    As the alt-right was plan­ning its 2017 march in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, one of the most pop­u­lar places where activists did their plan­ning was a Dis­cord chat forum called the “Nick Fuentes forum,” ded­i­cat­ed to explor­ing con­nec­tions between “Unite the Right” and the Catholic Church. With­in it, hun­dreds of posters dis­cussed tra­di­tion­al­ist Catholi­cism and post­ed memes alter­nat­ing, or com­bin­ing, Cru­sades-era imagery with neo-Nazi and anti­se­mit­ic con­tent. 

    ...

    As jour­nal­ist Eric Mar­tin report­ed at the lib­er­al Chris­t­ian mag­a­zine Sojourn­ers, some posters iden­ti­fied them­selves as “Charles Cough­lin Roman Catholics,” for the 1930s pro-fas­cist priest and broad­cast­er who helped pio­neer the dem­a­gog­ic media style that is frac­tur­ing our democ­ra­cy today. Fuentes him­self has waxed nos­tal­gic about fas­cist and monar­chist regimes in Europe and Latin Amer­i­ca that were ground­ed in Catholic teach­ing, and in 2018 declared on a livestream that, “in an ide­al world,” there would be “a glob­al Catholic theoc­ra­cy” and that “the state should enforce moral­i­ty that is informed by Catholic teach­ing.” 

    ...

    But mod­er­ate and lib­er­al Catholics were appalled. “It’s such a hor­ri­fy­ing appro­pri­a­tion of Catholi­cism,” not­ed writer and researcher D.W. Laf­fer­ty in a 2020 pod­cast episode pro­duced by Where Peter Is, a mod­er­ate Catholic web­site that tracks the Catholic right. Laf­fer­ty described the new far-right aes­thet­ic as “Pepe Catholi­cism,” while George­town Uni­ver­si­ty the­olo­gian Adam Ras­mussen called it “Catholic LARP­ing”: a way for the alt-right to pre­tend they were “Knights Tem­plar fight­ing the forces of dark­ness in the deep state.”
    ...

    It’s both a move­ment-build­ing exer­cise, but also a rebrand­ing exer­cise. A rebrand­ing of the ‘Alt Right’ as a reli­gious move­ment but also a rebrand­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for fig­ures like Milo Yian­napou­los and Ali Alexan­der, who both appear to have ‘found reli­gion’ fair­ly recent­ly after spend­ing years in the pub­lic eye as far right trolls:

    ...
    As men­tioned in our first install­ment, this is all part of a broad­er pat­tern of over­lap between the far-right, includ­ing the white nation­al­ist right, with right-wing Catholi­cism. In 2017, groyper leader Milo Yian­napou­los was drummed out of many right-wing move­ments for state­ments he made min­i­miz­ing child sex abuse, and sub­se­quent­ly used his return to Catholi­cism as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to rebrand. This March he head­lined an anti-abor­tion con­ven­tion in Ohio that was blessed by the local Catholic bish­op, and in June he will be a fea­tured speak­er at a Church Mil­i­tant Resis­tance boot­camp. Cana­di­an white nation­al­ist Faith Goldy, who was dis­graced after appear­ing on the neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer, like­wise tout­ed her return to the church as part of her reha­bil­i­ta­tion. “Stop the Steal” orga­niz­er Ali Alexan­der found his way to a new audi­ence at the end of 2020 with a high­ly pub­lic con­ver­sion to Catholi­cism, as did “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Ben­nett in late 2021. They joined a core group of far-right activists who have deployed their Catholic iden­ti­ty in ser­vice of their move­ments, includ­ing Piz­za­gate provo­ca­teur-turned con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Jack Poso­biec, for­mer Trump advis­er Steve Ban­non and Fuentes him­self. 
    ...

    And as the arti­cle reminds us, this is a two-way street. At the same time the Amer­i­ca First move­ment is being infused with this reli­gious zeal, the church is expe­ri­enc­ing a flood of already-rad­i­cal­ized groypers and fel­low trav­el­ers:

    ... 
    But that influ­ence goes both ways, and as Lamb not­ed in 2020, as more and more right-wing Catholics iden­ti­fied them­selves with Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign, “Trump­ism,” in turn, “got into the church.”

    ...

    I wor­ry when­ev­er you see anti-abor­tion rhetoric mixed with anti-immi­grant rhetoric or iso­la­tion­ist for­eign pol­i­cy,” said Laf­fer­ty. “It feeds into this spread­ing pan­ic that West­ern cul­ture is dis­ap­pear­ing and immi­gra­tion is killing Chris­tian­i­ty and white hege­mo­ny. Ordi­nary Catholics who may have good inten­tions need to wake up to this — the bish­ops includ­ed. Because if we look at what’s hap­pened in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, a fringe pop­ulist ele­ment even­tu­al­ly took over. We could see the same thing in the church.” 
    ...

    That’s all part of the con­text of the infa­mous ‘I did­n’t know him’ din­ner at Mar-a-Lago. Nick Fuentes arrived at that din­ner as one of the lead­ing fig­ures in a move­ment designed to turn Trump into the divine­ly ordained fig­ure who should have a reli­gious war fought to return him to pow­er. Which, of course, fits in quite nice­ly with the ongo­ing Trump/CNP Sched­ule F‑related plot­ting. Exe­cut­ing a full-scale purge of gov­ern­ment and soci­ety of all peo­ple deemed to be dis­loy­al will be a lot eas­i­er to pull off if it’s part of a broad­er Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist cap­ture of soci­ety. And as Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter made clear back in August — three months after that two-part Salon series — an imme­di­ate full-scale purge of soci­ety is exact­ly what this move­ment has in mind. In oth­er words, this theo­crat­ic move­men­t’s open goals direct­ly over­lap with the open­ing stages of the Sched­ule F plot, when the great purge across gov­ern­ment and soci­ety has to rapid­ly play out for the plot to suc­ceed:

    Right Wing Watch

    ‘Once We Take Con­trol’: Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter Lays Out His Chris­t­ian Fas­cist Agen­da

    By Kyle Manty­la | August 22, 2022 12:30 pm

    Ear­li­er this year, far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Stew Peters gave white nation­al­ist, Chris­t­ian fas­cist Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter a night­ly pro­gram on his Stew Peters Net­work called “The Right Dis­si­dent.”

    Peters is a white nation­al­ist-pro­mot­ing broad­cast­er who, despite using his night­ly pro­gram to spread wild con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and calls for vio­lence, has man­aged to build close ties to var­i­ous far-right polit­i­cal can­di­dates and to inter­view sev­er­al elect­ed offi­cials, GOP can­di­dates, and for­mer mem­bers of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Peters clear­ly saw some­thing he liked in Clodfelter’s brand of rad­i­cal right-wing, Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism, and anti­se­mit­ic fas­cism, all of which Clod­fel­ter has open­ly pro­mot­ed five nights a week on Peters’ plat­form.

    Last Thurs­day, Clod­fel­ter used his show to call for the estab­lish­ment of a “far-right author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment” in this nation that will imprison its polit­i­cal ene­mies, estab­lish Chris­tian­i­ty as the nation­al reli­gion, and out­law all sec­u­lar edu­ca­tion.

    Once we take our coun­try back, we will have fed­er­al agents kick­ing down the doors of every trea­so­nous Demo­c­rat, every trea­so­nous glob­al­ist, every homo­sex­u­al cou­ple that has molest­ed a child, and they will be arrest­ed, and they will be sen­tenced to prison,” Clod­fel­ter declared. “I believe in a far right-author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment. No, I am not a fas­cist. No, I am not a white suprema­cist. No, I am not a Nazi. But I do believe that hier­ar­chy, struc­ture, and author­i­ty are very impor­tant. I do believe that our soci­ety needs these things in order to progress and main­tain its cul­tur­al frame­work.”

    “I believe that our soci­ety needs this in order to rid itself of the sex­u­al immoral­i­ty and bla­tant degen­er­a­cy run­ning ram­pant all through­out the coun­try,” he con­tin­ued. “Once we take con­trol, we will iden­ti­fy our ene­mies, and we will stomp them into the dirt. They will not be able to return to pow­er. We will rip them from their offices. We will rip them from their homes for being degen­er­ate liars, degen­er­ate trea­so­nous domes­tic ter­ror­ists because that is what they are.”

    “We want to take back the coun­try and reestab­lish a Christ-like nation,” Clod­fel­ter assert­ed. “A nation where the nation­al reli­gion is Chris­t­ian. A nation where the nation­al lan­guage is Eng­lish. A nation where pornog­ra­phy is banned, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is banned, and trans­gen­derism is banned. Where you will nev­er see a col­lege that isn’t a Chris­t­ian col­lege. The only col­lege accept­able that you are able to go to is a Chris­t­ian school because every school in these Unit­ed States should teach Chris­t­ian val­ues. Every school should teach the 10 Com­mand­ments in ele­men­tary school. Every school should pro­mote what it means to be a Chris­t­ian to the youth of Amer­i­ca. It can­not be any oth­er way. There should be no sec­u­lar teach­ing in the schools.”

    ...

    ———-

    “‘Once We Take Con­trol’: Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter Lays Out His Chris­t­ian Fas­cist Agen­da” By Kyle Manty­la; Right Wing Watch; 08/22/2022

    “Last Thurs­day, Clod­fel­ter used his show to call for the estab­lish­ment of a “far-right author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment” in this nation that will imprison its polit­i­cal ene­mies, estab­lish Chris­tian­i­ty as the nation­al reli­gion, and out­law all sec­u­lar edu­ca­tion.”

    A theo­crat­ic coup and the estab­lish­ment of a “far-right author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment” that will imprison all of those deemed to be ‘ene­mies’ of that new state and charged with domes­tic ter­ror­ism. That was the mes­sage shared by groyper Dal­ton Clod­fel­ter back in August. Keep in mind that this was three months after Salon pub­lished the above two-part series lay­ing out the fas­cist author­i­tar­i­an ambi­tions of this groyper/Church Mil­i­tant alliance. They aren’t even try­ing to hide these goals:

    ...
    Once we take our coun­try back, we will have fed­er­al agents kick­ing down the doors of every trea­so­nous Demo­c­rat, every trea­so­nous glob­al­ist, every homo­sex­u­al cou­ple that has molest­ed a child, and they will be arrest­ed, and they will be sen­tenced to prison,” Clod­fel­ter declared. “I believe in a far right-author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment. No, I am not a fas­cist. No, I am not a white suprema­cist. No, I am not a Nazi. But I do believe that hier­ar­chy, struc­ture, and author­i­ty are very impor­tant. I do believe that our soci­ety needs these things in order to progress and main­tain its cul­tur­al frame­work.”

    “I believe that our soci­ety needs this in order to rid itself of the sex­u­al immoral­i­ty and bla­tant degen­er­a­cy run­ning ram­pant all through­out the coun­try,” he con­tin­ued. “Once we take con­trol, we will iden­ti­fy our ene­mies, and we will stomp them into the dirt. They will not be able to return to pow­er. We will rip them from their offices. We will rip them from their homes for being degen­er­ate liars, degen­er­ate trea­so­nous domes­tic ter­ror­ists because that is what they are.”
    ...

    The groyper move­ment wants the world to know what they are plan­ning. And that’s a plan to exe­cute a fas­cist coup that will install Trump as some sort of divine­ly ordained God King. What are the odds Trump was­n’t aware of these open ‘Trump as God King’ plans dur­ing that din­ner? And even if Trump was some­how actu­al­ly unaware of who Fuentes is and what he rep­re­sents dur­ing that din­ner, what are the odds Trump has­n’t sub­se­quent­ly learned about how that Nazi every­one is upset about him hav­ing din­ner with wants to impose a fas­cist author­i­tar­i­an theo­crat­ic regime with Trump as its divine­ly ordained head? Do you think maybe Trump has learned about that yet? What do you think Trump’s response was when he first learned about Fuentes’s grand vision? And that’s all why the biggest ques­tion raised by the reports about Trump’s din­ner with Fuentes isn’t whether or not Trump knew who Fuentes was dur­ing that din­ner. Trump is obvi­ous­ly a very Nazi-friend­ly fig­ure who does­n’t have a prob­lem with hav­ing din­ner with a Nazi. The major ques­tion at this point is how effec­tive­ly will Trump keep secret his future coor­di­na­tion with this loy­al army of fas­cists who will be invalu­able dur­ing any upcom­ing ‘Sched­ule F+’ mega-purges. Along with the ques­tion of whether or not they go with an on-brand MAGA-red, or stick with the tra­di­tion­al brown shirts.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 4, 2022, 11:54 pm
  4. Welp, they tried. Sort of: The last oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-con­trolled con­gress to add addi­tion­al pro­tec­tions against future pres­i­dents uni­lat­er­al­ly rein­sti­tut­ing the same Sched­ule F scheme ini­ti­at­ed by Don­ald Trump in the final months of his admin­is­tra­tion just came and went. With­out those pro­tec­tions.

    As we saw, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled House passed a bill back in Sep­tem­ber that would bar future pres­i­dents from uni­lat­er­al­ly strip­ping fed­er­al work­ers of their civ­il ser­vice pro­tec­tions. Only 6 Repub­li­cans sup­port­ed the bill, which was­n’t par­tic­u­lar­ly sur­pris­ing giv­en the Repub­li­can-backed bill put for­ward in July that at would make the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment an at-will employ­er. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Dianne Fein­stein and Tim Kaine filed an amend­ment to the must-pass 2023 Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act (NDAA) two weeks lat­er. As a result, all hopes for some sort of action on Sched­ule F pro­tec­tions were com­ing down to the final com­pro­mise ver­sion of the NDAA ham­mered out by the House and Sen­ate. But in the end, the Sched­ule F pro­tec­tions were appar­ent­ly com­pro­mised out of the final ver­sion of the bill. Bet­ter luck next year:

    Fed­er­al Times

    NDAA omits ban on Sched­ule F, rais­ing specter of its return

    By Mol­ly Weis­ner
    Dec 8, 2022 10:43 AM

    The lat­est ver­sion of the 2023 Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act is pend­ing final approvals with­out lan­guage ban­ning future attempts at cre­at­ing Sched­ule F, an except­ed class of civ­il ser­vants who would lack cer­tain employ­ment pro­tec­tions.

    For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump made this idea infa­mous in fed­er­al gov­ern­ment cir­cles through exec­u­tive order in 2020 estab­lish­ing the Sched­ule F sys­tem, which would trans­form most wide swaths of the mer­it-based civ­il ser­vice into polit­i­cal appointees. Pres­i­dent Joe Biden can­celed the order short­ly after tak­ing office.

    The cur­rent ver­sion of the NDAA con­tains no lan­guage that pre­vents the return of Sched­ule F or an equiv­a­lent to the dis­may of some fed­er­al employ­ee groups.

    “The prospect of a return of Sched­ule F in a future admin­is­tra­tion remains very much alive,” said Ken Thomas, nation­al pres­i­dent of Nation­al Active and Retired Fed­er­al Employ­ees Asso­ci­a­tion, in a state­ment Thurs­day. “Reports indi­cate that pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls would rein­sti­tute it upon tak­ing office, or at least sup­port the pol­i­cy. Con­gress must act in the new year to head off this wor­ri­some poten­tial out­come.”

    ...

    The Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees, one of the largest fed­er­al unions, sent a let­ter to the Sen­ate urg­ing lead­ers to sup­port an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen. Dianne Fein­stein of Cal­i­for­nia that would’ve lim­it­ed fed­er­al employ­ee reclas­si­fi­ca­tions to the five except­ed ser­vice sched­ules in use pri­or to 2021.

    In Sep­tem­ber, Fein­stein, along with Sen. Tim Kaine of Vir­ginia, both Democ­rats, ini­tial­ly filed an amend­ment to the 2023 NDAA that would ban Sched­ule F.

    Two weeks before, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed the amendment’s under­ly­ing leg­is­la­tion, Pre­vent­ing a Patron­age Sys­tem Act, spon­sored by Rep. Ger­ry Con­nol­ly, (D‑Va.).

    Ulti­mate­ly, the lan­guage was includ­ed in the House-passed bill, but left out of the final final com­pro­mise Tues­day.

    Crit­ics of Sched­ule F have said there are already sim­i­lar­ly pur­posed clas­si­fi­ca­tions avail­able for the gov­ern­ment to adjust rules for employ­ees who have pol­i­cy-deter­min­ing respon­si­bil­i­ties or work con­fi­den­tial­ly with an offi­cial. One such exam­ple is Sched­ule C.

    In con­trast, the broad­ness of Sched­ule F con­cerned groups who said it would cov­er too much of the fed­er­al work­force.

    So, what hap­pens now?

    With­out for­mal laws snuff­ing out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a Sched­ule F in the future, a pres­i­dent could rein­state such an except­ed ser­vice.

    ...

    ———-

    “NDAA omits ban on Sched­ule F, rais­ing specter of its return” By Mol­ly Weis­ner; Fed­er­al Times; 12/08/2022

    “The cur­rent ver­sion of the NDAA con­tains no lan­guage that pre­vents the return of Sched­ule F or an equiv­a­lent to the dis­may of some fed­er­al employ­ee groups.”

    This was effec­tive­ly the last chance to pro­tect against future pres­i­dents from uni­lat­er­al­ly purg­ing the fed­er­al work­force of non-loy­al­ist stooges and now it appears that chance was passed by:

    ...
    “The prospect of a return of Sched­ule F in a future admin­is­tra­tion remains very much alive,” said Ken Thomas, nation­al pres­i­dent of Nation­al Active and Retired Fed­er­al Employ­ees Asso­ci­a­tion, in a state­ment Thurs­day. “Reports indi­cate that pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls would rein­sti­tute it upon tak­ing office, or at least sup­port the pol­i­cy. Con­gress must act in the new year to head off this wor­ri­some poten­tial out­come.”

    ...

    Ulti­mate­ly, the lan­guage was includ­ed in the House-passed bill, but left out of the final final com­pro­mise Tues­day.

    ...

    With­out for­mal laws snuff­ing out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a Sched­ule F in the future, a pres­i­dent could rein­state such an except­ed ser­vice.
    ...

    At this point we don’t real­ly know which Sen­a­tors played a role in pre­vent­ing this from mak­ing it into the Sen­ate’s ver­sion of the NDAA. But the fact that it was left out is the lat­est sign of just how seri­ous the entire GOP is about even­tu­al­ly imple­ment­ing some sort of Sched­ule F purge. At least that’s what we can rea­son­ably infer. Because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, 20 GOP Sen­a­tors have been threat­en­ing to hold up the bill unless there’s a full Sen­ate vote on repeal­ing the Pen­tagon’s COVID vac­cine man­dates for armed forces. It’s a reflec­tion of the fact that the pas­sage of the NDAA still requires buy in from both par­ties despite the Democ­rats con­trol­ling both cham­bers:

    The Hill

    GOP seeks to play hard­ball on annu­al defense bill

    by Ellen Mitchell — 12/04/22 5:00 PM ET

    Repub­li­cans are look­ing to play hard­ball with the annu­al defense autho­riza­tion bill to com­bat what they are call­ing “woke” mil­i­tary poli­cies, threat­en­ing to throw a wrench into efforts to pass the bill by the end of the year.  

    The GOP law­mak­ers want to insert lan­guage into the Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act (NDAA) to counter poli­cies rang­ing from the military’s vac­cine man­date to efforts to bring diver­si­ty and inclu­sion to the ranks — which they argue are weak­en­ing the mil­i­tary.

    But Demo­c­rat law­mak­ers see the GOP gam­bit as pos­tur­ing meant to whip up sup­port ahead of a new Con­gress, in which Repub­li­cans will hold a slim major­i­ty in the House, and say it won’t dis­rupt their efforts to advance the NDAA in the days ahead.  

    What’s more, House lead­ers say the bill is mov­ing ahead and soon, with a draft of nego­ti­at­ed leg­is­la­tion expect­ed to be brought to the House floor ear­ly next week. 

    “That’s been a bit overblown,” House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Smith (D‑Wash.), said of the NDAA dra­ma when asked by The Hill. 

    He added that he and the oth­er lead­ers of the two defense com­mit­tees — includ­ing his rank­ing mem­ber Rep. Mike Rogers (R‑Ala.) and Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man and rank­ing mem­ber Sen. Jack Reed (D‑R.I), and Sen. James Inhofe (R‑Okla.), respec­tive­ly — have “all been work­ing towards get­ting it done and we’re going to do it next week.” 

    Rogers sep­a­rate­ly told The Hill that a draft of the nego­ti­at­ed bill should be brought to the floor by the House by Tues­day.  

    Asked Thurs­day about some of his GOP col­leagues’ attempts to push the bill to next year, Rogers replied: “That’s not gonna hap­pen.” 

    The NDAA, a mea­sure seen as a must-pass for Con­gress every year, lays down a wide array of spend­ing pri­or­i­ties and pol­i­cy for the Defense Depart­ment. The mam­moth leg­is­la­tion includes every­thing from the military’s annu­al pay raise to the fund­ing of tanks, planes and ships to new pro­grams and per­son­nel poli­cies, and has passed every year for six decades.  

    The House and Sen­ate both passed its ver­sions of the leg­is­la­tion ear­li­er this year, and law­mak­ers from both cham­bers have since been rec­on­cil­ing the two dif­fer­ent doc­u­ments, this week strik­ing a deal to set the bud­get top line of the fis­cal 2023 NDAA at $847 bil­lion. The fig­ure jumps to $858 bil­lion when includ­ing nuclear-relat­ed pro­grams that fall under the Ener­gy Depart­ment. 

    The bill is now in the hands of par­ty lead­ers, with House Major­i­ty Leader Ste­ny Hoy­er (D‑Md.), ear­li­er this week telling reporters he was “opti­mistic” the NDAA would be passed before Christ­mas. He added, how­ev­er, there are issues in the bill that are “not nec­es­sar­i­ly nation­al secu­ri­ty relat­ed,” that may hold up the process.  

    On Fri­day Hoy­er said there were still some “out­stand­ing issues” in the leg­is­la­tion which pre­vent­ed it from being filed as of this week, Politi­co report­ed.  

    Those issues may very well be tied to decid­ing which unre­lat­ed bills could be tacked onto the leg­is­la­tion. 

    There’s also been sev­er­al, last-minute Repub­li­can efforts to stall, includ­ing a group of 20 GOP sen­a­tors who this week demand­ed a full cham­ber vote on their pro­pos­al to end the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vac­cine man­date. 

    The sen­a­tors on Wednes­day threat­ened to with­hold their votes to advance the NDAA if the cham­ber doesn’t vote on whether to end the shot order for ser­vice mem­bers, rein­state troops kicked out of the mil­i­tary for refus­ing the vac­cine and award­ing back pay to those dis­missed. 

    It’s unclear whether law­mak­ers oppos­ing the man­date will have enough mem­bers to effec­tive­ly block the NDAA in the Sen­ate, as no senior GOP lead­ers in the cham­ber have signed onto the idea as of Fri­day.  

    In the House, mean­while, House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.), in late Novem­ber urged his col­leagues to delay the NDAA until next year when the GOP con­trols the House. The shift would give Repub­li­cans more lever­age to address what they say is a “woke” cul­ture with­in the Pen­ta­gon.  

    “I’ve watched what the Democ­rats have done on many of these things, espe­cial­ly in the NDAA — the ‘wokeism’ that they want to bring in there,” McCarthy said at Nov. 22 press con­fer­ence. “I actu­al­ly believe the NDAA should hold up until the first of the year, and let’s get it right.” 

    McCarthy didn’t spec­i­fy which pro­vi­sions in the bill he con­sid­ers to be at issue, though Repub­li­cans on sev­er­al occa­sions have promised to ban­ish mil­i­tary poli­cies decried as “woke” once their major­i­ty in Con­gress is regained.  

    The areas under fire include diver­si­ty, equi­ty and inclu­sion pro­grams in the mil­i­tary ser­vices and recent pol­i­cy changes to allow dif­fer­ent uni­forms to accom­mo­date preg­nant ser­vice mem­bers or allow more hair style options for female troops and those of col­or, among oth­er changes.  

    Also attacked are ini­tia­tives inac­cu­rate­ly labeled as push­ing “crit­i­cal race the­o­ry” and efforts to root out extrem­ists in the ranks.  

    Democ­rats have since accused McCarthy of stir­ring the pot only as a stunt meant to win him sup­port for the Speaker’s gav­el.  

    McCarthy hopes to win the House speak­er­ship in the upcom­ing Jan. 3 vote on the posi­tion and needs all but three or four mem­bers of his con­fer­ence to cast their bal­lot for him.  

    ...

    ———-

    “GOP seeks to play hard­ball on annu­al defense bill” by Ellen Mitchell; The Hill; 12/04/2022

    “There’s also been sev­er­al, last-minute Repub­li­can efforts to stall, includ­ing a group of 20 GOP sen­a­tors who this week demand­ed a full cham­ber vote on their pro­pos­al to end the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vac­cine man­date.”

    As we can see, the GOP does has pow­er in these nego­ti­a­tions and 20 GOP Sen­a­tors had formed a nego­ti­at­ing block. And while it was­n’t clear if GOP lead­ers in either cham­ber were on board with their demands, it’s still a reflec­tion of the nego­ti­at­ing pow­er that GOP had going into this last-minute hag­gling:

    ...
    On Fri­day Hoy­er said there were still some “out­stand­ing issues” in the leg­is­la­tion which pre­vent­ed it from being filed as of this week, Politi­co report­ed.

    Those issues may very well be tied to decid­ing which unre­lat­ed bills could be tacked onto the leg­is­la­tion. 

    ...

    The sen­a­tors on Wednes­day threat­ened to with­hold their votes to advance the NDAA if the cham­ber doesn’t vote on whether to end the shot order for ser­vice mem­bers, rein­state troops kicked out of the mil­i­tary for refus­ing the vac­cine and award­ing back pay to those dis­missed.

    It’s unclear whether law­mak­ers oppos­ing the man­date will have enough mem­bers to effec­tive­ly block the NDAA in the Sen­ate, as no senior GOP lead­ers in the cham­ber have signed onto the idea as of Fri­day.
    ...

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, the GOP lead­ers clear­ly signed onto the idea of demand­ing a lift­ing of the Pen­ta­gon COVID vac­cine man­dates because that was one of the pro­vi­sions left out of the final com­pro­mise ver­sion. It was some­thing House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy — who is still try­ing to secure that sup­port he needs to become House Speak­er next month — was very pub­licly crow­ing about after the dust had set­tled. And while we aren’t hear­ing any pub­lic crow­ing from the GOP about the drop­ping of the Sched­ule F pro­vi­sion in the bill, the fact that it was ulti­mate­ly dropped tells us what we need to know about the pri­or­i­ty the while GOP is giv­ing to the Sched­ule F plot:

    The Hill

    House pass­es annu­al defense fund­ing bill

    by Ellen Mitchell and Mychael Schnell — 12/08/22 1:43 PM ET

    The House on Thurs­day passed the annu­al defense autho­riza­tion bill, send­ing the mam­moth, $847 bil­lion mea­sure to the Sen­ate for con­sid­er­a­tion ahead of the year-end dead­line.

    The Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act (NDAA) passed in a bipar­ti­san 350–80 vote. It was approved under sus­pen­sion of the rules, an expe­dit­ed process to pass leg­is­la­tion in the House that requires a two-thirds major­i­ty.

    “I can’t go through every sin­gle item that is in this bill, but I can tell you that just about every mem­ber of this House has some­thing in this bill that is impor­tant for pol­i­cy, impor­tant in their dis­trict,” House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Smith (D‑Wash.) said ahead of the vote. “This is impor­tant pol­i­cy that makes a huge dif­fer­ence for the peo­ple in this body and the peo­ple in this coun­try, and I’ve urged us to sup­port it.”

    The NDAA, leg­is­la­tion seen as a must-pass for Con­gress annu­al­ly, includes an $817 bil­lion top line for the Defense Depart­ment and about $30 bil­lion to fund nuclear activ­i­ties in the Depart­ment of Ener­gy.

    The bill lays out the blue­print for how the bil­lions of dol­lars will be allo­cat­ed at the Pen­ta­gon, includ­ing a 4.6 per­cent pay raise for both ser­vice mem­bers and the agency’s civil­ian work­force, new weapons pro­grams and equip­ment upgrades, and new pro­grams and per­son­nel poli­cies.

    ... 

    House lead­ers decid­ed to use the fast-track process after a last-minute push from the Con­gres­sion­al Black Cau­cus (CBC) Wednes­day night to set an accom­pa­ny­ing vote on a bill bol­ster­ing the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act, which had pre­vi­ous­ly passed through the House but stalled in the Sen­ate. The cham­ber was ini­tial­ly sched­uled to pass the defense bill on Wednes­day but punt­ed action to Thurs­day because of the CBC holdup.

    The final bill came togeth­er after months of nego­ti­a­tions between law­mak­ers of both par­ties and cham­bers, which bore vic­to­ries for those on the left and right.

    In a win for Repub­li­cans, the mea­sure includes lan­guage that repeals the COVID-19 vac­cine man­date for U.S. ser­vice mem­bers, which has been in place since August 2021.

    The con­ces­sion was seen as a sur­prise by many. The White House and Pen­ta­gon spoke out against it and sim­i­lar mea­sures to sig­nif­i­cant­ly lim­it the vac­cine man­date were vot­ed down in the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee dur­ing the bill’s markup ear­li­er this year. 

    But GOP law­mak­ers for months have spo­ken out against the pol­i­cy, argu­ing that it was a gov­ern­ment over­reach to force ser­vice mem­bers to receive the jab and claim­ing that the pol­i­cy was hurt­ing mil­i­tary recruit­ment and reten­tion. 

    Thou­sands of active-duty troops have been dis­charged since the pol­i­cy went into effect.

    House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) threat­ened to hold up the leg­is­la­tion if it did not include a roll­back of the man­date. McCarthy over the week­end told “Fox News Sun­day” that “the bill will not move” if the pol­i­cy was not lift­ed. He said he relayed the same mes­sage to Pres­i­dent Biden dur­ing a meet­ing at the White House last week with the four con­gres­sion­al lead­ers.

    ...

    ———–

    “House pass­es annu­al defense fund­ing bill” by Ellen Mitchell and Mychael Schnell; The Hill; 12/08/2022

    “The final bill came togeth­er after months of nego­ti­a­tions between law­mak­ers of both par­ties and cham­bers, which bore vic­to­ries for those on the left and right.”

    Yes, the NDAA was a thor­ough­ly bipar­ti­san affair. Each side had lever­age. And as we can see, the GOP man­aged to extract a num­ber of last-minute con­ces­sions, includ­ing the repeal of the Pen­ta­gon COVID-vac­cine man­date:

    ...
    The Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act (NDAA) passed in a bipar­ti­san 350–80 vote. It was approved under sus­pen­sion of the rules, an expe­dit­ed process to pass leg­is­la­tion in the House that requires a two-thirds major­i­ty.

    ... 

    In a win for Repub­li­cans, the mea­sure includes lan­guage that repeals the COVID-19 vac­cine man­date for U.S. ser­vice mem­bers, which has been in place since August 2021.

    The con­ces­sion was seen as a sur­prise by many. The White House and Pen­ta­gon spoke out against it and sim­i­lar mea­sures to sig­nif­i­cant­ly lim­it the vac­cine man­date were vot­ed down in the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee dur­ing the bill’s markup ear­li­er this year. 

    ...

    House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) threat­ened to hold up the leg­is­la­tion if it did not include a roll­back of the man­date. McCarthy over the week­end told “Fox News Sun­day” that “the bill will not move” if the pol­i­cy was not lift­ed. He said he relayed the same mes­sage to Pres­i­dent Biden dur­ing a meet­ing at the White House last week with the four con­gres­sion­al lead­ers.
    ...

    The repeal of the Pen­ta­gon COVID vac­cine man­date was a high-pro­file win for Kevin McCarthy. But it obvi­ous­ly was­n’t the GOP’s only win. It’s hard to imag­ine the dis­ap­pear­ance of Sched­ule F at the end of these nego­ti­a­tions was­n’t being qui­et­ly cel­e­brat­ed too. Includ­ing qui­et cel­e­bra­tions from the entire CNP net­work active­ly work­ing on this grow­ing ongo­ing plot. And pre­sum­ably Nick Fuente’s ‘Groyper’ army and the thou­sands of the oth­er aspir­ing fas­cists who are get­ting ready to goos­es­tep into the gov­ern­ment on a Sched­ule F red car­pet one of these years.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 8, 2022, 11:27 pm
  5. The warn­ings keep com­ing. They aren’t hid­ing it. Well, ok, in this case they’re kind of hid­ing it: Axios just pub­lished anoth­er piece describ­ing the ongo­ing Sched­ule F efforts in antic­i­pa­tion of 2025 and a new Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion. And yet, curi­ous­ly, there’s no actu­al men­tion of the term “Sched­ule F” any­where in the piece. It’s com­plete­ly obvi­ous that it’s the Sched­ule F plot that the arti­cle is describ­ing, but the term “Sched­ule F” is com­plete­ly absent. Instead, their goals are described more vague­ly as sim­ply ‘being pre­pared this time’ and avoid­ing the dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion and par­ty divi­sions that shaped the ear­ly months of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy in 2017.

    That’s what makes this arti­cle so inter­est­ing. It’s the lat­est arti­cle to make clear that the Sched­ule F plot is going to be part of the next 2024 GOP pres­i­den­t’s ear­ly agen­da whether that’s Don­ald Trump, Ron Desan­tis, or some­one else. Sched­ule F is the par­ty estab­lish­men­t’s plan now. And yet the arti­cle simul­ta­ne­ous­ly feels like a fog­gy rebrand­ing of the Sched­ule F plot as sim­ply ‘prepa­ra­tions to avoid the chaos and par­ty dis­uni­ty of 2017.’ So it’s worth not­ing that at the same time the GOP appears to be dou­bling and tripling down on the Sched­ule F plot, it’s also build­ing up a Sched­ule F cov­er sto­ry:

    Axios

    D.C.‘s emerg­ing MAGA machine

    Lach­lan Markay
    Dec 21, 2022 — Pol­i­tics & Pol­i­cy

    If Don­ald Trump is once again elect­ed pres­i­dent, he will enjoy a key asset absent from his 2017 White House tran­si­tion: a sprawl­ing infra­struc­ture already prepar­ing to staff a new admin­is­tra­tion and imme­di­ate­ly enact major poli­cies.

    Why it mat­ters: No such appa­ra­tus devot­ed to Trump’s polit­i­cal brand exist­ed in 2017. The frac­tious con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment of the time — split among Trump loy­al­ists, reluc­tant hang­ers-on and out­spo­ken oppo­nents — fueled the inter­nal dys­func­tion that plagued his ear­ly admin­is­tra­tion.

    * Few such divi­sions would exist in a sec­ond Trump term — or a first for a like-mind­ed Repub­li­can such as Flori­da Gov. Ron DeSan­tis.

    * If an “Amer­i­ca First” can­di­date pre­vails in 2024, a con­stel­la­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive groups — many cre­at­ed since Trump left office — hopes to cement that ide­o­log­i­cal brand in the pol­i­cy and per­son­nel make­up of the new admin­is­tra­tion.

    What they’re say­ing:There was none of that [in 2017]. None of it,” says Brooke Rollins, Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil chief and the pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute. “The next time around ... there will be a whole new game in town that will be pre­pared for that pres­i­den­cy.”

    * “A big part of that is hav­ing the per­son­nel ready, the pol­i­cy ready and the process under­stood so that on Day 1 of a new admin­is­tra­tion, no mat­ter who the pres­i­dent is, we will have 2,500 peo­ple ready to report to work to begin to imple­ment that agen­da,” Rollins told Axios in an inter­view.

    What’s hap­pen­ing: Annu­al tax fil­ings for AFPI and oth­er groups in the net­work have trick­led in since last month, pro­vid­ing the first glimpses at the struc­tures and finances of D.C.‘s MAGA infra­struc­ture.

    * Togeth­er, the groups are pour­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars into what effec­tive­ly amounts to an admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing.

    * Many of the groups are inte­gral to bur­geon­ing efforts by Trump allies to remake the fed­er­al civ­il ser­vice to align with an “Amer­i­ca First” pol­i­cy agen­da — includ­ing by purg­ing thou­sands of bureau­crats and replac­ing them with loy­al­ists

    The big pic­ture: The orga­ni­za­tions gen­er­al­ly fall into three camps. Some sprout­ed from the rem­nants of an explic­it­ly pro-Trump appa­ra­tus cre­at­ed dur­ing his term.

    * AFPI is the new non­prof­it pol­i­cy arm of Amer­i­ca First Works, an advo­ca­cy group that pre­vi­ous­ly backed Trump under the moniker Amer­i­ca First Poli­cies. It’s staffed by dozens of his for­mer Cab­i­net sec­re­taries and senior aides.

    * In June, AFPI unveiled an effort, the Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Ini­tia­tive, to devel­op strate­gies for a future pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion. It’s led by Michael Rigas, the for­mer act­ing head of Trump’s Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment.

    * AFPI brought in near­ly $15 mil­lion in 2021, tax fil­ings show. Rollins told Axios that the group now employs about 160 peo­ple and is oper­at­ing on a $27 mil­lion bud­get this year.

    Oth­ers are pur­su­ing a broad­er ide­o­log­i­cal but also have deep ties to Trump­world and are aligned with his polit­i­cal brand.

    * The Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute, led by for­mer Sen. Jim DeMint (R‑S.C.) and ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Mead­ows, has incu­bat­ed and finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed a net­work of allied groups.

    * They include orga­ni­za­tions found­ed by for­mer Trump bud­get chief Russ Vought, for­mer top pol­i­cy aide Stephen Miller and for­mer Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment sec­re­tary Ben Car­son.

    * Amer­i­can Moment, a new CPI-backed non­prof­it, is explic­it­ly devot­ed to cul­ti­vat­ing “Amer­i­ca First” tal­ent, in part to staff a future admin­is­tra­tion.

    * CPI’s bud­get grew sub­stan­tial­ly in 2021, tax fil­ings show: Dona­tions to the group shot up from $7.1 mil­lion in 2020 to more than $45 mil­lion last year — boost­ed by a $1 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion from Trump’s lead­er­ship PAC.

    Lega­cy con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions such as the Her­itage Foun­da­tion are also seen as key to a future GOP pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

    * Her­itage heav­i­ly influ­enced the ear­ly Trump admin­is­tra­tion, and Trump allies say they expect the group, led by new pres­i­dent Kevin Roberts, to play a larg­er role in a sec­ond Trump term — or that of anoth­er “Amer­i­ca First” Repub­li­can.

    * Her­itage is lead­ing the new 2025 Pres­i­den­tial Tran­si­tion Project, an effort, orga­nized with dozens of oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive groups, “to ensure a suc­cess­ful admin­is­tra­tion begins in Jan­u­ary 2025 ... [w]ith the right con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions and prop­er­ly vet­ted and trained per­son­nel to imple­ment them.”

    * Her­itage plans to pub­lish the ninth edi­tion of its “Man­date for Lead­er­ship” series next spring, geared not just toward influ­enc­ing the pol­i­cy tenor of the GOP pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, but also sketch­ing out a mod­el for an effec­tive tran­si­tion.

    Between the lines: Under­gird­ing the larg­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment prepa­ra­tions for 2025 is a recog­ni­tion that the lack of this sort of infra­struc­ture sub­stan­tial­ly hob­bled the Trump admin­is­tra­tion from the start.

    ...

    ————

    “D.C.‘s emerg­ing MAGA machine” by Lach­lan Markay; Axios; 12/21/2022

    “Togeth­er, the groups are pour­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars into what effec­tive­ly amounts to an admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing”

    An admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing. That’s what’s being built in antic­i­pa­tion of 2025. The lessons of Trump’s tumul­tuous 2017 open­ing year have been learned.

    And while the term “Sched­ule F” nev­er appears in this piece, the fact that it’s the same fig­ures talk­ing about the same enti­ties, like AFPI pres­i­dent Brooke Rollins and Michael Rigas — who Rollins brought in to run AFPI’s “2025 per­son­nel project” - that makes it abun­dant­ly clear that the Sched­ule F plot is at the cen­ter of this elab­o­rate orga­niz­ing effort all those peo­ple are talk­ing about in this piece. And all of those key fig­ures are will­ing to talk about it to the press. But for what­ev­er rea­son, they are avoid­ing any direct ref­er­ence to “Sched­ule F”. It’s not a par­tic­u­lar­ly sur­pris­ing from of appar­ent self-cen­sor­ship. Every­thing we’ve learned about the Sched­ule F plot so far indi­cate a vast­ly ambi­tious plan to purge the fed­er­al work­force of any non-MAGA loy­al­ists. That may not be some­thing this group wants the pub­lic to be ful­ly aware of head­ing into the 2024 elec­tion:

    ...
    What they’re say­ing: “There was none of that [in 2017]. None of it,” says Brooke Rollins, Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil chief and the pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­ca First Pol­i­cy Insti­tute. “The next time around ... there will be a whole new game in town that will be pre­pared for that pres­i­den­cy.”

    * “A big part of that is hav­ing the per­son­nel ready, the pol­i­cy ready and the process under­stood so that on Day 1 of a new admin­is­tra­tion, no mat­ter who the pres­i­dent is, we will have 2,500 peo­ple ready to report to work to begin to imple­ment that agen­da,” Rollins told Axios in an inter­view.

    What’s hap­pen­ing: Annu­al tax fil­ings for AFPI and oth­er groups in the net­work have trick­led in since last month, pro­vid­ing the first glimpses at the struc­tures and finances of D.C.‘s MAGA infra­struc­ture.

    ...

    * AFPI is the new non­prof­it pol­i­cy arm of Amer­i­ca First Works, an advo­ca­cy group that pre­vi­ous­ly backed Trump under the moniker Amer­i­ca First Poli­cies. It’s staffed by dozens of his for­mer Cab­i­net sec­re­taries and senior aides.

    * In June, AFPI unveiled an effort, the Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Ini­tia­tive, to devel­op strate­gies for a future pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion. It’s led by Michael Rigas, the for­mer act­ing head of Trump’s Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment.

    * AFPI brought in near­ly $15 mil­lion in 2021, tax fil­ings show. Rollins told Axios that the group now employs about 160 peo­ple and is oper­at­ing on a $27 mil­lion bud­get this year.

    ...

    Between the lines: Under­gird­ing the larg­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment prepa­ra­tions for 2025 is a recog­ni­tion that the lack of this sort of infra­struc­ture sub­stan­tial­ly hob­bled the Trump admin­is­tra­tion from the start.
    ...

    And then the arti­cle goes on to list the same group of CPI spin­offs involved with this like Amer­i­can Moment and ‘lega­cy’ groups like the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. This arti­cle is describ­ing the same over­all Sched­ule F effort. just with­out any ref­er­ences to Sched­ule F for some rea­son:

    ...
    Oth­ers are pur­su­ing a broad­er ide­o­log­i­cal but also have deep ties to Trump­world and are aligned with his polit­i­cal brand.

    * The Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute, led by for­mer Sen. Jim DeMint (R‑S.C.) and ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Mead­ows, has incu­bat­ed and finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed a net­work of allied groups.

    * They include orga­ni­za­tions found­ed by for­mer Trump bud­get chief Russ Vought, for­mer top pol­i­cy aide Stephen Miller and for­mer Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment sec­re­tary Ben Car­son.

    * Amer­i­can Moment, a new CPI-backed non­prof­it, is explic­it­ly devot­ed to cul­ti­vat­ing “Amer­i­ca First” tal­ent, in part to staff a future admin­is­tra­tion.

    ...

    Lega­cy con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions such as the Her­itage Foun­da­tion are also seen as key to a future GOP pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

    * Her­itage heav­i­ly influ­enced the ear­ly Trump admin­is­tra­tion, and Trump allies say they expect the group, led by new pres­i­dent Kevin Roberts, to play a larg­er role in a sec­ond Trump term — or that of anoth­er “Amer­i­ca First” Repub­li­can.

    * Her­itage is lead­ing the new 2025 Pres­i­den­tial Tran­si­tion Project, an effort, orga­nized with dozens of oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive groups, “to ensure a suc­cess­ful admin­is­tra­tion begins in Jan­u­ary 2025 ... [w]ith the right con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions and prop­er­ly vet­ted and trained per­son­nel to imple­ment them.”
    ...

    An “admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing” staffed with “prop­er­ly vet­ted and trained per­son­nel to imple­ment them.” That’s the new spin we’re get­ting. Sched­ule F isn’t a plan to chaot­i­cal­ly purge of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment of its pro­fes­sion­al work­force and replace them with loy­al­ist cronies who will imple­ment any pol­i­cy no mat­ter how ille­gal or uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. No, no, it’s a plan to avoid chaos. Which, in fair­ness, is at least part­ly true. When you’re over­all plan involves imple­ment­ing a gov­ern­ment purge in antic­i­pa­tion of imple­ment­ing a rad­i­cal agen­da with min­i­mal bureau­crat­ic resis­tance, purg­ing the gov­ern­ment of non-loy­al­ist who might stand in the way of that rad­i­cal agen­da will indeed avoid some chaos. At least help avoid the bureau­crat­ic chaos we can oth­er­wise expect from this rad­i­cal agen­da. Not so much the socioe­co­nom­ic chaot­ic fall­out part of the agen­da.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 25, 2022, 6:32 pm
  6. He did it: Kevin McCarthy has achieved his long-held ambi­tion. He final­ly man­aged to live the dream late Fri­day night and become the new­ly elect­ed Speak­er of the House. All it took was 14 failed votes. Along with all the con­ces­sions McCarthy had to make to the ‘Free­dom Cau­cus’ group of GOP hold­outs. Con­ces­sions that, as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, could end up mak­ing a default on the US debt a near inevitabil­i­ty when the debt ceil­ing comes up for renew­al lat­er this year. Or hand­ing the Free­dom Cau­cus the pow­er to trig­ger a new speak­er­ship vote, leav­ing McCarthy with a per­pet­u­al ‘Nev­er Kevin’ Sword of Damacles hang­ing over his every deci­sion as speak­er.

    Kevin won his speak­er­ship, but it’s obvi­ous to all observers who actu­al­ly won the great Nev­er Kevin intra-GOP show­down of the last week and it was­n’t Kevin McCarthy. At this point the Free­dom Cau­cus is being treat­ed less like a seg­ment of the GOP House cau­cus and more like a Euro­pean-style par­lia­men­tary coali­tion part­ner. Which, as we’ll see, was exact­ly the plan. The CNP’s plan.

    Yep, as we should now expect, the CNP’s hands were all over the events that played out last week and left the US House cap­tive in the hands of a rad­i­cal cau­cus that is demand­ing a ‘default before more debt’ stance on the nation­al debt. As we’re going to see, not only was the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ group of House Repub­li­cans spot­ted meet­ing at the CNP’s Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI) DC head­quar­ters on Fri­day morn­ing — the day when the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ cau­cus effec­tive­ly won show­down — but this same group has been reg­u­lar­ly hold­ing meet­ings there for months.

    And it turns out this same ‘Nev­er Kevin’ group of House Repub­li­cans held a meet­ing with a four-per­son pan­el just one week after the elec­tion where they were effec­tive­ly told to pur­sue this exact strat­e­gy of forc­ing McCarthy to grant them enor­mous con­ces­sions for their sup­port. That pan­el, orga­nized by Rep. Andy Big­gs, con­sist­ed of Paul Teller, Ed Cor­ri­g­an, Rachel Bovard, and Mark Mead­ows.

    Beyond being a co-founder of the House Free­dom Cau­cus in 2015, Mark Mead­ows infa­mous­ly went on to join the CPI as a senior fel­low almost imme­di­ate­ly after leav­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2021. And as we saw with the release of a trove of Jan 6 text-mes­sages, Mead­ows had help with his pre-insur­rec­tion coor­di­nat­ing. CPI help, which was serv­ing as some­thing of a head­quar­ters for mem­bers of con­gress who were try­ing to over­turn the elec­tion results.

    Ed Cor­ri­g­an worked at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and was a mem­ber of Trump’s 2016 tran­si­tion team before becom­ing the CPI’s CEO. As we’ve seen, Cor­ri­g­an’s expe­ri­ence work­ing on staffing the Trump White House is now get­ting applied to the CPI’s ongo­ing Sched­ule F schemes. Cor­ri­g­an also report­ed­ly held 5‑week-long leg­isla­tive boot camps in 2021, co-taught with CPI Senior Pol­i­cy Direc­tor Rachel Bovard. So Mead­ows, Cor­ri­g­an, and Bovard are all CPI senior offi­cers.

    Paul Tellers does­n’t appear to be CPI senior offi­cer, but he’s a fan. The for­mer direc­tor of the influ­en­tial Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee and the exec­u­tive direc­tor of an advo­ca­cy group that serves as Mike Pence’s polit­i­cal oper­a­tion “Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Free­dom” (AAF), Teller has pub­licly gushed about anoth­er ‘AAF’ enti­ty, the Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion, which hap­pens to be anoth­er CPI off­shoot. And here Teller was as the only non-CPI mem­ber of four-per­son pan­el advis­ing the House Free­dom cau­cus ‘Nev­er Kevin’ hold­outs to do exact­ly what they just did.

    And as we should expect, at least three of those four pan­elists at that Novem­ber 14 event are CNP mem­bers: Teller, Bovard, and Cor­ri­g­an.

    But these weren’t the only senior CNP/CPI fig­ures push­ing this same ‘Nev­er Kevin’ strat­e­gy last week. As the Yahoo News arti­cle excerpt below notes, a let­ter pub­lished on Jan 4 last week with 72 sig­na­tures call­ing on House Repub­li­cans to join the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ cau­cus was co-signed by CPI-cofounder Jim DeMint, Cle­ta Mitchell, Russ Vought, and Gin­ni Thomas. Mitchell heads the CPI’s ‘elec­tion integri­ty’ efforts to jus­ti­fy over­turn­ing elec­tions while Vought is lead­ing the CPI ongo­ing Sched­ule F work through the Cen­ter for Renew­ing Amer­i­ca (CRA) CPI spin­off. And Gin­ni Thomas, as a mem­ber of the board of CNP Action, the CNP’s lob­by­ing arm, remains a key orga­niz­er in DC for CNP pri­or­i­ties. And, of course, Mitchell, Thomas, and DeMint are on the leaked CNP mem­ber­ship list, along with Vought’s wife Mary Vought. And that’s just a sam­ple of the CNP/CPI fig­ures who signed the let­ter. Rough­ly 50 CNP/CPI sig­na­tures in all. That’s who was telling the House Repub­li­cans to hold out and refuse to stand with Kevin McCarthy, at the same time their fel­low CPI mem­bers were advis­ing them to hold out for spe­cial pow­ers.

    And it worked. The CNP/CPI strat­e­gy laid out at that Novem­ber 14 pan­el dis­cus­sion worked. They got the pow­er to trig­ger a debt default if they don’t get what they want in the upcom­ing debt ceil­ing nego­ti­a­tions. They have the pow­er to hold the econ­o­my hostage. It’s either going to be mas­sive cuts to gov­ern­ment pro­grams they hate or they’ll blow it all up. That’s what the future promis­es. And if you don’t think this group is insane enough to blow it all up, think about Jan 6 and ask if they were crazy enough to do that. Because it’s the same group:

    The New York Times

    Speak­er Dra­ma Rais­es New Fears on Debt Lim­it

    An embold­ened con­ser­v­a­tive flank and con­ces­sions made to win votes could lead to a pro­tract­ed stand­off on crit­i­cal fis­cal issues, risk­ing eco­nom­ic pain.

    By Jim Tanker­s­ley
    Jan. 7, 2023 Updat­ed 2:56 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON — Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin McCarthy of Cal­i­for­nia final­ly secured the House speak­er­ship in a dra­mat­ic vote end­ing around 12:30 a.m. Sat­ur­day, but the dys­func­tion in his par­ty and the deal he struck to win over hold­out Repub­li­cans also raised the risks of per­sis­tent polit­i­cal grid­lock that could desta­bi­lize the Amer­i­can finan­cial sys­tem.

    Econ­o­mists, Wall Street ana­lysts and polit­i­cal observers are warn­ing that the con­ces­sions he made to fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tives could make it very dif­fi­cult for Mr. McCarthy to muster the votes to raise the debt lim­it — or even put such a mea­sure to a vote. That could pre­vent Con­gress from doing the basic tasks of keep­ing the gov­ern­ment open, pay­ing the country’s bills and avoid­ing default on America’s tril­lions of dol­lars in debt.

    The speak­er­ship bat­tle that spanned more than four days and 15 rounds of votes sug­gest­ed Pres­i­dent Biden and Con­gress could be on track lat­er this year for the most per­ilous debt-lim­it debate since 2011, when for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and a new Repub­li­can major­i­ty in the House near­ly default­ed on the nation’s debt before cut­ting an 11th-hour deal.

    “If every­thing we’re see­ing is a symp­tom of a total­ly splin­tered House Repub­li­can con­fer­ence that is going to be unable to come togeth­er with 218 votes on vir­tu­al­ly any issue, it tells you that the odds of get­ting to the 11th hour or the last minute or what­ev­er are very high,” Alec Phillips, the chief polit­i­cal econ­o­mist for Gold­man Sachs Research, said in an inter­view Fri­day.

    The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment spends far more mon­ey each year than it receives in rev­enues, pro­duc­ing a bud­get deficit that is pro­ject­ed to aver­age in excess of $1 tril­lion a year for the next decade. Those deficits will add to a nation­al debt that topped $31 tril­lion last year.

    Fed­er­al law puts a lim­it on how much the gov­ern­ment can bor­row. But it does not require the gov­ern­ment to bal­ance its bud­get. That means law­mak­ers must peri­od­i­cal­ly pass laws to raise the bor­row­ing lim­it to avoid a sit­u­a­tion in which the gov­ern­ment is unable to pay all of its bills, jeop­ar­diz­ing pay­ments includ­ing mil­i­tary salaries, Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits and debts to hold­ers of gov­ern­ment bonds. Gold­man Sachs researchers esti­mate Con­gress will like­ly need to raise the debt lim­it some­time around August to stave off such a sce­nario.

    Rais­ing the lim­it was once rou­tine but has become become increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult over the past few decades, with Repub­li­cans using the cap as a cud­gel to force spend­ing reduc­tions. Their lever­age stems from the poten­tial dam­age to the econ­o­my if the lim­it is not increased. Lift­ing the debt lim­it does not autho­rize any new spend­ing; it just allows the Unit­ed States to finance exist­ing oblig­a­tions. If that cap is not lift­ed, the gov­ern­ment would be unable to pay all of its bills, which include salaries for mil­i­tary mem­bers and Social Secu­ri­ty pay­ments.

    The excep­tion to the debt-lim­it dra­ma was the four years of Don­ald J. Trump’s pres­i­den­cy, when Repub­li­cans large­ly aban­doned their push to tie increas­es in the lim­it to cuts in fed­er­al spend­ing. In 2021, Sen­ate Repub­li­cans clashed with Mr. Biden as the dead­line for rais­ing the lim­it approached, but those law­mak­ers ulti­mate­ly helped Democ­rats pass a law increas­ing the cap.

    Some Democ­rats pushed to avoid this sce­nario last year, when it became clear that their par­ty would like­ly lose at least one cham­ber of Con­gress. They hoped to raise the lim­it again in the lame-duck ses­sion of Con­gress after the Novem­ber elec­tions that deliv­ered House con­trol to Repub­li­cans, to avoid any chance of a default before the 2024 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. But the effort nev­er gained trac­tion.

    As a result, the next round of debt-lim­it brinkman­ship could be the most fraught on record — as evi­denced by the bat­tle over the speak­er­ship. Con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­cans have already made clear that they would not pass a debt-lim­it increase with­out sig­nif­i­cant spend­ing curbs, like­ly includ­ing cuts to both spend­ing on the mil­i­tary and on domes­tic issues not relat­ed to nation­al defense.

    Their pow­er stems from the fact that Repub­li­cans hold a more nar­row major­i­ty than they did fol­low­ing the 2010 midterms, which empow­ered the con­ser­v­a­tive hold­outs who opposed Mr. McCarthy. Among that group’s demands were a push for steep cuts in fed­er­al spend­ing and a bal­anc­ing of the fed­er­al bud­get with­in a decade with­out rais­ing tax­es.

    “Is he will­ing to shut the gov­ern­ment down rather than raise the debt ceil­ing?” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ralph Nor­man of South Car­oli­na, who was one of 20 Repub­li­cans to ini­tial­ly vote against Mr. McCarthy on the House floor, recent­ly told reporters. “That’s a non-nego­tiable item.”

    Mr. McCarthy appeared to agree to those demands, pledg­ing to allow open debate on spend­ing bills and to not raise the debt lim­it with­out major cuts — includ­ing efforts to reduce spend­ing on so-called manda­to­ry pro­grams, which include Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare — in a deal that brought many hold­outs, includ­ing Mr. Nor­man, into his camp.

    If the speak­er vio­lat­ed that deal, he could risk being over­thrown by his cau­cus — a sin­gle law­mak­er could force a vote to oust Mr. McCarthy, under the terms of the agree­ment. But Mr. Biden and his party’s lead­ers in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate have vowed to fight those cuts, par­tic­u­lar­ly to social safe­ty net pro­grams. That could mean a stand­off that goes on until the gov­ern­ment runs out of mon­ey to pay its bills.

    Staunch bud­get hawks in Wash­ing­ton have long argued that the Unit­ed States needs to stop spend­ing — and bor­row­ing — so much mon­ey and that the nation can­not afford its long-term debt. They have pushed for a vari­ety of ways to reduce the growth in long-term spend­ing, includ­ing cuts to health care for the poor and for old­er Amer­i­cans. And many have called for end­ing some tax breaks while ensur­ing that the wealth­i­est and cor­po­ra­tions pay more.

    Yet many of those fis­cal hawks have called the Repub­li­can spend­ing demands reck­less and like­ly to pro­duce stale­mates on key fis­cal issues.

    “Their spe­cif­ic ask of bal­anc­ing the bud­get in 10 years is just total­ly unre­al­is­tic. It would take $11 tril­lion in sav­ings,” said Maya MacGuineas, pres­i­dent of the Com­mit­tee for a Respon­si­ble Fed­er­al Bud­get in Wash­ing­ton, which has long pushed law­mak­ers to reduce future deficits through spend­ing cuts and tax increas­es.

    “I want to save more mon­ey than a lot of peo­ple,” Ms. MacGuineas said. “But what they’re demand­ing is just not achiev­able.”

    Hurtling toward a dead­line for rais­ing the debt lim­it would sow chaos in finan­cial mar­kets, includ­ing for stocks and Trea­sury bonds, Mr. Phillips said. If Con­gress failed to raise the debt lim­it and the gov­ern­ment became unable to bor­row more mon­ey, Mr. Phillips said, Amer­i­ca would suf­fer a sud­den decrease in fed­er­al spend­ing equiv­a­lent to as much as one-tenth of all dai­ly eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty.

    “This does not feel like a false alarm,” he said.

    In 2011, Repub­li­cans and Mr. Oba­ma agreed on a deal to raise the debt lim­it that also imposed future lim­its on domes­tic spend­ing increas­es. Ms. MacGuineas, Mr. Phillips and oth­er ana­lysts expressed skep­ti­cism that nego­ti­a­tions between Mr. Biden and House Repub­li­cans would do the same this time, in part because the fac­tion that had blocked Mr. McCarthy’s ascent appeared unwill­ing to com­pro­mise for sig­nif­i­cant­ly more mod­est con­ces­sions from Democ­rats.

    Admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials have giv­en no indi­ca­tion that they would nego­ti­ate with Repub­li­cans over a debt-lim­it increase at all — nor that they were prepar­ing to act uni­lat­er­al­ly to bypass the debt ceil­ing, as some pro­gres­sives have pushed for, in the event of a House speak­er refus­ing to put a debt-lim­it increase to a vote with­out steep spend­ing cuts.

    ...

    Mod­er­ate law­mak­ers have already begun float­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties for how the House might raise the lim­it. One long-shot idea: a so-called dis­charge peti­tion signed by a major­i­ty of the House to force a vote on a bill. A move of that kind would pre­sum­ably rely almost entire­ly on Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes with a few Repub­li­cans join­ing in. But that out­come is far from guar­an­teed; it would require exten­sive coor­di­na­tion by both sides and expose defect­ing Repub­li­cans to pun­ish­ment and pri­ma­ry chal­lenges.

    Still, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bri­an Fitz­patrick, Repub­li­can of Penn­syl­va­nia, embraced the pos­si­bil­i­ty of such a com­pro­mise this past week in an inter­view with CNN. “There is a num­ber of options to cir­cum­vent lead­er­ship,” he said. “There is not a ton. But there are options at our dis­pos­al.”

    ———-

    “Speak­er Dra­ma Rais­es New Fears on Debt Lim­it” by Jim Tanker­s­ley; The New York Times; 01/07/2023

    Econ­o­mists, Wall Street ana­lysts and polit­i­cal observers are warn­ing that the con­ces­sions he made to fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tives could make it very dif­fi­cult for Mr. McCarthy to muster the votes to raise the debt lim­it — or even put such a mea­sure to a vote. That could pre­vent Con­gress from doing the basic tasks of keep­ing the gov­ern­ment open, pay­ing the country’s bills and avoid­ing default on America’s tril­lions of dol­lars in debt.”

    Oh are we ever f#$%ed this time: Kevin McCarthy made so many promis­es to the rad­i­cals in the ‘Free­dom Cau­cus’ that there’s a good chance he’s may even going to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring the annu­al debt ceil­ing leg­is­la­tion to the House floor. That’s how much he had to give up. Unless he wants to court an ouster vote. In oth­er words, the full faith and cred­it of the US gov­ern­ment is kind of up to Kevin McCarthy’s will­ing­ness to get oust­ed:

    ...
    Rais­ing the lim­it was once rou­tine but has become become increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult over the past few decades, with Repub­li­cans using the cap as a cud­gel to force spend­ing reduc­tions. Their lever­age stems from the poten­tial dam­age to the econ­o­my if the lim­it is not increased. Lift­ing the debt lim­it does not autho­rize any new spend­ing; it just allows the Unit­ed States to finance exist­ing oblig­a­tions. If that cap is not lift­ed, the gov­ern­ment would be unable to pay all of its bills, which include salaries for mil­i­tary mem­bers and Social Secu­ri­ty pay­ments.

    ...

    As a result, the next round of debt-lim­it brinkman­ship could be the most fraught on record — as evi­denced by the bat­tle over the speak­er­ship. Con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­cans have already made clear that they would not pass a debt-lim­it increase with­out sig­nif­i­cant spend­ing curbs, like­ly includ­ing cuts to both spend­ing on the mil­i­tary and on domes­tic issues not relat­ed to nation­al defense.

    Their pow­er stems from the fact that Repub­li­cans hold a more nar­row major­i­ty than they did fol­low­ing the 2010 midterms, which empow­ered the con­ser­v­a­tive hold­outs who opposed Mr. McCarthy. Among that group’s demands were a push for steep cuts in fed­er­al spend­ing and a bal­anc­ing of the fed­er­al bud­get with­in a decade with­out rais­ing tax­es.

    Is he will­ing to shut the gov­ern­ment down rather than raise the debt ceil­ing?” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ralph Nor­man of South Car­oli­na, who was one of 20 Repub­li­cans to ini­tial­ly vote against Mr. McCarthy on the House floor, recent­ly told reporters. “That’s a non-nego­tiable item.”

    Mr. McCarthy appeared to agree to those demands, pledg­ing to allow open debate on spend­ing bills and to not raise the debt lim­it with­out major cuts — includ­ing efforts to reduce spend­ing on so-called manda­to­ry pro­grams, which include Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare — in a deal that brought many hold­outs, includ­ing Mr. Nor­man, into his camp.

    If the speak­er vio­lat­ed that deal, he could risk being over­thrown by his cau­cus — a sin­gle law­mak­er could force a vote to oust Mr. McCarthy, under the terms of the agree­ment. But Mr. Biden and his party’s lead­ers in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate have vowed to fight those cuts, par­tic­u­lar­ly to social safe­ty net pro­grams. That could mean a stand­off that goes on until the gov­ern­ment runs out of mon­ey to pay its bills.
    ...

    Also, when you see Ralph Nor­man list­ed among those demand­ing that McCarthy show a will­ing­ness to “shut the gov­ern­ment down rather than raise the debt ceil­ing”, recall how we learned last month that Nor­man was tex­ting Mark Mead­ows on Jan­u­ary 17, 2021 implor­ing then-Pres­i­dent Trump to declare mar­tial law. Flash for­ward two years and we find Nor­man among the big win­ners in the ‘pro-default’ cau­cus that just won the show­down over the House speak­er­ship. It’s a reminder that we’re like­ly going to find heavy over­lap between the pro-insur­rec­tion crowd and the pro-debt-default crowd. It’s the same crowd, out to break the sys­tem one way or anoth­er.

    So as the US careens toward a debt default cri­sis lat­er this year, it’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind that what just tran­spired was­n’t sim­ply a pro­duc­tion of that small group of GOP hold-outs. It was a CNP pro­duc­tion chan­neled through the CPI. Yep, the enti­ties that played a still-under­ap­pre­ci­at­ed role in foment­ing the events of Jan­u­ary 6 are behind the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ show­down.

    That’s the pic­ture laid out in the fol­low­ing Grid News arti­cle describ­ing a Novem­ber 14, 2022, meet­ing orga­nized by Rep. Andy Big­gs and attend­ed by a num­ber of the same House Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers who joined Big­gs in form­ing the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ cau­cus last week. They were there to here the advice of a four-per­son pan­el con­sist­ing of three senior CPI fig­ures — Ed Cor­ri­g­an, Mark Mead­ows, and Rachel Bovard — along with Paul Teller, the for­mer direc­tor of the Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee.

    As we should expect, three out of the four pan­elists show up on the leaked CNP mem­ber­ship lists: Teller, Cor­ri­g­an, and Bovard. If Mead­ows isn’t a CNP mem­ber by now he’s effec­tive­ly one in spir­it. And while Teller may not be an offi­cial CPI mem­ber, he’s cer­tain­ly a close affil­i­ate with an inter­est­ing back­ground as the exec­u­tive direc­tor of an advo­ca­cy group that serves as Mike Pence’s polit­i­cal oper­a­tion “Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Free­dom” (AAF). As we’ve seen, Teller has pub­licly gushed about anoth­er ‘AAF’ enti­ty, the Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion, which hap­pens to be anoth­er CPI off­shoot.

    And as we’ll see, this pan­el basi­cal­ly told this group of Free­dom Cau­cus to treat the House like a ‘Euro­pean-style par­lia­ment’, with three par­ties: the Democ­rats, Repub­li­cans, and Free­dom Cau­cus, with the lat­ter two par­ties form­ing the coali­tion government...but only after the Free­dom Cau­cus is grant­ed a num­ber of spe­cial pow­ers. Like the pow­er to call for a new speak­er­ship vote.

    There’s one more CNP/CPI fig­ure worth men­tion­ing here: CPI co-founder, and CNP-mem­ber, Jim DeMint. DeMint was one of sev­er­al Repub­li­can fig­ure to sign a let­ter last week call­ing on oth­er House Repub­li­cans to join the anti-McCarthy effort. An effort that was lit­er­al­ly being orga­nized out of the CPI’s DC office, which hap­pens to be the loca­tion of reg­u­lar House Free­dom Cau­cus meet­ings. Don’t for­get that the House Free­dom Cau­cus was co-found­ed by Mark Mead­ows in 2015.

    That’s all part of the sig­nif­i­cance of that Novem­ber 14, 2022, meet­ing: it was basi­cal­ly the House Free­dom Cau­cus’s pri­ma­ry spon­sors at the CPI telling them how to pro­ceed. Which is exact­ly what they did, to great effect. And now the US is poised for a debt cri­sis. A planned debt cri­sis orches­trat­ed by the CNP’s oper­a­tives at the CPI:

    Grid

    ‘The Democ­rats, the Repub­li­cans and the Free­dom Cau­cus’: Inside the right’s plans to seize pow­er in the new Con­gress

    Con­ser­v­a­tives want the House to act like “a de fac­to Euro­pean-style coali­tion gov­ern­ment.”

    Steve Reil­ly, Inves­tiga­tive Reporter, and Mag­gie Sev­erns, Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Reporter
    Jan­u­ary 6, 2023

    A week after the midterm elec­tions in Novem­ber, a small group of far-right GOP law­mak­ers and activists gath­ered on K Street in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to dis­cuss strate­gies to use their nar­row major­i­ty to extract pow­er in the House. The next Con­gress, influ­en­tial activist Ed Cor­ri­g­an said, could be a “Euro­pean-style coali­tion gov­ern­ment” run by three groups: “The Democ­rats, the Repub­li­cans and the Free­dom Cau­cus.”

    The forum was con­vened by Rep. Andy Big­gs, R‑Ariz., and attend­ed by sev­er­al oth­er law­mak­ers, includ­ing two oth­ers who helped block Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) this week from becom­ing House speak­er: Reps. Matt Gaetz, R‑Fla., and Vic­to­ria Spartz, R‑Ind.

    The strat­e­gy out­lined by Cor­ri­g­an went beyond just extract­ing con­ces­sions from House lead­ers — it amount­ed to a game plan for the House Free­dom Cau­cus to oper­ate as a third par­ty in a de fac­to par­lia­men­tary sys­tem, essen­tial­ly co-gov­ern­ing the cham­ber with main­stream Repub­li­cans. As law­mak­ers pre­pared for a sev­enth round of vot­ing on Thurs­day, House Repub­li­cans appeared to be on the precipice of allow­ing that to hap­pen.

    “What would coali­tion gov­ern­ment look like in prac­tice?” Cor­ri­g­an asked the group, which was filmed and livestreamed but has attract­ed lit­tle notice beyond con­ser­v­a­tive media. “I would rec­om­mend the Free­dom Cau­cus would be grant­ed a spe­cif­ic num­ber of com­mit­tee assign­ments, and com­mit­tee and sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ships,” as well as a vari­ety of oth­er new pow­ers, includ­ing putting a Free­dom Cau­cus mem­ber as chair­man of the pow­er­ful House Rules Com­mit­tee.

    This week, McCarthy has report­ed­ly been con­ced­ing to a litany of demands from the Free­dom Cau­cus — includ­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of plac­ing mem­bers of the cau­cus as chairs of com­mit­tees and adding mem­bers to the House Rules Com­mit­tee, a move that would help Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers steer how many and which amend­ments are offered for bills on the House floor, a cru­cial func­tion.

    Address­ing the law­mak­ers at the Novem­ber forum was a four-per­son pan­el includ­ing for­mer Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee direc­tor Paul Teller and three lead­ers of the influ­en­tial far-right non­prof­it Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI): Cor­ri­g­an, pres­i­dent of CPI and a for­mer mem­ber of Don­ald Trump’s tran­si­tion team; CPI senior part­ner Mark Mead­ows, a for­mer law­mak­er who in 2015 filed the “motion to vacate” that led to John Boehner’s removal as speak­er of the House; and CPI senior pol­i­cy direc­tor Rachel Bovard, a for­mer long­time Capi­tol Hill aide.

    The episode sug­gests that the endgame for the approx­i­mate­ly 20 hard-right House mem­bers who have vot­ed against McCarthy for speak­er of the House is more ambi­tious than mere­ly boost­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the House for Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers — it is about secur­ing the Free­dom Cau­cus a say in all deci­sion-mak­ing made by the new Repub­li­can major­i­ty.

    Rather than extract­ing con­ces­sions from McCarthy, the actions this week by the small group of break­away Repub­li­cans appear to be fol­low­ing Corrigan’s game plan to essen­tial­ly co-gov­ern the low­er cham­ber of the leg­isla­tive branch.

    Tues­day marked the first time in more than 100 years that the House failed to elect a speak­er on the first bal­lot. Because the House can­not func­tion with­out a speak­er in place, its busi­ness has essen­tial­ly been ground to a halt: pre­vent­ing the swear­ing-in of mem­bers-elect, stalling con­gres­sion­al over­sight efforts, scut­tling clas­si­fied intel­li­gence brief­in­gs and bar­ring the con­sid­er­a­tion of leg­is­la­tion.

    After the midterms, Cor­ri­g­an advised the law­mak­ers to lever­age House Repub­li­cans’ nar­row­er-than-expect­ed major­i­ty as a nego­ti­at­ing tool.

    The House Free­dom Cau­cus, Cor­ri­g­an said at the Nov. 14, 2022, meet­ing, “has extra­or­di­nary pow­er to nego­ti­ate a lead­er­ship arrange­ment” and urged them to try to extract a litany of con­ces­sions from McCarthy, some of which had been float­ed pre­vi­ous­ly by Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers as they pre­pared for Repub­li­cans to retake the House. Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers should “nego­ti­ate direct­ly with the speak­er for com­mit­tee posi­tions for Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers,” as well as “a spe­cif­ic num­ber of com­mit­tee assign­ments and full com­mit­tee and sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ships,” he said.

    Cor­ri­g­an sug­gest­ed the Free­dom Cau­cus ask for changes to the “motion to vacate” rule, which allows mem­bers to call a vote over the speak­er­ship. As of Thurs­day, McCarthy appeared pre­pared to restore the motion to vacate in accor­dance with con­ser­v­a­tives’ demands.

    Cor­ri­g­an also made a case that the Free­dom Cau­cus should nego­ti­ate for the chair­man­ship of the pow­er­ful House Rules Com­mit­tee, “or at least three of the four mem­bers.”

    The House Rules Com­mit­tee deter­mines how many amend­ments and which amend­ments are offered on the House floor, grant­i­ng its mem­bers extra­or­di­nary pow­er to guide the busi­ness of Con­gress. The rules com­mit­tee is usu­al­ly made up of tenured law­mak­ers and allies of the speak­er.

    In recent days, McCarthy has acqui­esced to a num­ber of the Free­dom Cau­cus’ demands — and he may be pre­pared to go even fur­ther as he tries to win the speaker’s gav­el. Accord­ing to report­ing from Politi­co, he has agreed to con­ces­sions that include plac­ing more Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers on the House Rules Com­mit­tee. Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers con­tin­ue to push for seats on pow­er­ful com­mit­tee and sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ships, which would fur­ther help them guide the direc­tion of the next Con­gress.

    At one point, Mead­ows sug­gest­ed what he admit­ted was a “rad­i­cal idea”: Law­mak­ers should “quit appro­pri­at­ing for things that are not autho­rized,” mean­ing that any gov­ern­ment pro­gram that had not been reau­tho­rized by Con­gress on time shouldn’t get fund­ing until Con­gress reap­proves it. Mead­ows cit­ed the State Depart­ment as an exam­ple: Con­gress has not updat­ed the laws gov­ern­ing the depart­ment since 2002.

    Rep. Pete Ses­sions (R‑Texas), a for­mer chair­man of the Rules Com­mit­tee who has vot­ed for McCarthy in the fight over House speak­er, was also among the law­mak­ers in atten­dance. He seemed to sug­gest at one point that some ideas being float­ed dur­ing the meet­ing would make it hard­er for the Repub­li­can major­i­ty to func­tion.

    “In going through this process, we need to make sure the sta­bil­i­ty of the major­i­ty is still there, while some­how hold­ing the lead­er­ship account­able,” Ses­sions said.

    In prac­tice, how­ev­er, “it would be implau­si­ble” for the House Free­dom Cau­cus to con­trol the House through its Rules Com­mit­tee, said Tim LaPi­ra, pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ence at James Madi­son Uni­ver­si­ty. The Rules Com­mit­tee rep­re­sents one small minor­i­ty fac­tion with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, and enact­ment of rules requires a major­i­ty vote in the House. Any oth­er small group of Repub­li­cans could join with Democ­rats to defeat a hypo­thet­i­cal Free­dom Cau­cus-led rules pack­age.

    ...

    The House Free­dom Cau­cus — an influ­en­tial, invi­ta­tion-only group of about three dozen of the most right-lean­ing mem­bers of the House, which does not make its mem­ber list pub­lic — has close ties to CPI.

    The two fundrais­ing arms of the Free­dom Cau­cus — House Free­dom Fund and House Free­dom Action — are based out of the CPI office, mak­ing month­ly office rent pay­ments total­ing $8,000 to an LLC tied to the insti­tute, accord­ing to Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion data, and the Free­dom Cau­cus holds its week­ly meet­ings at CPI’s Capi­tol Hill head­quar­ters.

    Mem­bers who have vot­ed against McCarthy this week are almost all Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers or were endorsed by the Free­dom Cau­cus’ cam­paign arm, and many have close ties to CPI. The break­away group’s choice for speak­er on Wednes­day, Rep. Byron Don­alds, R‑Fla., appeared last year in a tes­ti­mo­ni­al video for CPI along with Gaetz and Reps. Lau­ren Boe­bert, R‑Colo., and Chip Roy, R‑Texas, each of whom have sup­port­ed Don­alds’ bid for speak­er.

    Oth­er mem­bers who vot­ed against McCarthy this week include Reps. Matt Rosendale, R‑Mont., and Paul Gosar, R‑Ariz., who have paid mem­ber­ship dues to CPI, accord­ing to FEC records.

    ...

    Trump has endorsed McCarthy’s bid for speak­er, yet his polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee donat­ed $1 mil­lion last year to CPI, and the non­prof­it is led in part by Mead­ows, his for­mer chief of staff.

    On Wednes­day, anoth­er CPI leader — its chair­man, Jim DeMint — signed on to a state­ment with oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers for­mal­ly call­ing on the House to pick a speak­er oth­er than McCarthy.

    ...

    ———-

    “‘The Democ­rats, the Repub­li­cans and the Free­dom Cau­cus’: Inside the right’s plans to seize pow­er in the new Con­gress” by Steve Reil­ly and Mag­gie Sev­erns; Grid; 01/06/2023

    The strat­e­gy out­lined by Cor­ri­g­an went beyond just extract­ing con­ces­sions from House lead­ers — it amount­ed to a game plan for the House Free­dom Cau­cus to oper­ate as a third par­ty in a de fac­to par­lia­men­tary sys­tem, essen­tial­ly co-gov­ern­ing the cham­ber with main­stream Repub­li­cans. As law­mak­ers pre­pared for a sev­enth round of vot­ing on Thurs­day, House Repub­li­cans appeared to be on the precipice of allow­ing that to hap­pen.”

    This was­n’t just plan for extract­ing con­ces­sions. It was a plan for turn­ing the ‘Free­dom Cau­cus’ into a kind of sep­a­rate par­ty enti­tle to a slew of spe­cial pow­ers and priv­i­leges that we might expect for par­lia­men­tary coali­tion gov­ern­ment. Ed Cor­ri­g­an did­n’t mince words at the Novem­ber 14, 2022, forum held a week after the elec­tion. He told the Free­dom Cau­cus to strive to set up a “Euro­pean-style coali­tion gov­ern­ment”, with the Free­dom Cau­cus as a kind of third par­ty. One of two par­ties that com­prise the gov­ern­ing coali­tion. Not a cau­cus of the GOP but a sep­a­rate par­ty. That’s what the CPI’s pres­i­dent Ed Cor­ri­g­an advised for the Free­dom Cau­cus at that meet­ing: oper­ate like a third par­ty that needs to be court­ed and won over with sub­stan­tial pow­er-shar­ing offers. Pow­ers like changes to the “motion to vacate” rule that would empow­er the Free­dom Cau­cus to force a new speak­er­ship vote at any moment. Pow­ers that effec­tive­ly give the Free­dom Cau­cus pow­er to tell Kevin McCarthy what to do. That was the advice deliv­ered by CPI Pres­i­dent Ed Cor­ri­g­an to the House Free­dom Cau­cus a week after the elec­tions and it’s pret­ty obvi­ous at this point that they took his advice:

    ...
    A week after the midterm elec­tions in Novem­ber, a small group of far-right GOP law­mak­ers and activists gath­ered on K Street in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to dis­cuss strate­gies to use their nar­row major­i­ty to extract pow­er in the House. The next Con­gress, influ­en­tial activist Ed Cor­ri­g­an said, could be a “Euro­pean-style coali­tion gov­ern­ment” run by three groups: “The Democ­rats, the Repub­li­cans and the Free­dom Cau­cus.”

    ...

    The forum was con­vened by Rep. Andy Big­gs, R‑Ariz., and attend­ed by sev­er­al oth­er law­mak­ers, includ­ing two oth­ers who helped block Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) this week from becom­ing House speak­er: Reps. Matt Gaetz, R‑Fla., and Vic­to­ria Spartz, R‑Ind.

    ...

    “What would coali­tion gov­ern­ment look like in prac­tice?” Cor­ri­g­an asked the group, which was filmed and livestreamed but has attract­ed lit­tle notice beyond con­ser­v­a­tive media. “I would rec­om­mend the Free­dom Cau­cus would be grant­ed a spe­cif­ic num­ber of com­mit­tee assign­ments, and com­mit­tee and sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ships,” as well as a vari­ety of oth­er new pow­ers, includ­ing putting a Free­dom Cau­cus mem­ber as chair­man of the pow­er­ful House Rules Com­mit­tee.

    ...

    The episode sug­gests that the endgame for the approx­i­mate­ly 20 hard-right House mem­bers who have vot­ed against McCarthy for speak­er of the House is more ambi­tious than mere­ly boost­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the House for Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers — it is about secur­ing the Free­dom Cau­cus a say in all deci­sion-mak­ing made by the new Repub­li­can major­i­ty.

    Rather than extract­ing con­ces­sions from McCarthy, the actions this week by the small group of break­away Repub­li­cans appear to be fol­low­ing Corrigan’s game plan to essen­tial­ly co-gov­ern the low­er cham­ber of the leg­isla­tive branch.

    ...

    After the midterms, Cor­ri­g­an advised the law­mak­ers to lever­age House Repub­li­cans’ nar­row­er-than-expect­ed major­i­ty as a nego­ti­at­ing tool.

    The House Free­dom Cau­cus, Cor­ri­g­an said at the Nov. 14, 2022, meet­ing, “has extra­or­di­nary pow­er to nego­ti­ate a lead­er­ship arrange­ment” and urged them to try to extract a litany of con­ces­sions from McCarthy, some of which had been float­ed pre­vi­ous­ly by Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers as they pre­pared for Repub­li­cans to retake the House. Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers should “nego­ti­ate direct­ly with the speak­er for com­mit­tee posi­tions for Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers,” as well as “a spe­cif­ic num­ber of com­mit­tee assign­ments and full com­mit­tee and sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ships,” he said.

    Cor­ri­g­an sug­gest­ed the Free­dom Cau­cus ask for changes to the “motion to vacate” rule, which allows mem­bers to call a vote over the speak­er­ship. As of Thurs­day, McCarthy appeared pre­pared to restore the motion to vacate in accor­dance with con­ser­v­a­tives’ demands.

    Cor­ri­g­an also made a case that the Free­dom Cau­cus should nego­ti­ate for the chair­man­ship of the pow­er­ful House Rules Com­mit­tee, “or at least three of the four mem­bers.”

    The House Rules Com­mit­tee deter­mines how many amend­ments and which amend­ments are offered on the House floor, grant­i­ng its mem­bers extra­or­di­nary pow­er to guide the busi­ness of Con­gress. The rules com­mit­tee is usu­al­ly made up of tenured law­mak­ers and allies of the speak­er.
    ...

    And note how Cor­ri­g­an was­n’t the only senior CPI fig­ure to encour­age the House Free­dom Cau­cus to take a hard line on McCarthy’s speak­er­ship. CPI chair­man Jim DeMint signed a state­ment for­mal­ly call­ing on the House to pick some­one oth­er than McCarthy. The whole fias­co we just wit­nessed was a CPI-orches­trat­ed event:

    ...
    On Wednes­day, anoth­er CPI leader — its chair­man, Jim DeMint — signed on to a state­ment with oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers for­mal­ly call­ing on the House to pick a speak­er oth­er than McCarthy.
    ...

    Nor is it sur­pris­ing to see the key fig­ures lead­ing the ‘nev­er-Kevin’ fac­tion last week — Gaetz, Boe­bert, Roy, and Don­alds — were all fea­tured in a CPI tes­ti­mo­ni­al video last year. The CPI is like a fusion cen­ter for the ‘anti-estab­lish­ment’ fac­tions of the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment, where MAGA fer­vor meets mega-donor dol­lars and the House Free­dom Cau­cus is effec­tive­ly a CPI sub­sidiary in con­gress. That’s a key part of the sto­ry here: when Ed Cor­ri­g­an was advo­cat­ing for the cre­ation of a Euro­pean-style par­lia­men­tary coali­tion-style gov­ern­ment where the Free­dom Cau­cus is giv­en a range of spe­cial coali­tion-part­ner pow­ers, those would effec­tive­ly be the CPI’s pow­ers too:

    ...
    The House Free­dom Cau­cus — an influ­en­tial, invi­ta­tion-only group of about three dozen of the most right-lean­ing mem­bers of the House, which does not make its mem­ber list pub­lic — has close ties to CPI.

    The two fundrais­ing arms of the Free­dom Cau­cus — House Free­dom Fund and House Free­dom Action — are based out of the CPI office, mak­ing month­ly office rent pay­ments total­ing $8,000 to an LLC tied to the insti­tute, accord­ing to Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion data, and the Free­dom Cau­cus holds its week­ly meet­ings at CPI’s Capi­tol Hill head­quar­ters.

    Mem­bers who have vot­ed against McCarthy this week are almost all Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers or were endorsed by the Free­dom Cau­cus’ cam­paign arm, and many have close ties to CPI. The break­away group’s choice for speak­er on Wednes­day, Rep. Byron Don­alds, R‑Fla., appeared last year in a tes­ti­mo­ni­al video for CPI along with Gaetz and Reps. Lau­ren Boe­bert, R‑Colo., and Chip Roy, R‑Texas, each of whom have sup­port­ed Don­alds’ bid for speak­er.

    Oth­er mem­bers who vot­ed against McCarthy this week include Reps. Matt Rosendale, R‑Mont., and Paul Gosar, R‑Ariz., who have paid mem­ber­ship dues to CPI, accord­ing to FEC records.
    ...

    And, of course, we can’t for­get the CNP angle to this sto­ry. Because it was­n’t just Ed Cor­ri­g­an push­ing this strat­e­gy at that Novem­ber 14 meet­ing. It was a four-per­son pan­el con­sist­ing of for­mer Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee direc­tor Paul Teller and senior CPI offi­cials, Cor­ri­g­an, Mark Mead­ows and Rachel Bovard. And while it’s unclear at this point whether or not Mead­ows — who co-found­ed House Free­dom Cau­cus in 2015 — is a for­mal mem­ber of the CNP, it should come as no sur­prise to find Teller, Bovard, and Cor­ri­g­an on the leaked CNP mem­ber­ship lists. Along with Jim DeMint. This behind-the-scenes push to get the House Free­dom Cau­cus to do exact­ly what it did last week was­n’t just a CPI ini­tia­tive. It was a CNP pow­er-play. That worked:

    ...
    Address­ing the law­mak­ers at the Novem­ber forum was a four-per­son pan­el includ­ing for­mer Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee direc­tor Paul Teller and three lead­ers of the influ­en­tial far-right non­prof­it Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI): Cor­ri­g­an, pres­i­dent of CPI and a for­mer mem­ber of Don­ald Trump’s tran­si­tion team; CPI senior part­ner Mark Mead­ows, a for­mer law­mak­er who in 2015 filed the “motion to vacate” that led to John Boehner’s removal as speak­er of the House; and CPI senior pol­i­cy direc­tor Rachel Bovard, a for­mer long­time Capi­tol Hill aide.
    ...

    And as the fol­low­ing Yahoo News arti­cle from Fri­day morn­ing points out, the let­ter signed by Jim DeMint call­ing for House Repub­li­cans to join the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ cau­cus had some co-sign­ers who should sound famil­iar at this point: Cle­ta Mitchell, Russ Vought, and Gin­ni Thomas. Three of the most promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive activists in DC. This was their ‘Nev­er Kevin’ pow­er grab too:

    Yahoo News

    House mem­bers block­ing McCarthy speak­er bid meet at offices of ex-Trump chief Mark Mead­ows

    Jon Ward·Chief Nation­al Cor­re­spon­dent
    Fri, Jan­u­ary 6, 2023 at 10:22 AM CST

    Sev­er­al Repub­li­can House mem­bers fight­ing to stop Rep. Kevin McCarthy from becom­ing speak­er met Fri­day morn­ing at the offices of the Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute, an orga­ni­za­tion run by Mark Mead­ows and Jim DeMint.

    Mead­ows, a for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man from North Car­oli­na, was chief of staff to for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and played a cen­tral role in efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion. He joined CPI as senior part­ner in Jan­u­ary 2021, a few weeks after Trump sup­port­ers stormed the U.S. Capi­tol on Jan. 6.

    DeMint, a for­mer Repub­li­can sen­a­tor from South Car­oli­na, launched CPI in 2017. Since Trump left office in 2021, it has become a con­nec­tive hub for a host of for­mer Trump advis­ers, includ­ing Mead­ows, bud­get chief Russ Vought and advis­er Stephen Miller.

    A lit­tle before 8:30 a.m. on Fri­day, Yahoo News observed sev­er­al House Repub­li­cans who are lead­ing the effort to block McCarthy, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, walk­ing into the CPI offices a few blocks from the Capi­tol.

    Rep. Andy Big­gs, R‑Ariz., a leader of the anti-McCarthy dri­ve who was also deeply involved in the Trump 2020 effort, did not answer ques­tions from Yahoo News on why he was going to the CPI offices as he walked in the front door.

    Oth­er Repub­li­can mem­bers observed walk­ing into CPI includ­ed Byron Don­alds of Flori­da, Paul Gosar of Ari­zona, Ralph Nor­man of South Car­oli­na, Scott Per­ry of Penn­syl­va­nia and Matt Gaetz of Flori­da. Chip Roy of Texas was seen in the pas­sen­ger seat of a car sit­ting out­side the CPI offices and appeared ready to go in.

    ...

    Mead­ows did not respond to a text mes­sage seek­ing com­ment about the meet­ing and how per­son­al­ly involved he is in the anti-McCarthy effort. But mul­ti­ple Repub­li­can sources on Capi­tol Hill had men­tioned that Mead­ows is involved in the attempt to stop McCarthy from becom­ing speak­er — even as his for­mer boss, Trump, has endorsed McCarthy and giv­en him his sup­port.

    Most of the Repub­li­can con­gress­men at CPI on Fri­day morn­ing have been gath­er­ing there for months. CPI’s social media accounts include many pic­tures and videos show­ing these Repub­li­cans talk­ing about meet­ing there and using the organization’s facil­i­ties to do inter­views with right-wing media.

    DeMint said in a pro­mo­tion­al video that CPI is “pro­vid­ing resources, facil­i­ties and staff” to mem­bers of Con­gress whom it sup­ports.

    “When you take a stand here, you have to know some­one has your back,” Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert, R‑Colo., says in a CPI video, strid­ing briskly out of a House office build­ing while dra­mat­ic music plays in the back­ground.

    Mead­ows is the first per­son to appear in that video. He slams “polit­i­cal horse trad­ing, par­ti­san pow­er shifts and back­door pol­i­tick­ing” and says that these things “have result­ed in grid­lock that is crush­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

    ...

    On Wednes­day, DeMint was one of sev­er­al Repub­li­can fig­ures to sign a let­ter call­ing on oth­er House Repub­li­cans to join the anti-McCarthy effort.

    Vought, who is a close ally of Mead­ows, also signed the let­ter, as did Cle­ta Mitchell and Gin­ni Thomas. Mitchell is an attor­ney who was deeply involved in Trump’s attempts to stay in pow­er, and who now works at CPI as a senior legal fel­low. Thomas, who cor­re­spond­ed with Mead­ows about efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion in the days lead­ing up to the Jan. 6 riot, is the wife of Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas.

    Mead­ows did not sign the let­ter.

    ———–

    “House mem­bers block­ing McCarthy speak­er bid meet at offices of ex-Trump chief Mark Mead­ows” by Jon Ward; Yahoo News; 01/06/2023

    “A lit­tle before 8:30 a.m. on Fri­day, Yahoo News observed sev­er­al House Repub­li­cans who are lead­ing the effort to block McCarthy, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, walk­ing into the CPI offices a few blocks from the Capi­tol.”

    A morn­ing hud­dle at the CPI’s offices. That’s how the group of ‘Nev­er Kevin’ hold outs start­ed the day on Fri­day. Andy Big­gs, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Ralph Nor­man, Scott Per­ry, and Chip Roy were all spot­ted by Yahoo News at the CPI office Fri­day morn­ing. And most of them have been gath­er­ing there for months:

    Rep. Andy Big­gs, R‑Ariz., a leader of the anti-McCarthy dri­ve who was also deeply involved in the Trump 2020 effort, did not answer ques­tions from Yahoo News on why he was going to the CPI offices as he walked in the front door.

    Oth­er Repub­li­can mem­bers observed walk­ing into CPI includ­ed Byron Don­alds of Flori­da, Paul Gosar of Ari­zona, Ralph Nor­man of South Car­oli­na, Scott Per­ry of Penn­syl­va­nia and Matt Gaetz of Flori­da. Chip Roy of Texas was seen in the pas­sen­ger seat of a car sit­ting out­side the CPI offices and appeared ready to go in.

    ...

    Mead­ows did not respond to a text mes­sage seek­ing com­ment about the meet­ing and how per­son­al­ly involved he is in the anti-McCarthy effort. But mul­ti­ple Repub­li­can sources on Capi­tol Hill had men­tioned that Mead­ows is involved in the attempt to stop McCarthy from becom­ing speak­er — even as his for­mer boss, Trump, has endorsed McCarthy and giv­en him his sup­port.

    Most of the Repub­li­can con­gress­men at CPI on Fri­day morn­ing have been gath­er­ing there for months. CPI’s social media accounts include many pic­tures and videos show­ing these Repub­li­cans talk­ing about meet­ing there and using the organization’s facil­i­ties to do inter­views with right-wing media.

    ...

    “When you take a stand here, you have to know some­one has your back,” Rep. Lau­ren Boe­bert, R‑Colo., says in a CPI video, strid­ing briskly out of a House office build­ing while dra­mat­ic music plays in the back­ground.

    Mead­ows is the first per­son to appear in that video. He slams “polit­i­cal horse trad­ing, par­ti­san pow­er shifts and back­door pol­i­tick­ing” and says that these things “have result­ed in grid­lock that is crush­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”
    ...

    And it’s not like the CNP and CPI are hid­ing their roles in lead­ing the ‘Nev­er Kevin’ show­down. Join­ing Jim DeMint in sign­ing the let­ter call­ing on oth­er House Repub­li­cans to join that in oppos­ing McCarthy was none oth­er than Cle­ta Mitchell, Russ Vought, and Gin­ni Thomas. As we’ve seen, Mitchell and Thomas are both promi­nent CNP mem­bers with Thomas sit­ting on the board of CNP Action, the CNP’s lob­by­ing arm. And while Vought him­self does­n’t show up on the leaked CNP mem­ber­ship lists, his wife Mary does. With Vought and Mitchell lead­ing the CPI’s ongo­ing ‘Sched­ule F’ and ‘Elec­tion Integri­ty’ efforts, respec­tive­ly, that was effec­tive­ly a let­ter from the CPI lead­er­ship to the Repub­li­can House cau­cus, with Gin­ni Thomas there to remind every­one that the CPI is just an exten­sion of the CNP:

    ...
    On Wednes­day, DeMint was one of sev­er­al Repub­li­can fig­ures to sign a let­ter call­ing on oth­er House Repub­li­cans to join the anti-McCarthy effort.

    Vought, who is a close ally of Mead­ows, also signed the let­ter, as did Cle­ta Mitchell and Gin­ni Thomas. Mitchell is an attor­ney who was deeply involved in Trump’s attempts to stay in pow­er, and who now works at CPI as a senior legal fel­low. Thomas, who cor­re­spond­ed with Mead­ows about efforts to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion in the days lead­ing up to the Jan. 6 riot, is the wife of Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas.
    ...

    These weren’t just ran­dom con­ser­v­a­tive activists. The guid­ance of the peo­ple who signed that let­ter car­ries enor­mous weight in Repub­li­can DC cir­cles.

    But it’s also impor­tant to note that it was­n’t just DeMint, Vought, Mead­ows, and Thomas who signed that let­ter last week call­ing on House Repub­li­cans to stand with the ‘Nev­er Kevins’. Over two dozen con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers signed the opin­ion. With just one CNP mem­ber after anoth­er. Let’s see...when we look at that list of 72 sig­na­tures that was pub­licly sent out in that at Jan 4 let­ter to the House Repub­li­cans, we find near­ly 50 sig­na­tures for CNP mem­bers or peo­ple involved with the CPI or CPI spin­offs. This was a mes­sage from the CNP

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able J. Ken­neth Black­well
    Chair­man, Con­ser­v­a­tive Action Project
    Chair­man, CNP Action, Inc.

    * (CNP mem­ber) Jen­ny Beth Mar­tin
    Chair­man
    Tea Par­ty Patri­ots Cit­i­zen Fund

    * (CNP mem­ber) L. Brent Bozell III
    Founder and Pres­i­dent
    Media Research Cen­ter

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Jim DeMint
    Chair­man, Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute
    Mem­ber, US Sen­ate (SC 2005–2013)

    * (CNP mem­ber) David N. Bossie
    Pres­i­dent
    Cit­i­zens Unit­ed

    * (CNP mem­ber) Lori Roman
    Pres­i­dent
    ACRU Action Fund

    * (CNP mem­ber) Kel­ly J. Shack­elford, Esq.
    Pres­i­dent and CEO
    First Lib­er­ty Insti­tute

    * Andrew Roth
    Pres­i­dent
    State Free­dom Cau­cus Net­work

    * (CNP mem­ber) Ed Cor­ri­g­an
    Vice Chair­man, Con­ser­v­a­tive Action Project
    Pres­i­dent & CEO, Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute

    * (CNP mem­ber) Cle­ta Mitchell, Esq.
    Senior Legal Fel­low
    Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Becky Nor­ton Dun­lop
    White House Advi­sor
    Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan (1981–1985)

    * (co-found­ed the CPI spin­off the Amer­i­ca Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion and a for­mer staffer for Jim DeMint) Tom Jones
    Co-Founder
    Amer­i­can Account­abil­i­ty Foun­da­tion

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Edwin Meese III
    Attor­ney Gen­er­al
    Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan (1985–1988)

    * (CNP exec­u­tive direc­tor and pres­i­dent of CNP Action) The Hon­or­able Bob McEwen
    U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives
    For­mer Mem­ber, Ohio

    * Thomas E. McClusky
    Prin­ci­pal
    Green­light Strate­gies, LLC

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Mor­ton C. Black­well
    Pres­i­dent
    The Lead­er­ship Insti­tute

    * (wife Mary is a CNP mem­ber)The Hon­or­able Russ Vought
    Direc­tor
    Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get (2020–2021)

    * Noah Wall
    Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent
    Free­dom­Works

    * (CNP mem­ber) William L. Wal­ton
    The Bill Wal­ton Show
    Res­olute Pro­tec­tor Foun­da­tion

    * Myron Ebell

    * (CNP mem­ber) David Bozell
    Pres­i­dent
    ForAmer­i­ca

    * (CNP mem­ber) Gin­ni Thomas
    Pres­i­dent
    Lib­er­ty Con­sult­ing

    * Ter­ry Schilling
    Pres­i­dent
    Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project

    * (CNP mem­ber) Alfred S. Reg­n­ery
    Pres­i­dent
    Repub­lic Book Pub­lish­ers

    * (CNP mem­ber) Chad Con­nel­ly
    Founder and Pres­i­dent
    Faith Wins

    * (CNP mem­ber) Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
    Exec­u­tive Chair­man
    Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able David McIn­tosh
    Pres­i­dent
    Club for Growth

    * (CNP mem­ber) Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.)
    Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent
    Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil

    * Scott T. Parkin­son
    Vice Pres­i­dent for Gov­ern­ment Affairs
    Club for Growth

    * (the CPI’s COO) Wes­ley Den­ton
    Chief Oper­at­ing Offi­cer
    Con­ser­v­a­tive Part­ner­ship Insti­tute (CPI)

    * (assumed CNP mem­ber) Seton Mot­ley
    Pres­i­dent
    Less Gov­ern­ment

    * (CNP mem­ber) Kha­dine Rit­ter
    Chair
    Eagle Forum of Ohio

    * Kris­ten A. Ull­man
    Pres­i­dent
    Eagle Forum

    * Dr. Vir­ginia Arm­strong
    Nat’l. Chrm., Law & World­view Pro­gram
    Eagle Forum

    * (CNP mem­ber) Karen Eng­land
    Pres­i­dent
    Capi­tol Resource Insti­tute

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Gary L. Bauer
    Pres­i­dent
    Amer­i­can Val­ues

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able George K. Rasley Jr.
    Man­ag­ing Edi­tor
    ConservativeHQ.com

    * Mike Davis
    Founder and Pres­i­dent
    Arti­cle III Project (A3P) and Inter­net Account­abil­i­ty Project (IAP)

    * (CNP mem­ber) Allen J. Hebert
    Chair­man
    Amer­i­can-Chi­nese Fel­low­ship of Hous­ton

    * Ralph Rebandt
    For­mer 2022 Guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date
    Ralph Rebandt for Michi­gan Gov­er­nor

    * The Hon­or­able Louis F. Ter­har
    Ohio State Sen­a­tor (Ret.)
    CNP, Board of Gov­er­nors

    * (CNP mem­ber) C. Pre­ston Noell III
    Pres­i­dent
    Tra­di­tion, Fam­i­ly, Prop­er­ty, Inc.

    * Melvin Adams
    Pres­i­dent
    Noah Web­ster Edu­ca­tion­al Foun­da­tion

    * Car­ol Rebandt
    Chief of Staff
    2022 Cam­paign to elect Ralph Rebandt for Michi­gan Gov­er­nor

    * (CNP mem­ber) Floyd Brown
    Founder
    The West­ern Jour­nal

    * (CNP mem­ber) Deb­bie Geor­gatos
    Host, Amer­i­ca Can We Talk?
    CWT Pub­li­ca­tions, LLC

    * (CNP mem­ber) Rob Gluskin
    Man­ag­ing Part­ner
    Gluskin Invest­ment Part­ners

    * (CNP mem­ber) Richard Roun­savelle
    Trustee
    MRC

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Mike Hill
    For­mer Mem­ber
    Flori­da State House

    * (CNP mem­ber) Robert K. Fis­ch­er
    Meet­ing Coor­di­na­tor
    Con­ser­v­a­tives of Faith

    * (key archi­tect of the insur­rec­tion) Dr. John C. East­man
    Part­ner
    Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coun­sel Group

    * (CNP mem­ber) Deb­bie Wuth­now
    Pres­i­dent
    IVoter­Guide

    * (wife Becky is a CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able George Dun­lop
    Senior Pol­i­cy Advi­sor Trump Tran­si­tion 2017
    Trump Tran­si­tion 2017

    * Sheryl Kauf­man
    Board Mem­ber
    Amer­i­cans for Lim­it­ed Gov­ern­ment

    * Ron Arm­strong
    Pres­i­dent
    Stand Up Michi­gan Inc

    * Ned Jones
    Deputy Direc­tor
    Elec­tion Integri­ty Net­work

    * The Hon­or­able Steve King
    Mem­ber, U.S. Con­gress (Ret.)

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able Jake Hoff­man
    Pres­i­dent & CEO
    1TEN | A Cre­ative Agency

    * The Hon­or­able Lau­rin Hen­drix
    Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Elect
    AZ Leg­is­la­ture

    * The Hon­or­able Antho­ny Kern
    Mem­ber
    Ari­zona State Sen­ate

    * (CNP mem­ber) Brigitte Gabriel
    CEO, ACT For Amer­i­ca
    ACT For Amer­i­ca

    * The Hon­or­able Jacque­line Park­er
    Mem­ber
    AZ State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives

    * Jessie Jane Duff
    Gun­nery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps (ret)
    2020 Cam­paign Co-Chair Vet­er­ans for Trump

    * (CNP mem­ber) Dr. Jerome R. Cor­si, Ph.D.
    Founders and CEO
    Corstet LLC

    * (CNP mem­ber) E.C. Sykes
    Gen­er­al Part­ner
    Aslan Ven­tures

    * The Hon­or­able Joseph Chap­lik
    Ari­zona State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive
    Ari­zona House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives

    * (assumed CNP mem­ber) Eunie Smith
    Pres­i­dent Emer­i­tus
    Eagle Forum

    * (CNP mem­ber) Amy Kre­mer
    Chair­woman
    Women for Amer­i­ca First

    * (CNP mem­ber) John Stem­berg­er
    Pres­i­dent
    Flori­da Fam­i­ly Action

    * (CNP mem­ber) Tim Macy
    Chair­man
    Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca

    * (CNP mem­ber) The Hon­or­able T. Ken­neth Cribb, Jr.
    Chief Domes­tic Advi­sor
    Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan (1987–1988)

    * Jim Hoft
    Founder Edi­tor
    The Gate­way Pun­dit

    ———-
    They weren’t all CNP mem­bers. But the vast major­i­ty sure were. Because that’s who sent this mes­sage. A net­work inside in US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment so pow­er­ful that elect­ed Repub­li­cans can’t pos­si­bly ignore them. And that mes­sage was indeed received. The hold­outs got their spe­cial pow­ers to blow up the gov­ern­ment and econ­o­my. Pre­sum­ably along with spe­cial orders for how to use those pow­ers at the right oppor­tu­ni­ty. The CNP’s insur­rec­tion on Jan 6 may not have suc­ceed­ed but its hos­tile takeover of the GOP appears to have worked.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 9, 2023, 1:11 am
  7. It’s pret­ty clear that Ron DeSan­tis is run­ning for the White House in 2024. And it’s abun­dant­ly clear that ‘anti-wokeism’ will be a cen­tral theme for any future DeSan­tis cam­paigns. And as we learned last week, Ron DeSan­tis is plan­ning on build­ing a very real sym­bol for his anti-woke cru­sade. Specif­i­cal­ly, a “Hills­dale Col­lege for the south,” as Flori­da Edu­ca­tion Com­mis­sion­er Man­ny Diaz put it. Yep, Ron DeSan­tis is plan­ning on build­ing an ide­o­log­i­cal­ly cleansed col­lege as part of Flori­da’s pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem. It’s “Project Blitz” for Flori­da pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties. Sur­prise.

    But Ron DeSan­tis isn’t plan­ning on build­ing this new Hills­dale from scratch. No, DeSan­tis just enact­ed a hos­tile takeover of the small New Col­lege of Flori­da pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty, known for its aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence and large­ly pro­gres­sive stu­dent body. New Col­lege is going to be turned into Hills­dale, with none oth­er than Christo­pher Rufo — the archi­tect of the cyn­i­cal anti-Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry man­u­fac­tured hys­te­ria — lead­ing the way as one of the new mem­bers of the New Col­lege board. A new con­ser­v­a­tive ‘clas­si­cal’ cur­ricu­lum is to be craft­ed with new con­ser­v­a­tive fac­ul­ty slat­ed to be brought on board to teach it. That’s the plan and Flori­da’s GOP appears to be ful­ly on board.

    New Col­lege of Flori­da is going to become a show­case for DeSan­tis’s anti-woke polit­i­cal cru­sade and this is going to be play­ing out dur­ing his 2024 run. So while the ‘new’ New Col­lege may not be ready to show­case to the nation in 2024, the ide­o­log­i­cal ‘anti-woke’ purge that has to hap­pen firest will be in full swing. And the purge is the point, at least polit­i­cal­ly speak­ing.

    Yes, roil­ing New Col­lege and trolling the lib­er­al stu­dent body with anti-wokeism is part of Ron DeSan­tis’s planned 2024 cam­paign strat­e­gy. Keep in mind that this is the same man who played with the lives of migrant refugees for poli­ical fun. What kind of sadis­tic haz­ing does he have in mind for the LGBTQ-friend­ly New Col­lege stu­dent body? We’ll find out. They are indeed ‘woke’. All of the ingre­di­ents for epic trolling by DeSan­tis is there. It’s hard to see how he’ll be able to resist.

    But as we also have to keep in mind, when we’re talk­ing about the ide­o­log­i­cal purge of aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions that’s not just an exam­ple of the ongo­ing Sched­ule F plot in action, but also an exam­ple of the broad­er insti­tu­tion­al purge called for by in Cur­tis Yarv­in’s vision for a right-wing cap­ture of Amer­i­ca’s insti­tu­tions. A cap­ture that goes beyond the purge of gov­ern­ment work­forces and includes a mass purge of the media and acad­e­mia. As we’ve seen, it’s a vision that’s been get­ting awful­ly pop­u­lar in right-wing cir­cles in recent years with fol­low­ers that include Steve Ban­non and JD Vance. And now it’s look­ing like Ron DeSan­tis is prepar­ing to make Cur­tis Yarv­in’s mass purge vision part of his 2024 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. DeSan­tis and the GOP won’t admit this is pure Yarvin, but we’re look­ing at Yarv­in’s vision come alive in Flori­da, as a tem­plate for the nation.

    It should also come as no sur­prise that Flori­da’s GOP is open­ing talk­ing about turn­ing New Col­lege specif­i­cal­ly into a “Hills­dale of the south”. As we’ve seen, Hills­dale Col­lege is effec­tive­ly the tem­plate insti­tu­tion for the CNP’s “Project Blitz” Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist agen­da. In par­tic­u­lar, the “Civic Alliance” project push­ing the “Amer­i­can Birthright” cur­ricu­lum ‘tem­plate’ on state leg­is­la­tures and gov­er­nors. As we saw, the “Amer­i­can Birthright” cur­ricu­lum was launched by the CNP-affil­i­at­ed Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schol­ars (NAS) and assem­bled by a kind of insti­tu­tion­al who’s-who of the right-wing US think-tanks, includ­ing the Clare­mont Insti­tute, the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil (FRC) and the Dis­cov­ery Insti­tute (all with CNP mem­bers in their lead­er­ship), along with a num­ber of oth­er CNP mem­bers like CNP co-founder Richard Viguerie. Oth­er coau­thors, con­sul­tants, and board mem­bers involved with the cre­ation of the “Amer­i­can Birthright” cur­ricu­lum include mul­ti­ple staffers asso­ci­at­ed with Hills­dale and Mari Barke, whose hus­band runs one of Hills­dale Col­lege’s char­ter school. The “Amer­i­can Birthright” cur­ricu­lum cites Hills­dale’s “1776 Cur­ricu­lum.” And when Flori­da gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis unveiled the new Flori­da edu­ca­tion­al stan­dards focused on fight­ing ‘wok­e­ness’ in pub­lic schools, it was none oth­er than Hills­dale Col­lege that his admin­is­tra­tion con­sult­ed with in cre­at­ing the new stan­dards. Hills­dale’s “1776 Cur­ricu­lum” is the tem­plate for the impo­si­tion of a strict Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist world­view on every pub­lic school stu­dent in Amer­i­ca.

    We got anoth­er exam­ple of the role the Hills­dale 1776 Cur­ricu­lum is play­ing in this effort back in 2021 when a cabal of CNP mem­bers took over the school board of Wood­land Park, Col­orado, back in 2021, it was the “1776 Cur­ricu­lum” craft­ed by Hills­dale for use in pub­lic schools they end­ed up forc­ing onto the dis­tric­t’s schools. Sim­i­lar­ly, when Ten­nessee gov­er­nor Bill Lee attempt­ed to set up a net­work of 50 pri­vate­ly oper­at­ed pub­licly fund­ed char­ter schools, it was Hills­dale’s 1776 Cur­ricu­lum that we was intend­ing they teach. Hills­dale’s 1776 Cur­ricu­lum is the CNP’s tem­plate for the Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist cap­ture of the US pub­lic schools.

    Or “recap­ture” of pub­lic edu­ca­tion, as Christo­pher Rufo recent­ly put it in an opin­ion piece we’re going to exam­ine below. Rufo cel­e­brates the mis­sion he’s been giv­en to trans­form New Col­lege as DeSan­tis ini­ti­at­ing the first push­back against a decades long march across the insti­tu­tions by a New Left cabal intent on destroy­ing soci­ety. And as Rufo put it in his piece, “Gov­er­nor DeSan­tis has tasked us with some­thing that has nev­er been done: insti­tu­tion­al recap­ture. If we are suc­cess­ful, the effort can serve as a mod­el for oth­er states.” A “recap­ture” of the US’s pub­lic insti­tu­tions from the forces of ‘wok­e­ness’. Those are the ambi­tions Rufo is describ­ing and they aren’t just his own. This is Project Blitz — the Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist takeover of pub­lic edu­ca­tion in Amer­i­can — in action. Hills­dale is the tem­plate for that “recap­ture”. A tem­plate they want to take nation­wide.

    Join­ing Rufo is five oth­er con­ser­v­a­tives tasked with the same “recap­ture” mis­sion. In addi­tion, the state Board of Gov­er­nors — which over­sees the uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem and is filled with DeSan­tis allies — gets five more appointees to the board, mean­ing the New Col­lege board is poised to become major­i­ty-ruled by a cabal tasked with turn­ing it into the ‘Hills­dale of the South’. It’s hap­pen­ing.

    Oth­er DeSan­tis appointees join­ing Rufo include Matthew Spald­ing and Charles Kesler. Spald­ing is a pro­fes­sor of con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment at Hills­dale Col­lege and the dean of Hills­dale’s grad­u­ate school of gov­ern­ment in DC. Spald­ing also pre­vi­ous­ly served as vice pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can stud­ies at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Kesler is a pro­fes­sor of gov­ern­ment at Clare­mont McKen­na Col­lege and a senior fel­low at The Clare­mont Insti­tute. This is a good time to recall how Dr. Lar­ry P. Arnn — the Pres­i­dent of Hills­dale Col­lege, Her­itage Foun­da­tion trustee, and co-founder of the Clare­mont Insti­tute — is on the CNP mem­ber­ship list. In addi­tion, Dou­glas A. Jef­frey — VP for Exter­nal Affairs and Hills­dale Col­lege, and for­mer exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of the Clare­mont Insti­tuteis also on the CNP mem­ber­ship list.

    It’s also worth recall­ing how it was the Clare­mont Insti­tute’s John East­man who played a key role in for­mu­lat­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for over­turn­ing the 2020 elec­tion results. And CNP-mem­ber Gin­ni Thomas — who played a sig­nif­i­cant role of her own in the post-2020 elec­tion schem­ing that led up to the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion includ­ing arrang­ing meet­ings between East­man and con­ser­v­a­tive activistsran a DC-based con­sti­tu­tion­al stud­ies cen­ter at Hills­dale fol­low­ing her five year stint at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. It’s the same over­ar­ch­ing net­work of peo­ple and move­ment pop­u­lat­ing all and these insti­tu­tions. That’s why we keep see­ing them work­ing hand-in-hand on one major project after anoth­er. This is ‘the vast right-wing con­spir­a­cy’ in action.

    And as we’ve also seen, that broad­er ‘vast right-wing con­spir­a­cy’ agen­da now includes the ongo­ing Sched­ule F plot, in which Hills­dale plays a role. Recall how the CPI-spin­off, Amer­i­can Moment — found­ed by CNP-mem­ber Saurabh Shar­ma — is focused on recruit­ing from the cam­pus­es of con­ser­v­a­tive reli­gious col­leges in their hunt for poten­tial can­di­dates to fill all the gov­ern­ment posi­tions that will have to be filled after mass fir­ings, with Shar­ma specif­i­cal­ly nam­ing Hills­dale as the type of school his group is tar­get­ing. As we should expect, Rufo is promis­ing to hire a slew of new pro­fes­sors for New Col­lege. It’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how many Hills­dale pro­fes­sors, or new grad­u­ates, the new board ulti­mate­ly impos­es on New Col­lege.

    It appears to be a very seri­ous plan, which is why this is going to be grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing to watch play out. Because while they do appear to be very seri­ous about impos­ing a top-down ide­o­log­i­cal flip on New Col­lege’s cur­ricu­lum and fac­ul­ty, it does­n’t actu­al­ly appear to be seri­ous in terms of the like­li­hood of suc­cess. At least if suc­cess is defined as cre­at­ing a col­lege that stu­dents want to attend and degrees peo­ple respect. After all, New Col­lege is slat­ed to get “DeSan­tis U” as its new pub­lic brand. What is that kind of aca­d­e­m­ic rep­u­ta­tion going to be worth out­side of con­ser­v­a­tive activist cir­cles?

    That chal­lenge in real­is­ti­cal­ly trans­form­ing New Col­lege under a hyper-polit­i­cal agen­da with­out destroy­ing gets at one of the meta-angles to this sto­ry: the far right is real­ly good at destroy­ing things, but not so great at build­ing. ‘Burn­ing it all down’ is the easy part. It’s what comes next where right-wing regimes con­sis­tent­ly fail unless the only thing the pop­u­lace is seek­ing is some sort of author­i­tar­i­an law and order, which is why whip­ping up a state of pub­lic hys­te­ria is always such an impor­tant part of far right pol­i­tics. Pub­lic hys­te­ria that trig­gers a hunger for a strong-man as a replace­ment for effec­tive poli­cies. What DeSan­tis and his CNP allies are try­ing to do here in build­ing a cred­i­ble right-wing aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tion real­ly isn’t in their wheel­house. Yes, destroy­ing New Col­lege as a cen­ter for edu­ca­tion­al excel­lence is some­thing they can do. But reshap­ing it into a respect­ed con­ser­v­a­tive ver­sion of itself is a far greater chal­lenge. A chal­lenge with­out an exist­ing tem­plate. Sure, Hills­dale Col­lege is being treat­ed as the tem­plate, but there’s no tem­plate for trans­form­ing a respect­ed lib­er­al arts pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty into a respect­ed right-wing ‘col­lege of the clas­sics’. This is a new project for the polit­i­cal right, and it’s the same crew that brought us the cur­rent freak­out over ‘crit­i­cal race the­o­ry’ and ‘trans­gen­dered kids’ who are going to be lead­ing this polit­i­cal effort.

    We’ll see how much suc­cess they have but, again, this is just the start. The start of the full spec­trum insti­tu­tion­al purge envi­sioned by Cur­tis Yarvin, some­one who just keeps grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty on right. That’s part of what makes Ron DeSan­tis’s ide­o­log­i­cal purge of New Col­lege such a big deal: it’s the tri­al run for a much, much big­ger, prob­a­bly com­ing in 2024:

    Sara­so­ta Her­ald-Tri­bune

    DeSan­tis seeks to trans­form Sara­so­ta’s New Col­lege with con­ser­v­a­tive board takeover

    Zac Ander­son
    Pub­lished 1:29 p.m. ET | Updat­ed 11:37 a.m. ET Jan. 7, 2023

    Gov. Ron DeSan­tis began the process Fri­day of trans­form­ing Sara­so­ta’s New Col­lege of Flori­da into a more con­ser­v­a­tive insti­tu­tion, appoint­ing six new board mem­bers, includ­ing con­ser­v­a­tive activist Christo­pher Rufo, a dean at con­ser­v­a­tive Hills­dale Col­lege and a senior fel­low at The Clare­mont Insti­tute, a right-wing think tank.

    “It is our hope that New Col­lege of Flori­da will become Flori­da’s clas­si­cal col­lege, more along the lines of a Hills­dale of the south,” Flori­da Edu­ca­tion Com­mis­sion­er Man­ny Diaz said in a state­ment.

    The shake­up of the 13-mem­ber board is cer­tain to cre­ate major ten­sions at New Col­lege, an insti­tu­tion that start­ed as a pro­gres­sive pri­vate school before becom­ing the state’s lib­er­al arts hon­ors col­lege. The small school’s stu­dent body and fac­ul­ty have a rep­u­ta­tion for lean­ing left polit­i­cal­ly.

    Turn­ing New Col­lege into a Flori­da ver­sion of Hills­dale would amount to flip­ping it upside down, a whole­sale rein­ven­tion akin to a hos­tile takeover, and one that many cur­rent stu­dents and fac­ul­ty are like­ly to resist.

    DeSan­tis aides blast­ed the school Fri­day and said an over­haul is need­ed.

    “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, like so many col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in Amer­i­ca, this insti­tu­tion has been com­plete­ly cap­tured by a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy that puts trendy, truth-rel­a­tive con­cepts above learn­ing,” said DeSan­tis Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Taryn Fenske.

    Rufo is known for his activism on trans­gen­der and racial issues, mak­ing him a leader in the new wave of con­ser­v­a­tive cul­ture wars. He joined DeSan­tis when the gov­er­nor signed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Edu­ca­tion Act, which is derid­ed by crit­ics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

    Rufo said in a series of Twit­ter posts Fri­day that pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties have “been cor­rupt­ed by woke nihilism” and he is “ready to trans­form high­er edu­ca­tion from with­in.” He said he plans to recruit new fac­ul­ty to New Col­lege to “cre­ate an insti­tu­tion where aca­d­e­mics can thrive, with­out self-cen­sor­ship.”

    “My ambi­tion is to help the new board major­i­ty trans­form New Col­lege into a clas­si­cal lib­er­al arts insti­tu­tion. We are recap­tur­ing high­er edu­ca­tion.” Rufo said.

    Rufo recent­ly applaud­ed DeSan­tis on Twit­ter for request­ing infor­ma­tion on diver­si­ty, equi­ty and inclu­sion and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry at all Flori­da col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties.

    “Gov. DeSan­tis is going to lay siege to uni­ver­si­ty ‘diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion’ pro­grams,” Rufo wrote.

    Among Rufo’s goals for New Col­lege that he laid out in a tweet: Restruc­tur­ing the admin­is­tra­tion, devel­op­ing “a new core cur­ricu­lum,” elim­i­nat­ing diver­si­ty, equi­ty and inclu­sion poli­cies and restruc­tur­ing aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ments.

    ...

    Gov. DeSan­tis is going to lay siege to uni­ver­si­ty “diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion” pro­grams. https://t.co/cD1PdiY2Js— Christo­pher F. Rufo ?? (@realchrisrufo) Jan­u­ary 4, 2023

    Join­ing Rufo on the New Col­lege board is Matthew Spald­ing, a pro­fes­sor of con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment at Hills­dale Col­lege and the dean of the col­lege’s grad­u­ate school of gov­ern­ment in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Spald­ing pre­vi­ous­ly was vice pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can stud­ies at the con­ser­v­a­tive Her­itage Foun­da­tion.

    Hills­dale is a small Chris­t­ian col­lege in Michi­gan that has been active in con­ser­v­a­tive edu­ca­tion pol­i­tics. DeSan­tis spoke at Hills­dale’s Nation­al Lead­er­ship Sem­i­nar last year and has tapped the school to help reshape Flori­da’s edu­ca­tion sys­tem.

    Charles Kesler, a pro­fes­sor of gov­ern­ment at Clere­mont McKen­na Col­lege and a senior fel­low at The Clere­mont Insti­tute, also is join­ing the New Col­lege board. Among the books writ­ten by Kesler: “I Am the Change: Barack Oba­ma and the Cri­sis of Lib­er­al­ism.”

    The Clere­mont Insti­tute has gained promi­nence in the Trump era.

    “Clare­mont schol­ars have col­lab­o­rat­ed with Ron DeSan­tis and helped shape the views of Clarence Thomas, Tom Cot­ton and the con­ser­v­a­tive activist Christo­pher Rufo, and the insti­tute received the Nation­al Human­i­ties Medal from Pres­i­dent Trump in 2019,” the New York Times wrote last year..

    Trump lawyer John East­man, anoth­er senior fel­low at The Clare­mont Insti­tute, recent­ly was referred to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice for inves­ti­ga­tion and poten­tial pros­e­cu­tion by the con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capi­tol. East­man wrote a memo detail­ing strate­gies for over­turn­ing the 2020 elec­tion results.

    Appoint­ing promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tives and indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with high-pro­file right-wing insti­tu­tions to New Col­lege is an effort by DeSan­tis to com­plete­ly reori­ent the school.

    DeSan­tis touched on his goals for high­er edu­ca­tion this month in his sec­ond inau­gu­ra­tion speech.

    “We must ensure that our insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing are focused on aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence and the pur­suit of truth, not the impo­si­tion of trendy ide­ol­o­gy,” he said.

    DeSan­tis spokesman Bryan Grif­fin high­light­ed the gov­er­nor’s com­ments in a state­ment that declared: “Start­ing today, the ship is turn­ing around. New Col­lege of Flori­da, under the gov­er­nor’s new appointees, will be refo­cused on its found­ing mis­sion of pro­vid­ing a world-class qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion with an excep­tion­al focus on the clas­sics.”

    The oth­er new board mem­bers are Mark Bauer­lein, who teach­es at Emory Uni­ver­si­ty, Debra Jenks, a New Col­lege alum and attor­ney, and Jason “Eddie” Speir, the co-founder, chair­man and super­in­ten­dent of Inspi­ra­tion Acad­e­my, a Chris­t­ian school in Braden­ton.

    The gov­er­nor gets six appoint­ments to each uni­ver­si­ty board, while the state Board of Gov­er­nors — which over­sees the uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem — gets five. The fac­ul­ty chair and stu­dent body pres­i­dent also serve on the board. The Board of Gov­er­nors, which is loaded with DeSan­tis allies, is poised to appoint a New Col­lege board mem­ber for a seat vacant on Jan. 7, mean­ing a major­i­ty of the board soon will con­sist of new appointees who can con­trol the direc­tion of the school.

    New Col­lege Pres­i­dent Patri­cia Okker thanked DeSan­tis “for today’s announce­ment and for the slate of new board mem­bers.”

    “I look for­ward to get­ting to know them and work­ing with them to ensure New Col­lege con­tin­ues to serve our stu­dents, com­mu­ni­ty, and state in the years to come,” Okker said in the brief state­ment.

    The gov­er­nor’s appoint­ments “fill posi­tions that were pre­vi­ous­ly vacant or expired, and I am grate­ful that New Col­lege will now have a full board,” Okker added. The board mem­bers serve five-year terms.

    Efforts to reach New Col­lege alum­ni for com­ment, as well as a foun­da­tion that sup­ports the col­lege, were unsuc­cess­ful Fri­day, and some pro­fes­sors said they did not want to com­ment.

    New Col­lege rou­tine­ly ranks well on high­er edu­ca­tion “best of” lists, hav­ing been sin­gled out as a good val­ue and among the best pub­lic lib­er­al arts col­leges. It is known for attract­ing accom­plished stu­dents to an inti­mate set­ting that blends aca­d­e­m­ic rig­or and quirky exper­i­men­tal­ism.

    How­ev­er, the school has strug­gled in recent years with low enroll­ment, low scores on a state sys­tem for rank­ing uni­ver­si­ties, con­cerns raised by state law­mak­ers about whether the col­lege is an effi­cient use of pub­lic mon­ey because of the high cost of each degree and ques­tions about the sta­bil­i­ty of its fund­ing.

    There was a push by Repub­li­can law­mak­ers in 2020 to merge New Col­lege with anoth­er high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tion. It was blocked by for­mer state Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Bill Gal­vano of Braden­ton.

    Gal­vano said at the time that he under­stood the con­cerns about New Col­lege’s cost-per-degree but argued the school “pro­vides a unique bal­ance between a tra­di­tion­al lib­er­al arts expe­ri­ence and a mod­ern, inno­v­a­tive cur­ricu­lum.”

    Gal­vano said Fri­day in a text mes­sage that he is “very sup­port­ive of these efforts and think this cre­ates a lot of pos­i­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties for the uni­ver­si­ty.”

    Oth­er Repub­li­can lead­ers in Sara­so­ta and Man­a­tee coun­ties also expressed sup­port for the gov­er­nor’s New Col­lege over­haul.

    ...

    The changes at New Col­lege come amid oth­er efforts by DeSan­tis to put his imprint on var­i­ous gov­ern­ment bod­ies, includ­ing the Palm Beach Coun­ty Com­mis­sion and Dis­ney’s Reedy Creek Improve­ment Dis­trict. Demo­c­ra­t­ic state Sen. Lori Berman said the com­bined actions make DeSan­tis look like an “auto­crat.”

    “Recent­ly, DeSan­tis installed a Repub­li­can to the PBC Com­mis­sion, announced plans to take over Dis­ney with a state-run board, and flood­ed New Col­lege’s board with con­ser­v­a­tives,” Berman wrote on Twit­ter. “There is no room for dis­sent. Not in local gov­ern­ments, not in busi­ness­es, not in schools. Auto­crat.”

    The choic­es for the New Col­lege board drew crit­i­cism from Andrew Gothard, pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed Fac­ul­ty of Flori­da union.

    “Like many Florid­i­ans who have ties to the New Col­lege com­mu­ni­ty, UFF (the Unit­ed Fac­ul­ty of Flori­da) was sur­prised and dis­turbed today to see the appoint­ment of six trustees whose only appar­ent inter­est in the insti­tu­tion is polit­i­cal­ly and ide­o­log­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed,” Gothard said in a state­ment to the News Ser­vice.

    Gothard said trustees have a “solemn duty” to act in the best inter­est of every­one on cam­pus­es.

    “Promis­es to upend pro­grams with ide­o­log­i­cal­ly dri­ven claims that could not be far­ther from the truth of what actu­al­ly occurs in a high­er edu­ca­tion class­room — these do noth­ing to improve New Col­lege, nor will they draw inter­est­ed stu­dents to a cam­pus where trustees are so at odds with the fac­ul­ty, the local admin­is­tra­tion and the truth,” Gothard said.

    ———–

    “DeSan­tis seeks to trans­form Sara­so­ta’s New Col­lege with con­ser­v­a­tive board takeover” by Zac Ander­son; Sara­so­ta Her­ald-Tri­bune; 01/07/2023

    ““It is our hope that New Col­lege of Flori­da will become Flori­da’s clas­si­cal col­lege, more along the lines of a Hills­dale of the south,” Flori­da Edu­ca­tion Com­mis­sion­er Man­ny Diaz said in a state­ment.”

    They aren’t hid­ing it. Flori­da’s GOP wants to turn this high­ly regard­ed left-lean­ing col­lege into a “Hills­dale of the south.” It’s effec­tive­ly an insti­tu­tion­al hos­tile takeover:

    ...
    The shake­up of the 13-mem­ber board is cer­tain to cre­ate major ten­sions at New Col­lege, an insti­tu­tion that start­ed as a pro­gres­sive pri­vate school before becom­ing the state’s lib­er­al arts hon­ors col­lege. The small school’s stu­dent body and fac­ul­ty have a rep­u­ta­tion for lean­ing left polit­i­cal­ly.

    Turn­ing New Col­lege into a Flori­da ver­sion of Hills­dale would amount to flip­ping it upside down, a whole­sale rein­ven­tion akin to a hos­tile takeover, and one that many cur­rent stu­dents and fac­ul­ty are like­ly to resist.

    ...

    Appoint­ing promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tives and indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with high-pro­file right-wing insti­tu­tions to New Col­lege is an effort by DeSan­tis to com­plete­ly reori­ent the school.
    ...

    And as we should expect, Christo­pher Rufo — the per­son who has for­mu­lat­ed the man­u­fac­tured out­rage cam­paigns for every­thing from ‘CRT’ to ‘trans kids’ in recent years — was cho­sen by DeSan­tis to lead this effort as a new mem­ber of New Col­lege board. One of six cho­sen by DeSan­tis. As Rufo wrote, “Gov. DeSan­tis is going to lay siege to uni­ver­si­ty ‘diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion’ pro­grams.” Omi­nous words from the per­son DeSan­tis chose to car­ry out this insti­tu­tion­al “siege”:

    ...
    “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, like so many col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in Amer­i­ca, this insti­tu­tion has been com­plete­ly cap­tured by a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy that puts trendy, truth-rel­a­tive con­cepts above learn­ing,” said DeSan­tis Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Taryn Fenske.

    Rufo is known for his activism on trans­gen­der and racial issues, mak­ing him a leader in the new wave of con­ser­v­a­tive cul­ture wars. He joined DeSan­tis when the gov­er­nor signed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Edu­ca­tion Act, which is derid­ed by crit­ics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

    Rufo said in a series of Twit­ter posts Fri­day that pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties have “been cor­rupt­ed by woke nihilism” and he is “ready to trans­form high­er edu­ca­tion from with­in.” He said he plans to recruit new fac­ul­ty to New Col­lege to “cre­ate an insti­tu­tion where aca­d­e­mics can thrive, with­out self-cen­sor­ship.”

    “My ambi­tion is to help the new board major­i­ty trans­form New Col­lege into a clas­si­cal lib­er­al arts insti­tu­tion. We are recap­tur­ing high­er edu­ca­tion.” Rufo said.

    Rufo recent­ly applaud­ed DeSan­tis on Twit­ter for request­ing infor­ma­tion on diver­si­ty, equi­ty and inclu­sion and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry at all Flori­da col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties.

    “Gov. DeSan­tis is going to lay siege to uni­ver­si­ty ‘diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion’ pro­grams,” Rufo wrote.

    Among Rufo’s goals for New Col­lege that he laid out in a tweet: Restruc­tur­ing the admin­is­tra­tion, devel­op­ing “a new core cur­ricu­lum,” elim­i­nat­ing diver­si­ty, equi­ty and inclu­sion poli­cies and restruc­tur­ing aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ments.
    ...

    And of course we find a pro­fes­sor of con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment at Hills­dale Col­lege and the dean of Hills­dale’s grad­u­ate school of gov­ern­ment in DC, Math­ew Spald­ing, also join­ing the board. It was an expect­ed choice giv­en the ‘con­sul­tant’ role Hills­dale played in craft­ing DeSan­tis’s new ‘anti-woke’ edu­ca­tion law:

    ...
    Join­ing Rufo on the New Col­lege board is Matthew Spald­ing, a pro­fes­sor of con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment at Hills­dale Col­lege and the dean of the col­lege’s grad­u­ate school of gov­ern­ment in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Spald­ing pre­vi­ous­ly was vice pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can stud­ies at the con­ser­v­a­tive Her­itage Foun­da­tion.

    Hills­dale is a small Chris­t­ian col­lege in Michi­gan that has been active in con­ser­v­a­tive edu­ca­tion pol­i­tics. DeSan­tis spoke at Hills­dale’s Nation­al Lead­er­ship Sem­i­nar last year and has tapped the school to help reshape Flori­da’s edu­ca­tion sys­tem.
    ...

    Then there’s Charles Kesler, a pro­fes­sor of gov­ern­ment at Clare­mont McKen­na Col­lege and a senior fel­low at The Clare­mont Insti­tute. Recall how Dr. Lar­ry P. Arnn — the Pres­i­dent of Hills­dale Col­lege, Her­itage Foun­da­tion trustee, and co-founder of the Clare­mont Insti­tute — is on the CNP mem­ber­ship list. In addi­tion, Dou­glas A. Jef­frey — VP for Exter­nal Affairs and Hills­dale Col­lege, and for­mer exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of the Clare­mont Insti­tuteis also on the CNP mem­ber­ship list. Also recall how it was the Clare­mont Insti­tute’s John East­man who played a key role in for­mu­lat­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for over­turn­ing the 2020 elec­tion results. And CNP-mem­ber Gin­ni Thomas — who played a sig­nif­i­cant role of her own in the post-2020 elec­tion schem­ing that led up to the Jan 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion includ­ing arrang­ing meet­ings between East­man and con­ser­v­a­tive activistsran a DC-based con­sti­tu­tion­al stud­ies cen­ter at Hills­dale fol­low­ing her five year stint at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. So when we see a Clare­mont Insti­tute senior fel­low involved with the New Col­lege purge it’s impor­tant to keep in mind how deeply inter­twined the Clare­mont Insti­tute is with this broad­er CNP-direct­ed net­work that includes Hills­dale Col­lege:

    ...
    Charles Kesler, a pro­fes­sor of gov­ern­ment at Clere­mont McKen­na Col­lege and a senior fel­low at The Clere­mont Insti­tute, also is join­ing the New Col­lege board. Among the books writ­ten by Kesler: “I Am the Change: Barack Oba­ma and the Cri­sis of Lib­er­al­ism.”

    The Clere­mont Insti­tute has gained promi­nence in the Trump era.

    “Clare­mont schol­ars have col­lab­o­rat­ed with Ron DeSan­tis and helped shape the views of Clarence Thomas, Tom Cot­ton and the con­ser­v­a­tive activist Christo­pher Rufo, and the insti­tute received the Nation­al Human­i­ties Medal from Pres­i­dent Trump in 2019,” the New York Times wrote last year..

    Trump lawyer John East­man, anoth­er senior fel­low at The Clare­mont Insti­tute, recent­ly was referred to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice for inves­ti­ga­tion and poten­tial pros­e­cu­tion by the con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capi­tol. East­man wrote a memo detail­ing strate­gies for over­turn­ing the 2020 elec­tion results.
    ...

    It’s not just the six new board mem­bers DeSan­tis gets to appoint. There’s also the five seats select­ed by DeSan­tis’s allies at the state Board of Gov­er­nors. New Col­lege’s lead­er­ship is slat­ed to become a col­lec­tion of polit­i­cal cronies:

    ...
    The oth­er new board mem­bers are Mark Bauer­lein, who teach­es at Emory Uni­ver­si­ty, Debra Jenks, a New Col­lege alum and attor­ney, and Jason “Eddie” Speir, the co-founder, chair­man and super­in­ten­dent of Inspi­ra­tion Acad­e­my, a Chris­t­ian school in Braden­ton.

    The gov­er­nor gets six appoint­ments to each uni­ver­si­ty board, while the state Board of Gov­er­nors — which over­sees the uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem — gets five. The fac­ul­ty chair and stu­dent body pres­i­dent also serve on the board. The Board of Gov­er­nors, which is loaded with DeSan­tis allies, is poised to appoint a New Col­lege board mem­ber for a seat vacant on Jan. 7, mean­ing a major­i­ty of the board soon will con­sist of new appointees who can con­trol the direc­tion of the school.
    ...

    And that brings us to the obser­va­tions from Andrew Gothard, pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed Fac­ul­ty of Flori­da union: it’s hard to see who is going to want to enroll in a school where the board has decid­ed to turn the school into a right-wing polit­i­cal project. Who wants that as a lead­ing force in their col­lege expe­ri­ence? Up and com­ing right-wing polit­i­cal oper­a­tives, maybe, but that’s about it. New Col­lege is known for being a some­what selec­tive school that attracts tal­ent­ed stu­dents. What are the odds that’s going to be main­tained after the school switch­es over to some sort of Hills­dale tem­plate? Again, this is the test case for a much big­ger agen­da. That’s part of what makes the ques­tions about the via­bil­i­ty of this plot so grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing: they need this to work because they have very big plans:

    ...
    The choic­es for the New Col­lege board drew crit­i­cism from Andrew Gothard, pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed Fac­ul­ty of Flori­da union.

    “Like many Florid­i­ans who have ties to the New Col­lege com­mu­ni­ty, UFF (the Unit­ed Fac­ul­ty of Flori­da) was sur­prised and dis­turbed today to see the appoint­ment of six trustees whose only appar­ent inter­est in the insti­tu­tion is polit­i­cal­ly and ide­o­log­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed,” Gothard said in a state­ment to the News Ser­vice.

    Gothard said trustees have a “solemn duty” to act in the best inter­est of every­one on cam­pus­es.

    “Promis­es to upend pro­grams with ide­o­log­i­cal­ly dri­ven claims that could not be far­ther from the truth of what actu­al­ly occurs in a high­er edu­ca­tion class­room — these do noth­ing to improve New Col­lege, nor will they draw inter­est­ed stu­dents to a cam­pus where trustees are so at odds with the fac­ul­ty, the local admin­is­tra­tion and the truth,” Gothard said.
    ...

    If you’re a high school senior look­ing for a future as a con­ser­v­a­tive oper­a­tive, a four stint as a stu­dent rab­ble rouser at New Col­lege could be an effec­tive way to punch your right-wing loy­al­ty card. But if you’re just a reg­u­lar stu­dent look­ing for a qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, why would you want to go to ‘DeSan­tis U’ and get a politi­cized edu­ca­tion? Or if you’re just a reg­u­lar Chris­t­ian con­ser­v­a­tive stu­dent look­ing for a Chris­t­ian con­ser­v­a­tive col­lege edu­ca­tion. Why choose New Col­lege based sole­ly on the gov­er­nor’s pledge to turn it into a new Hills­dale? It’s quite a gam­ble with your edu­ca­tion. This whole ‘flip the insti­tu­tion’ seems like a crazy gam­bit. Then again, with a stu­dent body of just around 700, it may not be that dif­fi­cult to find enough bud­ding con­ser­v­a­tive oper­a­tives to fill in the gap. Either way, as Christo­pher Rufo makes clear in the fol­low­ing piece cel­e­brat­ing his new role at New Col­lege, he is going there with the inten­tion of exe­cut­ing noth­ing less than a com­plete ide­o­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion. Or, rather, a counter-rev­o­lu­tion against the New Left forces intent on tear­ing down soci­ety:

    City Jour­nal

    Recap­tur­ing High­er Edu­ca­tion

    On the plan to trans­form New Col­lege of Flori­da into a clas­si­cal lib­er­al arts insti­tu­tion

    Christo­pher F. Rufo
    Jan­u­ary 12, 2023

    The most sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal sto­ry of the past half-cen­tu­ry is the activist Left’s “long march through the insti­tu­tions.” Begin­ning in the 1960s, left-wing activists and intel­lec­tu­als, inspired by the­o­rists such as Ital­ian Com­mu­nist Anto­nio Gram­sci and New Left philoso­pher Her­bert Mar­cuse, made a con­cert­ed effort to embed their ideas in edu­ca­tion, gov­ern­ment, phil­an­thropy, media, and oth­er impor­tant sec­tors.

    This process came to spec­tac­u­lar fruition fol­low­ing the 2020 death of George Floyd, when it seemed that every pres­tige insti­tu­tion in the Unit­ed States got busy advanc­ing the same ide­o­log­i­cal line on race, gen­der, and culture—which, whether they knew it or not, mim­ic­ked the pre­cise themes that the old rad­i­cals had orig­i­nal­ly pro­posed.

    The long march through the insti­tu­tions, in oth­er words, was com­plete.

    But con­ser­v­a­tives, too, have updat­ed their play­book. They have read their Gram­sci and have begun to under­stand that ide­o­log­i­cal cap­ture pos­es a grave threat to the Amer­i­can sys­tem. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shook con­ser­v­a­tives out of their com­pla­cen­cy with instinc­tu­al, if some­times crude, cul­tur­al coun­ter­mea­sures. Flori­da gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis has built on this approach, offer­ing a sophis­ti­cat­ed pol­i­cy agen­da for pro­tect­ing fam­i­lies against cap­tured bureau­cra­cies.

    Last week, DeSan­tis raised the stakes and pro­posed, for the first time, a strat­e­gy for revers­ing the long march through the insti­tu­tions, begin­ning with what Mar­cuse believed was the ini­tial rev­o­lu­tion­ary insti­tu­tion: the uni­ver­si­ty. The gov­er­nor appoint­ed a slate of new trustees to the board of the New Col­lege of Flori­da, a noto­ri­ous­ly left-wing cam­pus, sim­i­lar to that of Ever­green State in Olympia, Wash­ing­ton. DeSan­tis tasked the new board with trans­form­ing it into, to quote the governor’s chief of staff, the “Hills­dale of the South”—in oth­er words, a clas­si­cal lib­er­al arts col­lege that pro­vides a dis­tinct­ly tra­di­tion­al brand of edu­ca­tion and schol­ar­ship.

    ...

    I was hon­ored to be appoint­ed to this board, along with friends and col­leagues from the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, includ­ing Clare­mont Insti­tute schol­ar Charles Kesler, Hills­dale Col­lege vice pres­i­dent Matthew Spald­ing, for­mer Emory Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Mark Bauer­lein, and oth­ers. Gov­er­nor DeSan­tis has tasked us with some­thing that has nev­er been done: insti­tu­tion­al recap­ture. If we are suc­cess­ful, the effort can serve as a mod­el for oth­er states.

    The premise of this reform is sim­ple. Vot­ers in Flori­da, who char­ter and fund the pub­lic-uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem through their leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tives, deserve to have their val­ues reflect­ed and trans­mit­ted in their pub­lic insti­tu­tions. Left-wing hege­mo­ny over pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, in aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ments and admin­is­tra­tions, is anti­thet­i­cal to free inquiry and civ­il debate. With the New Col­lege of Flori­da trans­formed into a clas­si­cal insti­tu­tion, vot­ers will have access to a wider range of voic­es, schol­ars, and oppor­tu­ni­ties for their chil­dren. At a moment when uni­ver­si­ties are merg­ing into a homoge­nous, “diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclusion”-style morass, it is essen­tial that the people’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives cre­ate mean­ing­ful alter­na­tives.

    This task won’t be easy. The lega­cy media has already sought to por­tray this effort as one of “bar­bar­ians at the gates of the uni­ver­si­ty.” But the truth points in the oth­er direc­tion. As esteemed his­to­ri­an Daniel Boorstin observed in 1968, the activists of the New Left—that is, the prog­en­i­tors of the “woke” ide­olo­gies that have now seized America’s institutions—were “the new bar­bar­ians” who reject­ed the ideals of the Amer­i­can Found­ing and sought to tear down soci­ety. “We must not be deceived by our own hyper­sen­si­tive lib­er­al con­sciences, nor by the famil­iar, respect­ed labels under which the New Bar­bar­ians like to trav­el,” Boorstin wrote. “If Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion is to sur­vive, if we are to resist and defeat the New Bar­barism, we must see it for what it is.”

    Con­ser­v­a­tives and old-line lib­er­als, how­ev­er, did not heed Boorstin’s warn­ing. Decade after decade, they ced­ed insti­tu­tion­al ter­ri­to­ry to the rad­i­cal Left until, a half-cen­tu­ry lat­er, the basic nar­ra­tives of the Weath­er Under­ground and the Black Pan­ther Par­ty, trans­lat­ed into the lan­guage of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry and “diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion,” had pre­vailed almost every­where.

    We hope to reverse this process, begin­ning on the Sara­so­ta cam­pus of New Col­lege. The board of trustees will assem­ble in the com­ing months, but in the inter­im, I have pro­posed var­i­ous pol­i­cy changes that will help the col­lege to begin the rein­ven­tion. My pro­pos­als include redesign­ing the cur­ricu­lum to align with the clas­si­cal mod­el; abol­ish­ing DEI pro­grams and replac­ing them with “equal­i­ty, mer­it, and col­or­blind­ness” prin­ci­ples; adopt­ing the Kal­ven state­ment on insti­tu­tion­al neu­tral­i­ty; restruc­tur­ing the admin­is­tra­tion and aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ments; recruit­ing new fac­ul­ty with exper­tise in the clas­si­cal lib­er­al arts tra­di­tion; and estab­lish­ing a grad­u­ate school for train­ing teach­ers in clas­si­cal edu­ca­tion.

    Ours is a project of recap­ture and rein­ven­tion. Con­ser­v­a­tives have the oppor­tu­ni­ty final­ly to demon­strate an effec­tive coun­ter­mea­sure against the long march through the insti­tu­tions. The Left’s per­ma­nent bureau­cra­cy will be dead-set against this gam­bit, but if it suc­ceeds, a new era for high­er education—and for the country—is pos­si­ble.

    ———-

    “Recap­tur­ing High­er Edu­ca­tion” by Christo­pher F. Rufo; City Jour­nal; 01/12/2023

    Ours is a project of recap­ture and rein­ven­tion. Con­ser­v­a­tives have the oppor­tu­ni­ty final­ly to demon­strate an effec­tive coun­ter­mea­sure against the long march through the insti­tu­tions. The Left’s per­ma­nent bureau­cra­cy will be dead-set against this gam­bit, but if it suc­ceeds, a new era for high­er education—and for the country—is pos­si­ble.”

    A project of recap­ture and rein­ven­tion. Christo­pher Rufo sure has a knack for say­ing the qui­et part out loud. In fact, that’s his core fram­ing of the whole project. He’s putting the right-wing fan­tasies about a vast left-wing dom­i­na­tion of soci­ety via the cap­ture of uni­ver­si­ties front and cen­ter in his descrip­tion of the agen­da he’s going to impose on behalf of DeSan­tis. They are going to reverse the left­’s “long march through the insti­tu­tions, begin­ning with what Mar­cuse believed was the ini­tial rev­o­lu­tion­ary insti­tu­tion: the uni­ver­si­ty.” Rufo is fram­ing this is counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ary terms:

    ...
    But con­ser­v­a­tives, too, have updat­ed their play­book. They have read their Gram­sci and have begun to under­stand that ide­o­log­i­cal cap­ture pos­es a grave threat to the Amer­i­can sys­tem. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shook con­ser­v­a­tives out of their com­pla­cen­cy with instinc­tu­al, if some­times crude, cul­tur­al coun­ter­mea­sures. Flori­da gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis has built on this approach, offer­ing a sophis­ti­cat­ed pol­i­cy agen­da for pro­tect­ing fam­i­lies against cap­tured bureau­cra­cies.

    Last week, DeSan­tis raised the stakes and pro­posed, for the first time, a strat­e­gy for revers­ing the long march through the insti­tu­tions, begin­ning with what Mar­cuse believed was the ini­tial rev­o­lu­tion­ary insti­tu­tion: the uni­ver­si­ty. The gov­er­nor appoint­ed a slate of new trustees to the board of the New Col­lege of Flori­da, a noto­ri­ous­ly left-wing cam­pus, sim­i­lar to that of Ever­green State in Olympia, Wash­ing­ton. DeSan­tis tasked the new board with trans­form­ing it into, to quote the governor’s chief of staff, the “Hills­dale of the South”—in oth­er words, a clas­si­cal lib­er­al arts col­lege that pro­vides a dis­tinct­ly tra­di­tion­al brand of edu­ca­tion and schol­ar­ship.

    ...

    I was hon­ored to be appoint­ed to this board, along with friends and col­leagues from the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, includ­ing Clare­mont Insti­tute schol­ar Charles Kesler, Hills­dale Col­lege vice pres­i­dent Matthew Spald­ing, for­mer Emory Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Mark Bauer­lein, and oth­ers. Gov­er­nor DeSan­tis has tasked us with some­thing that has nev­er been done: insti­tu­tion­al recap­ture. If we are suc­cess­ful, the effort can serve as a mod­el for oth­er states.
    ...

    Also note the apoc­a­lyp­tic lan­guage used to describe what they are dis­man­tling: a New Left “who reject­ed the ideals of the Amer­i­can Found­ing and sought to tear down soci­ety.” It’s a warn­ing to any aspir­ing New Col­lege his­to­ry major that the Amer­i­can his­to­ry com­po­nent of their upcom­ing cur­ricu­lum is like­ly going to be tak­en from David Bar­ton’s warped Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist ver­sion of Amer­i­can his­to­ry. Or what­ev­er Hills­dale is teach­ing, which is pre­sum­ably based on Bar­ton’s ‘teach­ings’ any­way:

    ...
    The premise of this reform is sim­ple. Vot­ers in Flori­da, who char­ter and fund the pub­lic-uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem through their leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tives, deserve to have their val­ues reflect­ed and trans­mit­ted in their pub­lic insti­tu­tions. Left-wing hege­mo­ny over pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, in aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ments and admin­is­tra­tions, is anti­thet­i­cal to free inquiry and civ­il debate. With the New Col­lege of Flori­da trans­formed into a clas­si­cal insti­tu­tion, vot­ers will have access to a wider range of voic­es, schol­ars, and oppor­tu­ni­ties for their chil­dren. At a moment when uni­ver­si­ties are merg­ing into a homoge­nous, “diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclusion”-style morass, it is essen­tial that the people’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives cre­ate mean­ing­ful alter­na­tives.

    This task won’t be easy. The lega­cy media has already sought to por­tray this effort as one of “bar­bar­ians at the gates of the uni­ver­si­ty.” But the truth points in the oth­er direc­tion. As esteemed his­to­ri­an Daniel Boorstin observed in 1968, the activists of the New Left—that is, the prog­en­i­tors of the “woke” ide­olo­gies that have now seized America’s institutions—were “the new bar­bar­ians” who reject­ed the ideals of the Amer­i­can Found­ing and sought to tear down soci­ety. “We must not be deceived by our own hyper­sen­si­tive lib­er­al con­sciences, nor by the famil­iar, respect­ed labels under which the New Bar­bar­ians like to trav­el,” Boorstin wrote. “If Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion is to sur­vive, if we are to resist and defeat the New Bar­barism, we must see it for what it is.”
    ...

    Christo­pher Rufo’s anti-woke cru­sade just keeps pick­ing up steam. But as Rufo’s apoc­a­lyp­tic lan­guage — the recap­ture of insti­tu­tions from the forced of soci­etal destruc­tion — reminds us, there’s a dif­fer­ent indi­vid­ual who should real­ly be seen as the orig­i­nal author of the polit­i­cal script we’re watch­ing play out right now: Cur­tis “Men­cious Mold­bug” Yarvin. As author Eliz­a­beth San­difer describes in the fol­low­ing Cur­rent Affairs inter­view from back in May, what Ron DeSan­tis has been doing to Flori­da’s edu­ca­tion sys­tem and his larg­er attack on ‘wokeism’ is like the chan­nel­ing of Mold­bug. A fix­a­tion on the ‘lib­er­al media’ and ‘woke acad­e­mia’ has been at the core of Mold­bug’s writ­ings for years. Along with a long for sweep­ing insti­tu­tion­al purges. Purges that, as Rufo point­ed out above, are final­ly hap­pen­ing in Flori­da. And that’s the big­ger sto­ry here: Ron DeSan­tis is get­ting the Mold­bug mass purge ball rolling with big plans for much big­ger purges nation­al­ly:

    Cur­rent Affairs

    The Strange and Ter­ri­fy­ing Ideas of Neo­re­ac­tionar­ies

    Author Eliz­a­beth San­difer explains the dan­ger­ous ideas of the far-right neo­re­ac­tionar­ies, who have ties to Sil­i­con Val­ley and a hos­til­i­ty toward democ­ra­cy.

    Nathan J. Robin­son
    filed 30 May 2022 in Inter­views

    Eliz­a­beth San­difer is the author of Neo­re­ac­tion a Basilisk: Essays On and Around the Alt-Right. She has tak­en a deep dive into the thoughts and writ­ings of the so-called neo­re­ac­tionary move­ment, or the “new right,” a ten­den­cy high­light­ed in a recent Van­i­ty Fair arti­cle by James Pogue, who report­ed from the Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Con­fer­ence. Pogue argues that there is a new ten­den­cy in right-wing thought that is influ­enc­ing some promi­nent Repub­li­can can­di­dates for office, includ­ing J.D. Vance of Ohio and Blake Mas­ters of Ari­zona, both of whom have close ties to Peter Thiel, the Pay­Pal bil­lion­aire, and also to a rather mys­te­ri­ous and less­er-known pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al by the name of Cur­tis Yarvin, a.k.a. Men­cius Mold­bug. Is this a fringe intel­lec­tu­al ten­den­cy that can be ignored, or a bud­ding move­ment? San­difer spoke with edi­tor-in-chief Nathan J. Robin­son on the Cur­rent Affairs pod­cast to sort things out. This inter­view has been edit­ed and con­densed for gram­mar and clar­i­ty.

    * Robin­son

    Eliz­a­beth San­difer, I need you to help us under­stand this neo­re­ac­tionary ten­den­cy. Can you dis­cuss what it is?

    * San­difer

    Neo­re­ac­tion is one attempt of mod­ern far right philosophy—we can just go ahead and call it fascism—to cre­ate an intel­lec­tu­al basis. It was for­mu­lat­ed by Cur­tis Yarvin, who writes under the pen name Men­cius Mold­bug, or for­mer­ly wrote.

    * Robin­son

    The artist for­mer­ly known as Mold­bug?

    * San­difer

    These days he uses his real name Cur­tis Yarvin, but I still think of him as Mold­bug because that’s what he was going by when I wrote about him. Yarvin has been quite influ­en­tial on a num­ber of key peo­ple. He has a demon­stra­bly huge influ­ence on Peter Thiel. We know he’s got influ­ence on Blake Mas­ters and J.D. Vance, as that Van­i­ty Fair arti­cle makes clear. We have very strong evi­dence that he’s had influ­ence on Steve Ban­non. He’s just a guy a lot of these peo­ple look to as kind of an intel­lec­tu­al light. He’s been on the Tuck­er Carl­son show, which did a fair bit to main­stream him. So a lot of peo­ple look up to him as some­thing of an intel­lec­tu­al light, which is inter­est­ing if you actu­al­ly read any of his work, because, well… I call him out­right stu­pid in my book, and I’m gonna large­ly stand by that.

    I think that there is a long tra­di­tion of right-wing “phi­los­o­phy” that’s real­ly pop­u­lar among right-wing nut­ters and as soon as it gets out­side that lit­tle bub­ble, it gets absolute­ly shot to hell by oth­er philoso­phers. And I think to describe Yarvin in terms he would prob­a­bly take as a compliment—and I very much mean as an insult—he’s kind of a mod­ern day Ayn Rand.

    So his broad philo­soph­i­cal idea is he’s just real­ly obsessed with order. He thinks that order is the absolute best thing that can hap­pen. Chaos, unruli­ness, rebelliousness—all these things are inher­ent­ly very, very bad.

    And so his belief, as he expressed back in his Mold­bug days—and he’s not real­ly backed down off of it in any sub­stan­tive way—is that basi­cal­ly, Cal­i­for­nia should secede, become its own nation, and sim­ply impose a CEO with monar­chic, god­like pow­ers. At the time, he sug­gest­ed Steve Jobs would be a par­tic­u­lar­ly good pick for the absolute monarch of Cal­i­for­nia and that the pur­pose of own­ing Cal­i­for­nia and run­ning it as a cor­po­rate monar­chy is explic­it­ly for prof­it. That was also a part of Yarvin’s philo­soph­i­cal vision for what the world should do.

    I don’t want to pin him too much with the slight­ly satir­i­cal and delib­er­ate­ly over-the-top clickbait‑y idea of mak­ing Steve Jobs king of California—that is him using a rhetor­i­cal device to get atten­tion. But he does very, very much believe that rich elites should be in absolute con­trol of every­thing, and peo­ple who are not landown­ers and do not have a ton of mon­ey should basi­cal­ly be thought of as the equiv­a­lent of slaves.

    * Robin­son

    The phi­los­o­phy here is explic­it­ly monar­chist, right? He open­ly believes that one per­son should have almost absolute pow­er.

    * San­difer

    The per­son should be account­able to a board of direc­tors, per­haps. But no more than that, and the board of direc­tors should just be able to fire him and replace him with a new absolute monar­chy if they feel the need. He’s very clear on that. Again, back in his more satir­i­cal Mold­bug days, he actu­al­ly advo­cat­ed for Stu­art restora­tion in the UK, the rolling back of the Glo­ri­ous Rev­o­lu­tion, and undo­ing William of Orange’s takeover and the reign of William and Mary to put it back in the hands of the Stu­art kings. He thought that the Whig­gish demo­c­ra­t­ic turn was a fun­da­men­tal mis­take of his­to­ry that should be undone. Again, this is him in his old­er satir­i­cal mode.

    * Robin­son

    Was he being satir­i­cal when he endorsed or appeared to endorse human slav­ery?

    * San­difer

    This is the prob­lem with his semi-satir­i­cal, clickbait‑y mode of writ­ing. He doesn’t seem to make a huge dis­tinc­tion between employ­ees and slaves in his philo­soph­i­cal sys­tem. He cer­tain­ly seems to believe that out­right inden­tured servi­tude and own­er­ship is an accept­able arrange­ment. And he sure did overt­ly say that Black peo­ple are genet­i­cal­ly pre­dis­posed to make good slaves. These are all things he def­i­nite­ly, lit­er­al­ly says. Was he per­haps being satir­i­cal? I guess my response to that is: do you real­ly care if he’s being satir­i­cal when he says Black peo­ple are genet­i­cal­ly pre­dis­posed to mak­ing good slaves? Per­son­al­ly, I don’t.

    * Robin­son

    I am torn as to how valu­able it is to go into the phi­los­o­phy because, as you say, it is, in many ways, extreme­ly stu­pid. I was read­ing it. This guy has a Sub­stack and it is, to me, unread­able.

    * San­difer

    He is fright­en­ing­ly ver­bose. I’ve heard peo­ple say he’s a good writer. I don’t see it at all.

    * Robin­son

    Oh, my God. I’ve nev­er read any­thing worse.

    * San­difer

    Right. As some­one who has writ­ten a num­ber of books and at least has a mod­est amount of pop­u­lar acclaim, inas­much as I am an expert on prose writ­ing, his prose is absolute­ly unread­able. It’s shit. I’m allowed to swear here, right?

    * Robin­son

    Yes.

    * San­difer

    It’s com­plete fes­ter­ing dogshit. It’s hor­ri­ble. It is ver­bose. It makes a painful lack of effort to get to the point on the occa­sion when it actu­al­ly makes a point. His argu­men­ta­tion aspires to shod­di­ness, because that would at least imply that there’s a degree of con­struc­tion there. It’s absolute­ly awful. I take it apart in some metic­u­lous detail in Neo­re­ac­tion a Basilisk because in that book, I thought it was impor­tant to pay it as much intel­lec­tu­al respect as I could before I took it out back and shot it. But it was not hard to argue against and to find the flaws. You’re real­ly play­ing on easy mode there.

    * Robin­son

    Your book does a pub­lic ser­vice. Peo­ple don’t have to comb through thou­sands of pages to try to under­stand the things you’ve read. You’ve laid it out.

    * San­difer

    I’ll make this ful­ly explic­it. I can­not encour­age you enough not to both­er read­ing this. You have some­thing bet­ter to do with your life—clipping your toe­nails, per­haps. Star­ing at a wall. Many small crimes that only do a lit­tle bit of harm. Avoid read­ing him. Lit­er­al­ly almost any­thing you can think of to do right now is a bet­ter idea than read­ing Cur­tis Yarvin.

    ...

    * Robin­son

    It was kind of shock­ing to me when I start­ed a dive into the col­lect­ed works of Mold­bug. It doesn’t real­ly make many attempts to be con­vinc­ing in a very log­i­cal way. I mean, let’s say you were to try to per­suade me that it’s a good idea to have a dic­ta­tor, which is what he believes. He believes that we should have a dic­ta­tor. He believes in a hier­ar­chy. He believes in abol­ish­ing democ­ra­cy and elec­tions and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the gov­erned in gov­er­nance. If you were to try to con­vince me of those incred­i­bly rad­i­cal propo­si­tions that instinc­tive­ly hor­ri­fy me, you would have a pret­ty high bur­den. And he doesn’t even real­ly seem to make much of an attempt to show why this wouldn’t be hor­ri­fy­ing and dystopi­an.

    * San­difer

    It reads hell­ish­ly dystopi­an. You could write a real­ly good cyber­punk dystopia off of the ideas espoused by Cur­tis Yarvin. I may or may not be work­ing on that. There’s a pas­sage in his Men­cius Mold­bug days when he very ardent­ly and pas­sion­ate­ly describes basi­cal­ly the entire Whig­gish movement—a lot of old British rad­i­cal groups like the Lev­ellers and more broad­ly the entire kind of roman­tic, rebel­lious artis­tic tra­di­tion of British lit­er­a­ture, peo­ple like William Blake—as a bunch of freaks who he despis­es and thinks the world is worse off for exist­ing. I am some­one who is very pas­sion­ate about William Blake in par­tic­u­lar. A lot of these peo­ple that he dis­miss­es as evil freaks, I look to as out­right role mod­els.

    I have a very, very strong and basic dis­agree­ment with Yarvin/Moldbug… I’m going to be doing this [with his name] the whole pod­cast. I apol­o­gize.

    ...

    * Robin­son

    What’s inter­est­ing about read­ing far right phi­los­o­phy is that they’re very open about their attempt to make a world that would not be worth liv­ing in. I have read Mein Kampf, and every­thing Hitler lays out is a pro­gram for killing every­one I love and every­thing that I love.

    * San­difer

    I sup­pose in defense of their log­i­cal con­sis­ten­cy and intel­lec­tu­al hon­esty, I wouldn’t want to be alive in their world, but they don’t want me to be alive in their world, either.

    * Robin­son

    It’s true. They’re pret­ty clear about it. The word fas­cism is tossed about a lot. But I think one of the things that is valu­able about the works of Yarvin is that he’s very open about it. He real­ly does say: We need a dic­ta­tor­ship, and it needs to be pret­ty absolute. And I hate all of the freaks. And I believe in a world of order, and I’m not going to try to jus­ti­fy why that order is good. But I think that I, and peo­ple like me, should be at the top of the social hier­ar­chy, and every­one else should be bru­tal­ly oppressed.

    * San­difer

    He’s not a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist bil­lion­aire or any­thing. But I think he real­ly thinks peo­ple like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk should be run­ning the world. There is some­thing of a cult around these peo­ple, and Yarvin believes in it whole­heart­ed­ly. Yarvin absolute­ly believes that peo­ple who are good at mak­ing mon­ey are prob­a­bly good at every­thing else.

    * Robin­son

    So the way that we’ve talked about it so far makes it seem like it could appeal to almost nobody who wasn’t extreme­ly rich them­selves. Musk obvi­ous­ly has his cult. But there’s some­thing that you dis­cuss in the book that seems to be part of the source of the appeal of these ideas. Anti-semi­tism is often called the social­ism of fools, right? Because it uses some of the oppo­si­tion to cap­i­tal­ists and bankers, but it mis­places the vil­lain. Yarvin’s diag­no­sis of society—the things that he points out, that he’s try­ing to rec­ti­fy, he actu­al­ly match­es about 30 per­cent of things that I hear Noam Chom­sky say about the dys­func­tions of lib­er­al­ism. That gives a cer­tain truth to some of what he says in terms of his diag­no­sis, even though his pre­scrip­tion is fas­cism.

    * San­difer

    My dear friend, Jack Gra­ham, who co-wrote one of the chap­ters of Neo­re­ac­tion a Basilisk with me, gave me a phrase that I hap­pi­ly stole with­in the book, where he says that Yarvin is a failed Marx­ist in the same way that Jupiter is a failed star. Yarvin starts down this analy­sis, and if you fol­low it rea­son­ably rig­or­ous­ly, you get to a fair­ly accu­rate and use­ful diag­no­sis of every­thing that is wrong with the world. And then some­where on the way, before he gets to any of those actu­al good points, he makes just an apoc­a­lyp­tic wrong turn, and con­cludes that Steve Jobs should become king of Cal­i­for­nia.

    * Robin­son

    So per­haps you could describe the start­ing point of his analy­sis of what is wrong with soci­ety.

    * San­difer

    His start­ing point is the extreme­ly self-evi­dent asser­tion that there is an over­all con­sen­sus. He rein­vents the Over­ton win­dow from scratch. He rein­vents the idea that there is a dic­tat­ed set of opin­ions which are accept­able and pos­si­ble to dis­cuss and to take seri­ous­ly. There is this polit­i­cal cen­ter around which noth­ing can orbit too far away from with­out freez­ing to death. It’s fun­da­men­tal­ly dic­tat­ed by a num­ber of elite and pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions. So the New York Times does a whole lot to dic­tate what the polit­i­cal cen­ter is. There are many oth­er exam­ples. The ones that Yarvin is most obsessed with are basi­cal­ly the media, acad­e­mia, and the civ­il ser­vice end of gov­ern­ment. He views those as the big three insti­tu­tions that are impos­ing a kind of absolute con­sen­sus that he says is drift­ing in an ever left­ward lib­er­al direc­tion. He points to the progress of civ­il rights, takes Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.’s obser­va­tion about the arc of the moral uni­verse bend­ing toward jus­tice over the long run and ren­ders it a hor­ror sto­ry, actu­al­ly refer­ring to this cen­trist con­sen­sus as Cthul­hu and say­ing that “Cthul­hu always swims left.”

    The sen­si­ble thing to do is prob­a­bly to look at the role of mon­ey in this.

    * Robin­son

    Yes. I was going to point out that there’s a notable absence from that list, which is big busi­ness.

    * San­difer

    Nowhere on Yarvin’s list of things that are con­trol­ling the world and set­ting up a polit­i­cal cen­ter is finance. Where­as, in real­i­ty, finance turns out to do an awful lot, as evi­denced by the fact that, for instance, if you hap­pen to be one of the rich­est peo­ple in the world, you can meet your girl­friend on a web site, have a bit of a falling out with her, get made fun of, and decide you’re going to sud­den­ly now own one of the largest social media plat­forms in the world. That’s a thing that can hap­pen if you are a bil­lion­aire. It is not a thing that can hap­pen to most peo­ple. And so sud­den­ly, Twitter—one of these huge social media sites, some­thing that is quite cen­tral to media discourse—is get­ting tak­en over by some­one who is spout­ing a lot of far-right ideas, who ini­tial­ly made his mon­ey work­ing with Peter Thiel, who is the per­son whose is bankrolling Cur­tis Yarvin’s bull­shit, who is very clear­ly influ­enced by this orbit. I know that the Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed that Thiel was advis­ing Musk on his Twit­ter takeover. And sud­den­ly they own this mas­sive media plat­form, and the only rea­son that’s hap­pen­ing is mon­ey. There is no aca­d­e­m­ic, no civ­il ser­vice, no main­stream media com­po­nent to why Twit­ter is about to take a right-wing plunge. It is entire­ly because mon­ey has a shit­load of pow­er. To give a very, very basic analy­sis that prob­a­bly, you know, is down­right obvi­ous to a num­ber of your lis­ten­ers, but it’s some­thing that nev­er occurs to Yarvin.

    * Robin­son

    Mold­bug talks about a small class of elites con­trol­ling the dis­course, and he talks about, as you say, the bound­aries of accept­able opinion—and when he says that, he’s almost 100 per­cent over­lap­ping with Chom­sky. But as you point out, there’s this absence of Marx in his work, where Mold­bug doesn’t seem to have read or under­stood the left analy­sis of these things.

    * San­difer

    In his last big essay under the Mold­bug pen name, he cre­ates this acronym/mantra, “Amer­i­ca is a com­mu­nist coun­try,” and claims that it is true in all sorts of dif­fer­ent ways that you can inter­pret it. And one thing that lit­er­al­ly nev­er comes up any­where in that essay is whether Amer­i­ca is actu­al­ly run on com­mu­nist prin­ci­ples sim­i­lar to those explained by Karl Marx. That lit­er­al­ly nev­er occurs to Moldbug—in the course of lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of words about how Amer­i­ca is sup­pos­ed­ly a com­mu­nist country—which is some­thing of an intel­lec­tu­al over­sight, I think. I feel like there is a fail­ure of due dili­gence that went on in this essay.

    * Robin­son

    We have dwelled on the work of a some­what obscure and stu­pid per­son who’s a bad writer. But when I read that Van­i­ty Fair arti­cle, I got chills. J.D. Vance is explic­it­ly say­ing that Yarvin has a bunch of great ideas. J.D. Vance could be in the Sen­ate.

    * San­difer

    Look at the U.S. Sen­ate. You don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly see that a U.S. sen­a­tor is a lot bet­ter than a bil­lion­aire as evi­dence of intel­li­gence.

    * Robin­son

    It’s true.

    * San­difer

    There are, in fact, a lot of stu­pid peo­ple in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate. And I’m will­ing to say that as a bipar­ti­san cri­tique.

    * Robin­son

    But there are not nec­es­sar­i­ly that many peo­ple who explic­it­ly espouse a desire for a dic­ta­tor­ship. And there are some quotes from J.D. Vance in that arti­cle, where the writer says Vance sounds like he’s talk­ing about a coup. Vance says that the next pres­i­dent should fire every­one in the gov­ern­ment, replace them with ide­o­logues, and ignore the courts if they try to stop him.

    * San­difer

    Right. The flip side of that is we shouldn’t delude our­selves about the fact that there are mul­ti­ple fascists—in the U.S. gov­ern­ment right now—who want to over­throw the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Vance is com­ing in. Look at Joshua Haw­ley out of Mis­souri. He’s just as fuck­ing bad. He’s espous­ing the same lev­el of fas­cist takeover shit. And those are the more intel­lec­tu­al ones. Go into the House and sud­den­ly you get Madi­son Cawthorn and Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and that clan of nut jobs. (I do mean clan.) There are peo­ple who are in the U.S. Con­gress who are ful­ly endors­ing these fas­cist monar­chic ideas. The Vance idea is inter­est­ing to me because the spe­cif­ic fas­cist ideas he’s espous­ing are ones I wrote a book on six years ago. But at the end of the day, we shouldn’t treat Vance as an out­lier at this point. The real­ly scary thing is, he’s not.

    * Robin­son

    Yes. Even if there aren’t that many who are tied to this weird spe­cif­ic neo­re­ac­tion thing, this neo­re­ac­tionary ide­ol­o­gy is kind of, as you say, a more explic­it and upfront state­ment of the basic right-wing world­view, which is in favor of real­ly strict social hier­ar­chies enforced by vio­lence and keep­ing down any­one who would dare to chal­lenge those hier­ar­chies.

    * San­difer

    Along with strong pop­ulist and, inevitably, in prac­tice, white dude dic­ta­tors who run this jack­boot and pony show.

    * Robin­son

    We should talk about a cou­ple of the oth­er fig­ures in your book besides Yarvin. But the book is called Neo­re­ac­tion a Basilisk. Explain what the Basilisk in the title is.

    * San­difer

    Oh, God. Okay. So, Cur­tis Yarvin came to present prominence—got his ini­tial read­er­ship before he spun off to his own blog—on a web­site called Over­com­ing Bias, a web­site loose­ly orga­nized around a com­mu­ni­ty that called them­selves “the ratio­nal­ists.” The main fig­ure in that is a guy named Eliez­er Yud­kowsky, who would describe him­self as an AI researcher. It’s impor­tant to note that he has lit­er­al­ly no com­put­er sci­ence qual­i­fi­ca­tions; cannot—to the best of my knowledge—code; has nev­er built an AI; and does not actu­al­ly under­stand any­thing about how AI works on a tech­ni­cal lev­el. But he is an AI researcher, which real­ly means he writes sci­ence fic­tion. He writes sci­ence fic­tion nov­els that he pass­es off as phi­los­o­phy and schol­ar­ship. He is hor­ri­bly obsessed with the idea that some­day an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence is going to wake up, achieve sen­tience, take over the world, and destroy human­i­ty because it sees no point in human­i­ty. He writes great sci­ence fic­tion phras­es. He’s got a phrase: “The AI does not love you. The AI does not hate you. But you are made out of atoms which the AI can use for some­thing else.” That’s charm­ing and chill­ing, and throw that into a sci­ence fic­tion hor­ror book about an evil AI and you’re going to get a Hugo nom­i­na­tion for that stuff. As an analy­sis of com­put­er sci­ence and the state of play of cur­rent tech­nol­o­gy, it has noth­ing to do with any­thing that is actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing in AI research, nan­otech­nol­o­gy, or any­thing else. It’s pure­ly sci­ence fic­tion. But it’s pret­ty good sci­ence fic­tion.

    And so a lot of tech bro peo­ple are real­ly, real­ly into him because he makes them feel good. He says that they’re all super log­i­cal, ratio­nal peo­ple, and they can learn to make no mis­takes if they just use his one weird trick for think­ing ratio­nal­ly. He’s just had a lot of influ­ence despite being frankly a kind of weirdo cult leader.

    But the Basilisk. What you actu­al­ly asked about. The Basilisk comes from an inci­dent that arose in Yudkowsky’s com­mu­ni­ty where this guy named Roko, who went on to be a fas­cist, came up with a thought exper­i­ment imag­in­ing a futur­is­tic, god­like AI. As I said, they’re ter­ri­fied of an evil AI. They also want to cre­ate a god AI that will rein­car­nate them on a hard dri­ve so they can live for­ev­er. And so this guy Roko imag­ined the god AI and said: Wait a minute, what if when the god AI exists, he looks back at every­one who failed to help bring him about and declares they’re evil, and should be rein­car­nat­ed on a com­put­er and tor­tured for all eter­ni­ty? He made this argu­ment that was entire­ly con­sis­tent with the many weird cult-like premis­es of Yud­kowsky and his ratio­nal­ists and cre­at­ed this idea of this god­like AI that would tor­ture them all if they didn’t give all their mon­ey to AI research to try to bring him about—which, if you look at it from a per­spec­tive of not being a weirdo AI cult mem­ber, is basi­cal­ly just rein­vent­ing Pascal’s Wager.

    * Robin­son

    Pascal’s wager being that it pays to believe in God because if you don’t, God will pun­ish you—if he exists.

    * San­difer

    Yes, good expla­na­tion. And so all of these AI cultists, broad­ly speak­ing, absolute­ly lost their shit. They had an epic melt­down-pan­ic attack. Yud­kowsky was, at one point, scream­ing in all caps about how the worst thing you can pos­si­bly do is talk about the evil god­like AI in the future that does this, because talk­ing about it brings it into exis­tence. Every­one is hav­ing a com­plete emo­tion­al melt­down over hav­ing acci­den­tal­ly invent­ed Pascal’s Wager. And the whole inci­dent even­tu­al­ly becomes a bit of pop­u­lar lore that peo­ple who are the right kind of nerd know about. Jokes about Roko’s Basilisk, which is what this whole affair became known as, were actu­al­ly what got Elon Musk and Grimes togeth­er. They both made the same pun about Roko’s Basilisk inde­pen­dent­ly and found each oth­er through it.

    * Robin­son

    Wow. I nev­er knew that.

    * San­difer

    My friend, David Ger­ard, who was the ini­tial read­er and edi­tor of Neo­re­ac­tion a Basilisk, was the one who pre­served all the tran­scripts of the melt­down and put them on Ratio­nal­Wi­ki. That’s why any­one knows about this. So he is ulti­mate­ly sin­gle-hand­ed­ly respon­si­ble for Elon Musk tak­ing over Twit­ter just by pop­u­lar­iz­ing Roko’s Basilisk. It’s hor­ri­ble. He feels ter­ri­ble about it.

    * Robin­son

    I fear that some of our lis­ten­ers, hear­ing your expla­na­tion, may have thought to them­selves at some point dur­ing…

    * San­difer

    What the fuck is going on here?

    * Robin­son

    “I don’t under­stand this. It’s bizarre.”

    * San­difer

    I should have pref­aced this with: What I am about to say is going to sound com­plete­ly insane, and that’s because it is.

    * Robin­son

    I’m glad you explained it because I think that it’s impor­tant to under­stand that even if you don’t grasp this whole thing about a god­like arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence in the future and what­ev­er…

    * San­difer

    And you should feel bet­ter about your­self if you don’t. If it did make any sense, you should real­ly be wor­ried.

    * Robin­son

    First, the peo­ple who believe in this very bizarre thing con­sid­er them­selves to be extreme­ly logical—more log­i­cal than any­one else, right?

    * San­difer

    Yes. Func­tion­al­ly, they believe them­selves to be, if not infal­li­ble on an indi­vid­ual lev­el, at least infal­li­ble on a col­lec­tive lev­el.

    * Robin­son

    Sec­ond­ly, this ratio­nal­ist com­mu­ni­ty that you’re talk­ing about that drifts into extreme­ly bizarre and some­times fas­cist beliefs is quite influ­en­tial in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

    * San­difer

    Huge­ly so. If you talk not just to man­age­ment, but even many of the front­line soft­ware engineer/coder nerds, they all know who Eliez­er Yud­kowsky is. This is absolute­ly a house­hold name with­in the spe­cif­ic bub­ble and enclave of Sil­i­con Val­ley tech.

    * Robin­son

    And there’s an entire intel­lec­tu­al ecosys­tem here. You’ve writ­ten about the Slate Star Codex blog.

    * San­difer

    Ah, yes, Mr. Siskind.

    * Robin­son

    He’s this ratio­nal­ist who’s very opposed to social jus­tice pol­i­tics and is, per­haps, a lit­tle too open-mind­ed about Charles Mur­ray and…

    * San­difer

    He’s a gate­way to out­right fas­cist ideas. He has open­ly said that he is a race eugeni­cist who believes that IQ is her­i­ta­ble. He def­i­nite­ly believes this to be true. He has said as much. He plays a lit­tle coy in pub­lic, but in his per­son­al beliefs, he is a racist author­i­tar­i­an. I absolute­ly believe this.

    * Robin­son

    And he is extreme­ly pop­u­lar among some peo­ple. He has a big fol­low­ing among a lot of these Sil­i­con Val­ley types.

    * San­difer

    Absolute­ly. His blog was wide­ly con­sid­ered essen­tial read­ing among the Sil­i­con Val­ley types. And then you go to the sub­red­dit for his blog, and peo­ple are lit­er­al­ly post­ing the 14 words, which are a huge white nation­al­ist slo­gan and just not even a dog whis­tle, just a whis­tle.

    * Robin­son

    One of the rea­sons I want­ed to speak to you is that it does seem as if the things that you’ve been writ­ing about for years were curiosi­ties when you start­ed writ­ing about them, or had a cult fol­low­ing. It seems to be inch­ing clos­er and clos­er to the main­stream, both through J.D. Vance and through Elon Musk. Musk talks about the AI that’s going to destroy us all, and I’m sure is inspired by a lot of these peo­ple.

    * San­difer

    The impor­tant take­away here is that all of the peo­ple I’ve been describ­ing are very, very stu­pid. Their ideas make no sense if you look at them under any scruti­ny what­so­ev­er. And they are active­ly tak­ing over the world right now. And they are going to kill mil­lions of peo­ple. It’s fun­ny on the one hand, but on the oth­er hand, they are active­ly tak­ing over the world, and they are lit­er­al­ly going to kill peo­ple like me. I want to be dead­ly seri­ous here. These peo­ple are very, very evil, and they are active­ly gain­ing pow­er.

    * Robin­son

    I think that’s incred­i­bly impor­tant. It’s so easy—especially if you look at the writ­ings of Moldbug—to just look at it and go, this is a bunch of garbage. Who could be per­suad­ed by this?

    * San­difer

    And the answer is: lit­er­al­ly the top advis­er [Steve Ban­non] of our last pres­i­dent. That is who can be per­suad­ed.

    * Robin­son

    To hear the sto­ry of this weird Basilisk and that all these peo­ple think the Basilisk from the future is com­ing … and then to real­ize that these are peo­ple who are in posi­tions of quite high sta­tus and who have the dan­ger­ous fal­la­cious belief that they are as close to per­fect­ly log­i­cal as one can be.

    * San­difer

    I don’t want to sug­gest that Elon Musk lit­er­al­ly believes in Roko’s Basilisk, but the new own­er of one of the largest social media sites in the world def­i­nite­ly takes Roko’s Basilisk a lot more seri­ous­ly than it deserves to be tak­en. And that should def­i­nite­ly raise some red flags, espe­cial­ly when you get into the fact that he made his mon­ey with Peter Thiel and Thiel bankrolled Yarvin and bankrolled Yud­kowsky. There’s a net­work of peo­ple here who are increas­ing­ly pow­er­ful, and they are very, very scary.

    * Robin­son

    We talked about the dic­ta­to­r­i­al ten­den­cies, but we haven’t dis­cussed the extent to which a lot of this is found­ed on “anti-wok­e­ness” and the hatred of Black Lives Mat­ter and oth­er move­ments for lib­er­a­tion.

    * San­difer

    When you describe this stuff, it doesn’t sound very appeal­ing. And so, to most of the peo­ple upon whose elec­toral sup­port this move­ment relies, these aren’t the bits they describe. What they describe is: Black peo­ple are all get­ting free crack pipes from Oba­ma. What they describe is, trans peo­ple are groom­ing your kids and are going to take them away from you. What they describe is the entire pro-life argu­ment: pro life, anti-abor­tion, anti-choice, what is about to win in the U.S. Supreme Court and out­law abor­tion for more than half of the coun­try. These are the argu­ments they use to win elec­toral pow­er. But behind the scenes, when you trace the intel­lec­tu­al roots of the argu­ments of the peo­ple who are in prac­tice run­ning a site like Bre­it­bart, these are the things you find.

    Yarvin open­ly talked about how polit­i­cal alliances with white nation­al­ist are some­times odi­ous because they’re stu­pid, nasty peo­ple but prob­a­bly use­ful for achiev­ing the polit­i­cal goals he wants. Most of them are racist, trans­pho­bic, misog­y­nis­tic ass­holes them­selves. I don’t want to sug­gest that these aspects of their argu­ments are pure­ly iron­ic affec­ta­tion. Fun­da­men­tal­ly, if you give even the remotest shit about Black peo­ple, you don’t ally with white nation­al­ists. The very fact that you ally with white nation­al­ists speaks vol­umes about your racism. The active spear tip of this move­ment is anti-wokeism and fears about can­cel cul­ture and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry and all that.

    When you look at what actu­al­ly happens—you look at the way in which the edu­ca­tion sys­tem is of para­mount impor­tance in Yarvin’s con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, there is a direct line from that to using groomer pan­ic and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry to stage a fas­cist takeover of the entire Flori­da edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, which just hap­pened. It just hap­pened. Florida’s edu­ca­tion sys­tem has lit­er­al­ly banned most of the stuff that Cur­tis Yarvin thinks is secret­ly run­ning the world. So these ideas are hav­ing a huge impact. There were many, many steps between Cur­tis Yarvin and Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis. But those steps exist­ed and can be lin­ear­ly traced.

    * Robin­son

    I watched the full Yarvin inter­view with Tuck­er Carl­son. Tuck­er Carl­son was total­ly fas­ci­nat­ed.

    * San­difer

    Of course he was.

    * Robin­son

    Carl­son pre­sent­ed Yarvin as this fas­ci­nat­ing intel­lec­tu­al who is silenced by the main­stream but who has real­ly, real­ly valu­able and inter­est­ing ideas. The whole hour they spent was Yarvin expound­ing this the­o­ry that there is this kind of con­spir­a­cy of elites that he calls “the cathe­dral” that con­sists of Har­vard and the New York Times and the gov­ern­ment and all that. And he was explain­ing to Tuck­er how peo­ple who put Black Lives Mat­ter signs in their yard, that the sign real­ly says, “I love pow­er and con­for­mi­ty.”

    He talked about the red pill. He said, you’re going to take the red pill, you’re gonna see things for how they real­ly are. And Tuck­er Carl­son has his mind blown by Cur­tis. But, impor­tant­ly, all of it is about the big woke con­spir­a­cy that rules the coun­try. None of it is about the solu­tion being fas­cism, even though that’s what Yarvin believes.

    * San­difer

    Right. You don’t say the fas­cism on prime­time on Fox News. You say that at your lit­tle con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ence where you’ve got the true believ­ers. There is very much the pro­pa­gan­da front. And if you look at the overt polit­i­cal goals of these people—which is absolute­ly monar­chic, or, at least oli­garchic dic­ta­tor­ship of the very, very rich—you can absolute­ly see why Fox News is mak­ing the polit­i­cal moves in this.

    * Robin­son

    I want to just read a lit­tle pas­sage from the end of your book that made me laugh. You write: To engage in Alt-Right think­ing is to turn one­self into a vac­u­ous skin­suit ani­mat­ed by raw stu­pid­i­ty. There is lit­er­al­ly not a sin­gle shred of non-stu­pid­i­ty in the entire thing. Men­cius Mold­bug, stu­pid. Milo Yiannopou­los, stu­pid. Don­ald Trump, Vox Day, stu­pid, stu­pid, stu­pid. MAGA and The Dai­ly Stormer are stu­pid. Every sin­gle detail of every sin­gle aspect of this entire cra­ter­ing shit­storm in which the human race seems hell bent on going extinct is absolute­ly fuck­ing stu­pid.

    * San­difer

    I stand by every word of that.

    ...

    ———–

    “The Strange and Ter­ri­fy­ing Ideas of Neo­re­ac­tionar­ies” by Nathan J. Robin­son; Cur­rent Affairs; 05/30/2022

    “When you look at what actu­al­ly happens—you look at the way in which the edu­ca­tion sys­tem is of para­mount impor­tance in Yarvin’s con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, there is a direct line from that to using groomer pan­ic and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry to stage a fas­cist takeover of the entire Flori­da edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, which just hap­pened. It just hap­pened. Florida’s edu­ca­tion sys­tem has lit­er­al­ly banned most of the stuff that Cur­tis Yarvin thinks is secret­ly run­ning the world. So these ideas are hav­ing a huge impact. There were many, many steps between Cur­tis Yarvin and Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis. But those steps exist­ed and can be lin­ear­ly traced.

    It just hap­pened. Cur­tis Yarv­in’s vision of an ide­o­log­i­cal insti­tu­tion­al purge of ‘the left’ already hap­pened in Flori­da ear­li­er this year with DeSan­tis’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the K‑12 lev­el at least. And now it’s hap­pen­ing at Flori­da’s col­leges, with plans on tak­ing it nation­wide. This is Cur­tis Yarv­in’s purge, play­ing out as Ron DeSan­tis’s right-wing ‘pop­ulism’. Media, acad­e­mia, and the civ­il ser­vice end of gov­ern­ment are the big three all-pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions and com­plete­ly dom­i­nat­ed by the left in Yarv­in’s ver­sion of real­i­ty, with anti-wokeism and fears about can­cel cul­ture and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry oper­at­ing as the tip of the spear. A tip of a spear intend­ed to whip the pub­lic into the kind of fren­zy that will have them call­ing for Rufo’s ‘counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ary’ mea­sures across the nation:

    ...
    * Robin­son

    So per­haps you could describe the start­ing point of his analy­sis of what is wrong with soci­ety.

    * San­difer

    His start­ing point is the extreme­ly self-evi­dent asser­tion that there is an over­all con­sen­sus. He rein­vents the Over­ton win­dow from scratch. He rein­vents the idea that there is a dic­tat­ed set of opin­ions which are accept­able and pos­si­ble to dis­cuss and to take seri­ous­ly. There is this polit­i­cal cen­ter around which noth­ing can orbit too far away from with­out freez­ing to death. It’s fun­da­men­tal­ly dic­tat­ed by a num­ber of elite and pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions. So the New York Times does a whole lot to dic­tate what the polit­i­cal cen­ter is. There are many oth­er exam­ples. The ones that Yarvin is most obsessed with are basi­cal­ly the media, acad­e­mia, and the civ­il ser­vice end of gov­ern­ment. He views those as the big three insti­tu­tions that are impos­ing a kind of absolute con­sen­sus that he says is drift­ing in an ever left­ward lib­er­al direc­tion. He points to the progress of civ­il rights, takes Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.’s obser­va­tion about the arc of the moral uni­verse bend­ing toward jus­tice over the long run and ren­ders it a hor­ror sto­ry, actu­al­ly refer­ring to this cen­trist con­sen­sus as Cthul­hu and say­ing that “Cthul­hu always swims left.”

    The sen­si­ble thing to do is prob­a­bly to look at the role of mon­ey in this.

    ...

    * Robin­son

    We talked about the dic­ta­to­r­i­al ten­den­cies, but we haven’t dis­cussed the extent to which a lot of this is found­ed on “anti-wok­e­ness” and the hatred of Black Lives Mat­ter and oth­er move­ments for lib­er­a­tion.

    * San­difer

    When you describe this stuff, it doesn’t sound very appeal­ing. And so, to most of the peo­ple upon whose elec­toral sup­port this move­ment relies, these aren’t the bits they describe. What they describe is: Black peo­ple are all get­ting free crack pipes from Oba­ma. What they describe is, trans peo­ple are groom­ing your kids and are going to take them away from you. What they describe is the entire pro-life argu­ment: pro life, anti-abor­tion, anti-choice, what is about to win in the U.S. Supreme Court and out­law abor­tion for more than half of the coun­try. These are the argu­ments they use to win elec­toral pow­er. But behind the scenes, when you trace the intel­lec­tu­al roots of the argu­ments of the peo­ple who are in prac­tice run­ning a site like Bre­it­bart, these are the things you find.

    Yarvin open­ly talked about how polit­i­cal alliances with white nation­al­ist are some­times odi­ous because they’re stu­pid, nasty peo­ple but prob­a­bly use­ful for achiev­ing the polit­i­cal goals he wants. Most of them are racist, trans­pho­bic, misog­y­nis­tic ass­holes them­selves. I don’t want to sug­gest that these aspects of their argu­ments are pure­ly iron­ic affec­ta­tion. Fun­da­men­tal­ly, if you give even the remotest shit about Black peo­ple, you don’t ally with white nation­al­ists. The very fact that you ally with white nation­al­ists speaks vol­umes about your racism. The active spear tip of this move­ment is anti-wokeism and fears about can­cel cul­ture and crit­i­cal race the­o­ry and all that.
    ...

    That’s the omi­nous con­text of Chris­t­ian Rufo’s declared plans to ‘recap­ture’ New Col­lege. It’s a show­case ini­tia­tive intend­ed to nor­mal­ize Cur­tis Yarv­in’s dream of the right-wing ‘recap­ture’ of Amer­i­can’s insti­tu­tions. Or at least what used to be Cur­tis Yarv­in’s dream. It’s a much more wide­ly shared dream by now. And pre­sum­ably even more wide­ly shared after Ron DeSan­tis makes insti­tu­tion­al purges a cen­ter­piece of his 2024.

    In the mean time, if you’re in high school and are con­sid­er­ing a major in jour­nal­ism with an inter­est­ing in in-depth inves­ti­ga­tions intothe hijack­ing of insti­tu­tions by pow­er­ful sub­ver­sive forces, New Col­lege could be a very inter­est­ing choice.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 16, 2023, 2:32 am
  8. With the US once again forced to face the real­i­ties of pol­i­cy bru­tal­i­ty and the broad­er issues of sys­temic racism still haunt­ing US insti­tu­tions fol­low­ing the release a video footage of the lethal beat­ing of Tyre Nichols by an elite Mem­phis police unit, it’s worth not­ing an oth­er sto­ry from this week relat­ed to the ongo­ing ‘Sched­ule F’ agen­da of prepar­ing of a mass purge of all left-wing thought or indi­vid­u­als from US soci­ety. A purge car­ried out under the pre­text of deal­ing with a declared emer­gency threat posed by ‘the com­mu­nist woke Democ­rats and antifa and Black Lives Mat­ter.’

    The brand­ing of ‘the Left’ in the US as a bunch of sub­ver­sive com­mu­nists of an ‘ene­my with­in’ is a long-stand­ing right-wing trope in Amer­i­ca pol­i­tics. But as we’ve seen, it’s a trope that’s been ‘fleshed out’ quite a bit in recent years with the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­men­t’s ded­i­ca­tion to the Sched­ule F project. Mass ide­o­log­i­cal purges are the plan. A plan already put in motion with Ron DeSan­tis’s ide­o­log­i­cal purge of New Col­lege, which sure looks a lot like the kind of pass purges of high­er edu­ca­tion long advo­cat­ed by Cur­tis Yarvin. Put in motion but still just begin­ning. It’s the kind of sit­u­a­tion that screams to ask the ques­tion of “what’s next?”

    And that brings us to the the rant­i­ngs of nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed right-wing talk radio host Jesse Kel­ly. Rant­i­ngs that, as we’ll see, are being rou­tine­ly ampli­fied by none oth­er than Tuck­er Carl­son, host of the high­est rat­ed show on Fox News. It turns out Kel­ly is a pret­ty reg­u­lar guest on Carl­son’s var­i­ous Fox shows, whether it’s his top rat­ed “Tuck­er Carl­son Tonight” show on Fox New or the new­er “Tuck­er Carl­son Today” stream­ing show which tends to veer even fur­ther into the realm of fas­cist thought.

    It was just last week in response to the sug­ges­tion by Sen­a­tor Rand Paul that the top 10% of the FBI should be fired and replaced in response to the alleged per­se­cu­tion of con­ser­v­a­tives by the FBI. As Kel­ly saw it, 10% was­n’t enough. 100% of FBI employ­ees need to be fired. And then sent to camps in the desert where they’ll be inves­ti­gat­ed for any instances of politi­ciz­ing the FBI on behalf of Democ­rats. Those found guilty will be giv­en life sen­tences at a fed­er­al prison.

    That was the “rea­son­able out­come”, as Kel­ly put it. But he was also sure to empha­size how he did­n’t want this to hap­pen. It sim­ply has to hap­pen as the only “real­is­tic” option con­ser­v­a­tives have left to deal with a gov­ern­ment that has become cap­ture by the sub­ver­sive com­mu­nist forces inside the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty that rep­re­sent an exis­ten­tial threat to Amer­i­ca. Or as Kel­ly put it, “We don’t want to be rad­i­cal. We don’t want to be. We real­ly don’t want to be. I don’t want to be an extrem­ist, okay? Because I’m not an extrem­ist. I won’t say all the things that should be done.”

    In oth­er words, the ‘com­mu­nist Left’ is forc­ing the fas­cism. That’s not just a rea­son­able inter­pre­ta­tion of Kel­ly’s com­ments. As we’re going to see in the first arti­cle below, Kel­ly made made that exact same argu­ment back in March of 2021, just two months after the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. As Kel­ly put it at the time, “I’ve said this before and I’m telling you, I’m wor­ried that I’m right: The right is going to pick a fas­cist with­in 10 to 20… years because they’re not going to be the only ones on the outs...There’s 60, 70 mil­lion of us. We’re not a tiny minor­i­ty, and if we’re going to be all treat­ed like crim­i­nals and all sub­ject to every sin­gle law, while antifa Black Lives Mat­ter guys go free and Hunter Biden goes free, then the right’s going to take dras­tic mea­sures.” That was Kel­ly’s ‘warn­ing’, deliv­ered on Tuck­er Carl­son’s top rat­ed Fox News shows, with Carl­son whole­heart­ed­ly agree­ing. They both agreed that ‘the woke Left’ was going to force con­ser­v­a­tives into embrac­ing a fas­cist response.

    A few months lat­er, Carl­son invit­ed Kel­ly for an inter­view on his “Tuck­er Carl­son Today” streamed show on Fox Nation, where Kel­ly lament­ed the lack of patri­o­tism in Amer­i­ca’s chil­dren which he blamed in woke edu­ca­tion. As Kel­ly saw it, the only solu­tion left was to raise the pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem and rebuild it anew. And Kel­ly appar­ent­ly was­n’t being the metaphor­i­cal when he sug­gest­ed the raz­ing of the US edu­ca­tion sys­tem. He went on to sug­gest that, “There would be noth­ing bet­ter you could do to help the advance­ment of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca than take the top 10 uni­ver­si­ties in this coun­try and fire every employ­ee and raze the build­ings to the ground and pee on the ash­es when you’re done..” Book burn­ing is so yes­ter­day. Real con­ser­v­a­tives burn down entire uni­ver­si­ties. But don’t call them fas­cist. Or at least don’t blame them for their fas­cism. Blame ‘the com­mu­nist Left’ and antifa and Black Lives Mat­ters. That’s who will ulti­mate­ly be at fault. That’s the mes­sage Jesse Kel­ly trot­ted out this week on his nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed radio show. And same mes­sage he’s been pro­mot­ing for the past two years. Pro­mot­ing and ampli­fy­ing on the most pop­u­lar pro­gram on cable news. We can’t say we weren’t warned:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    The Right Says Sor­ry In Advance for Going Fas­cist

    And, absurd­ly, some con­ser­v­a­tives who’ve replaced opti­mism with despair are try­ing to blame Hunter Biden for “mak­ing” them to do it.

    Matt Lewis
    Senior Colum­nist
    Updat­ed Mar. 30, 2021 10:59AM ET
    Pub­lished Mar. 30, 2021 4:56AM ET

    I became a con­ser­v­a­tive because I believed the con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues I grew up with were the best way to bring about human flour­ish­ing for the most Amer­i­cans. I still do. But in recent years it has become clear that sig­nif­i­cant parts of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment no longer share this belief (if they ever did). There is a pal­pa­ble sense that not only are our val­ues inca­pable of per­suad­ing a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans to sup­port Repub­li­can politi­cians at the bal­lot box, but that the whole project of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy is doomed.

    What had been (in the days of Ronald Rea­gan and Jack Kemp) an opti­mistic phi­los­o­phy has metas­ta­sized. We are left with a right wing that is ani­mat­ed by despair, des­per­a­tion, and an inevitable belief in Amer­i­can decline. We have been hear­ing this sort of clam­or­ing since 2016, cul­mi­nat­ing with the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion on Jan. 6. But there was always the hope it would dis­si­pate if or when Don­ald Trump left the White House.

    But sad­ly, Trump’s exit has done lit­tle to quell the incip­i­ent thirst for author­i­tar­i­an­ism from many on the right. Indeed, the fever seems to be get­ting worse.

    One such exam­ple comes to us from The Amer­i­can Mind, a pub­li­ca­tion of the once-main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive Clare­mont Insti­tute. In a recent piece that gar­nered some buzz, senior fel­low Glenn Ellmers argues that “most peo­ple liv­ing in the Unit­ed States today—certainly more than half—are not Amer­i­cans in any mean­ing­ful sense of the term.” His lev­el of despair can be felt when he writes that, “Prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, there is almost noth­ing left to con­serve” and con­cludes that we should “give up on the idea that ‘con­ser­v­a­tives’ have any­thing use­ful to say. Accept the fact that what we need is a counter-rev­o­lu­tion.” Oh yeah, he also takes a shot at Joe Biden’s Inau­gur­al poet, say­ing, “If you are a zom­bie or a human rodent who wants a shad­ow-life of timid con­for­mi­ty, then put away this essay and go mem­o­rize the poet­ry of Aman­da Gor­man.”

    Human rodent? Sick stuff. But pos­si­bly less dan­ger­ous than my oth­er exam­ple, which is Jesse Kelly’s com­ments days ago on Fox News ’ “Tuck­er Carl­son Tonight.

    “I’ve said this before and I’m telling you, I’m wor­ried that I’m right: The right is going to pick a fas­cist with­in 10 to 20… years because they’re not going to be the only ones on the outs,” Kel­ly said. “There’s 60, 70 mil­lion of us. We’re not a tiny minor­i­ty, and if we’re going to be all treat­ed like crim­i­nals and all sub­ject to every sin­gle law, while antifa Black Lives Mat­ter guys go free and Hunter Biden goes free, then the right’s going to take dras­tic mea­sures.”.

    Kel­ly wasn’t lying when he said he’s said this before. “The inevitable counter to com­mu­nism is fas­cism,” he tweet­ed in Feb­ru­ary. “We will see a mon­ster rise on the Right in response to the Left’s vio­lence and cen­sor­ship. It will be awful. But it is com­ing. I promise you that.” Left unsaid are the illu­sions to Weimar Ger­many and the Weima­riza­tion of Amer­i­ca. In the 1930s, many Ger­mans were will­ing to give Hitler a try because they great­ly feared Com­mu­nism, saw their predica­ment as a bina­ry choice, and chose (what they thought would be) the less­er of two evils. Kel­ly seems to be warn­ing us that Amer­i­ca (which is quite dif­fer­ent from the Weimar Repub­lic) is head­ed toward a sim­i­lar fate.

    Now, respon­si­ble con­ser­v­a­tives do some­times warn the left against pur­su­ing rad­i­cal ideas about iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, can­cel cul­ture, street vio­lence, icon­o­clasm, etc., but our warn­ings are more sin­cere and less grandiose. If you’ve seen the “This is how you get Trump” tweets, you’re famil­iar with the genre.

    Kelly’s play­book is much dif­fer­ent. When he says “the right is going to pick a fas­cist,” you have to won­der if that’s a warn­ing or a threat. And when he says he’s “wor­ried,” you have to won­der if he’s just con­cern trolling, or if he’s actu­al­ly lay­ing the ground­work for the ulti­mate “SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” excuse.

    Carl­son con­clud­ed the seg­ment by say­ing, “That’s so well put and you’re absolute­ly right. We are mov­ing toward actu­al extrem­ism because they’re under­min­ing the sys­tem that kept extrem­ism at bay. I don’t think we can say that enough. I’m so glad that you just said it. Jesse Kel­ly, thank you.”

    Just as Don­ald Trump recent­ly told Lau­ra Ingra­ham that the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion­ists are now being “per­se­cut­ed,” these com­ments feed the right’s vic­tim men­tal­i­ty, mak­ing a wild jump from the com­plaint that one priv­i­leged, but trou­bled, politician’s son might have got­ten away with some­thing ille­gal to the view that Amer­i­can fas­cism is inevitable and (maybe even) excus­able.

    As was the case with the “Flight-93 elec­tion” (also pub­lished by Clare­mont), the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion requires accept­ing the premise that things are so doomed that rush­ing the cock­pit is your only alter­na­tive. From where I sit, that is a fan­tas­ti­cal and dark premise that only works if peo­ple like Kel­ly con­stant­ly stoke pes­simism and hope­less­ness.

    ...

    Instead of serv­ing as a warn­ing to con­ser­v­a­tives and pro­gres­sives to come togeth­er as a nation and avoid this fate, Kelly’s con­fi­dent pre­dic­tion seems more like­ly to serve as a self-fulling prophe­cy: he is intro­duc­ing us to a for­eign con­cept (the fas­cist leader in Amer­i­ca) and then cre­at­ing a per­mis­sion struc­ture to sup­port it. He’s not doing this on some fringe media out­let either. He’s spout­ing his views on a main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive network—on what hap­pens to be the most-watched cable news chan­nel in the nation.

    ...

    ————

    “The Right Says Sor­ry In Advance for Going Fas­cist by Matt Lewis; The Dai­ly Beast; 03/30/2021

    “One such exam­ple comes to us from The Amer­i­can Mind, a pub­li­ca­tion of the once-main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive Clare­mont Insti­tute. In a recent piece that gar­nered some buzz, senior fel­low Glenn Ellmers argues that “most peo­ple liv­ing in the Unit­ed States today—certainly more than half—are not Amer­i­cans in any mean­ing­ful sense of the term.” His lev­el of despair can be felt when he writes that, “Prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, there is almost noth­ing left to con­serve” and con­cludes that we should “give up on the idea that ‘con­ser­v­a­tives’ have any­thing use­ful to say. Accept the fact that what we need is a counter-rev­o­lu­tion.” Oh yeah, he also takes a shot at Joe Biden’s Inau­gur­al poet, say­ing, “If you are a zom­bie or a human rodent who wants a shad­ow-life of timid con­for­mi­ty, then put away this essay and go mem­o­rize the poet­ry of Aman­da Gor­man.””

    The major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans aren’t real Amer­i­cans at this point, leav­ing counter-rev­o­lu­tion as the only remain­ing option for con­ser­v­a­tives. That was the argu­ment put for­ward in a piece pub­lished in the Clare­mont Insti­tute’s The Amer­i­can Mind, back in March of 2021, just two months after the Jan­u­ary 6 Capi­tol insur­rec­tion. An event that came about in no small part thanks to the ‘legal rea­son­ing’ pushed by the Clare­mont Insti­tute’s John East­man (who is cur­rent­ly fac­ing dis­bar­ment in the state of Cal­i­for­nia over that role). Senior fel­low Glenn Ellmers did­n’t see any oth­er way. The minor­i­ty of real Amer­i­cans are going to have to ‘do some­thing’ about the un-Amer­i­can major­i­ty.

    So what exact­ly will that “counter-rev­o­lu­tion” involve? Well, we got a clue a around that same time from right-wing talk radio host Jesse Kel­ly, who got an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share his counter-rev­o­lu­tion ideas on Tuck­er Carl­son’s Fox News show, the most pop­u­lar show on cable news. As Kel­ly put it, “I’ve said this before and I’m telling you, I’m wor­ried that I’m right: The right is going to pick a fas­cist with­in 10 to 20… years because they’re not going to be the only ones on the outs...There’s 60, 70 mil­lion of us. We’re not a tiny minor­i­ty, and if we’re going to be all treat­ed like crim­i­nals and all sub­ject to every sin­gle law, while antifa Black Lives Mat­ter guys go free and Hunter Biden goes free, then the right’s going to take dras­tic mea­sures.” Yep, the “right is going to pick a fas­cist with­in 10 to 20” as a con­se­quence of all the per­se­cu­tion of con­ser­v­a­tives and the lack of a crack­down on antifa, Black Lives Mat­ter, and oth­er ‘com­mu­nists’ who pose a mor­tal threat to the nation. It was a reit­er­a­tion of a mes­sage he tweet­ed out a month ear­li­er about how, “We will see a mon­ster rise on the Right in response to the Left’s vio­lence and cen­sor­ship. It will be awful. But it is com­ing. I promise you that.” He was­n’t not minc­ing words:

    ...
    Human rodent? Sick stuff. But pos­si­bly less dan­ger­ous than my oth­er exam­ple, which is Jesse Kelly’s com­ments days ago on Fox News ’ “Tuck­er Carl­son Tonight.

    “I’ve said this before and I’m telling you, I’m wor­ried that I’m right: The right is going to pick a fas­cist with­in 10 to 20… years because they’re not going to be the only ones on the outs,” Kel­ly said. “There’s 60, 70 mil­lion of us. We’re not a tiny minor­i­ty, and if we’re going to be all treat­ed like crim­i­nals and all sub­ject to every sin­gle law, while antifa Black Lives Mat­ter guys go free and Hunter Biden goes free, then the right’s going to take dras­tic mea­sures.”.

    Kel­ly wasn’t lying when he said he’s said this before. “The inevitable counter to com­mu­nism is fas­cism,” he tweet­ed in Feb­ru­ary. “We will see a mon­ster rise on the Right in response to the Left’s vio­lence and cen­sor­ship. It will be awful. But it is com­ing. I promise you that.” Left unsaid are the illu­sions to Weimar Ger­many and the Weima­riza­tion of Amer­i­ca. In the 1930s, many Ger­mans were will­ing to give Hitler a try because they great­ly feared Com­mu­nism, saw their predica­ment as a bina­ry choice, and chose (what they thought would be) the less­er of two evils. Kel­ly seems to be warn­ing us that Amer­i­ca (which is quite dif­fer­ent from the Weimar Repub­lic) is head­ed toward a sim­i­lar fate.

    ...

    Kelly’s play­book is much dif­fer­ent. When he says “the right is going to pick a fas­cist,” you have to won­der if that’s a warn­ing or a threat. And when he says he’s “wor­ried,” you have to won­der if he’s just con­cern trolling, or if he’s actu­al­ly lay­ing the ground­work for the ulti­mate “SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” excuse.
    ...

    That was the kind of idea that was get­ting main­streamed on Tuck­er Carl­son’s show in the months fol­low­ing the insur­rec­tion. Ideas that Carl­son ful­ly endorsed on his. The left is going to force the com­ing right-wing fas­cist “counter-rev­o­lu­tion”. The ground is being laid:

    ...
    Carl­son con­clud­ed the seg­ment by say­ing, “That’s so well put and you’re absolute­ly right. We are mov­ing toward actu­al extrem­ism because they’re under­min­ing the sys­tem that kept extrem­ism at bay. I don’t think we can say that enough. I’m so glad that you just said it. Jesse Kel­ly, thank you.”

    ...

    Instead of serv­ing as a warn­ing to con­ser­v­a­tives and pro­gres­sives to come togeth­er as a nation and avoid this fate, Kelly’s con­fi­dent pre­dic­tion seems more like­ly to serve as a self-fulling prophe­cy: he is intro­duc­ing us to a for­eign con­cept (the fas­cist leader in Amer­i­ca) and then cre­at­ing a per­mis­sion struc­ture to sup­port it. He’s not doing this on some fringe media out­let either. He’s spout­ing his views on a main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive network—on what hap­pens to be the most-watched cable news chan­nel in the nation.
    ...

    But Tuck­er Carl­son was­n’t done pro­mot­ing Kel­ly’s post-insur­rec­tion mes­sage of ‘counter-rev­o­lu­tion’ to deal with the major­i­ty of non-‘real Amer­i­cans’ that inhab­it the coun­try. As the fol­low­ing Fox News piece from June, 2021, makes clear, Jesse Kel­ly’s mes­sage of counter-rev­o­lu­tion is a mes­sage Fox News wants to go main­stream. It was that month that Carl­son invit­ed Kel­ly back onto his “Tuck­er Carl­son Today” show on the Fox Nation stream­ing ser­vice where Kel­ly made the case that the lack of patri­o­tism could be traced back to the schools. There­fore, the solu­tion is “com­plete­ly car­pet-bomb­ing the Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion sys­tem and remak­ing it from the bot­tom up.” Not just metaphor­i­cal­ly. Kel­ly went on to sug­gest the actu­al raz­ing the top 10 uni­ver­si­ties in the US. It’s Cur­tis Yarv­in’s mass insti­tu­tion­al purge, get­ting main­streamed by Jesse Kel­ly and Tuck­er Carl­son:

    Fox News

    Jesse Kel­ly calls for ‘raz­ing’ the US pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem, as nation suf­fer­ing from ‘patri­o­tism prob­lem’

    ‘If 85 out of 100 peo­ple wake up every day and think this place sucks, well, then you’re in a lot of trou­ble and we’re in a lot of trou­ble’

    By Charles Cre­itz
    Pub­lished June 23, 2021 6:59pm EDT

    Radio host and for­mer Ari­zona con­gres­sion­al can­di­date Jesse Kel­ly sound­ed off Wednes­day on the “patri­o­tism prob­lem” in the Unit­ed States, telling Fox Nation’s “Tuck­er Carl­son Today” the ris­ing anti-Amer­i­can­ism can be in part attrib­uted to what the pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem is teach­ing the next gen­er­a­tion.

    Kel­ly told host Tuck­er Carl­son that Amer­i­ca as-found­ed is dete­ri­o­rat­ing due to the ongo­ing attack on its insti­tu­tions and the coun­try itself.

    “It sounds hokey, but the rea­son we are in this predica­ment in this coun­try is sim­ply patri­o­tism. We have a patri­o­tism prob­lem. If you have enough a high enough per­cent­age of your pop­u­la­tion that loves their coun­try, you’re going to have a good coun­try,” said Kel­ly, a retired Marine.

    “Why? Because if you have so many peo­ple, if there are 100 peo­ple in the coun­try, and 85 of them wake up every day say­ing this is a great place. Well, why do I feed my kids? Because I love my kids. There­fore, I feel like I have a duty to do right by my kids. Same way works in a coun­try you wake up in every sin­gle day.”

    ...

    Kel­ly also took on the indoc­tri­na­tion of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry and oth­er left-wing ide­olo­gies being applied in pub­lic schools and uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try, char­ac­ter­iz­ing them as incon­gru­ous to the skills our chil­dren should be learn­ing and that past gen­er­a­tions have.

    “There is no oth­er argu­ment to be had right now oth­er than com­plete­ly car­pet-bomb­ing the Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion sys­tem and remak­ing it from the bot­tom up,” he said, adding that doing so would go a long way to fix the afore­men­tioned “patri­o­tism prob­lem.”

    “That’s where they’re learn­ing the anti-patri­o­tism. That’s where they’re learn­ing the anti-Amer­i­can­ism… What do you learn in grade school? Well, slav­ery and, of course, we slaugh­tered the Native Amer­i­cans whole­sale, and that was pret­ty much Amer­i­ca,” Kel­ly said of the his­tor­i­cal dis­tor­tions taught by some in civics edu­ca­tion.

    “There would be noth­ing bet­ter you could do to help the advance­ment of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca than take the top 10 uni­ver­si­ties in this coun­try and fire every employ­ee and raze the build­ings to the ground and pee on the ash­es when you’re done.”

    ———-

    “Jesse Kel­ly calls for ‘raz­ing’ the US pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem, as nation suf­fer­ing from ‘patri­o­tism prob­lem’ ” By Charles Cre­itz; Fox News; 06/23/2021

    “Kel­ly told host Tuck­er Carl­son that Amer­i­ca as-found­ed is dete­ri­o­rat­ing due to the ongo­ing attack on its insti­tu­tions and the coun­try itself.”

    When Jesse Kel­ly warned about the com­ing right-wing fas­cism, he was­n’t giv­ing specifics. But we got those specifics from Kel­ly just a few months lat­er. Spe­cif­ic plans with a dis­tinct Sched­ule F echo. Cur­tis Yarv­in’s expand­ed Sched­ule F plan that includ­ed a mass purge of all insti­tu­tions in Amer­i­ca, pub­lic and pri­vate: in order to deal with the lack of patri­o­tism in the major­i­ty of non-‘real Amer­i­cans’, the solu­tion is to raze the US edu­ca­tion sys­tem, includ­ing lit­er­al­ly burn­ing the top 10 US uni­ver­si­ties to the ground:

    ...
    Kel­ly also took on the indoc­tri­na­tion of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry and oth­er left-wing ide­olo­gies being applied in pub­lic schools and uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try, char­ac­ter­iz­ing them as incon­gru­ous to the skills our chil­dren should be learn­ing and that past gen­er­a­tions have.

    “There is no oth­er argu­ment to be had right now oth­er than com­plete­ly car­pet-bomb­ing the Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion sys­tem and remak­ing it from the bot­tom up,” he said, adding that doing so would go a long way to fix the afore­men­tioned “patri­o­tism prob­lem.”

    “That’s where they’re learn­ing the anti-patri­o­tism. That’s where they’re learn­ing the anti-Amer­i­can­ism… What do you learn in grade school? Well, slav­ery and, of course, we slaugh­tered the Native Amer­i­cans whole­sale, and that was pret­ty much Amer­i­ca,” Kel­ly said of the his­tor­i­cal dis­tor­tions taught by some in civics edu­ca­tion.

    “There would be noth­ing bet­ter you could do to help the advance­ment of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca than take the top 10 uni­ver­si­ties in this coun­try and fire every employ­ee and raze the build­ings to the ground and pee on the ash­es when you’re done.”
    ...

    Now, it would be tempt­ing to assume that this was all just hyper­bole and that Jesse Kel­ly was­n’t being lit­er­al­ly seri­ous when he called for the raz­ing of Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties as part of an ‘anti-com­mu­nist’ patri­ot­ic purge. And that brings us to the fol­low­ing Jesse Kel­ly rant deliv­ered on his nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed radio show just last week. A rant in response to calls from Sen­a­tor Rand Paul to replace the top 10% of the agency. As Kel­ly put it, 10% is 10-times too lit­tle. The fig­ure should be 100% of FBI agents.

    But they should­n’t just fired. No, all of the FBI’s employ­ees should be tak­en to a camp in the desert where they will face an exten­sive inves­ti­ga­tion into whether or not they’ve ever done any­thing on behalf of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. Those found guilty should be giv­en life sen­tences in fed­er­al prison.

    And, echo­ing his warn­ings about how right-wing fas­cism will come only as a response to ‘all the com­mu­nism on the Left’, Kel­ly starts of the rant with assur­ances about how, “We don’t want to be rad­i­cal. We don’t want to be. We real­ly don’t want to be. I don’t want to be an extrem­ist, okay? Because I’m not an extrem­ist. I won’t say all the things that should be done.” It’s the same under­ly­ing mes­sage hearti­ly endorsed by Tuck­er Carl­son back in March of 2021: fas­cism is the only response remain­ing. They don’t want to be fas­cists but ‘the com­mu­nist Left’ forced them to do it:

    Media Mat­ters

    iHeartRa­dio host Jesse Kel­ly says all FBI employ­ees should be fired and put into a camp “out in the desert”

    Kel­ly: “Let the gang­bangers out. Put the FBI agents in. I’m not even jok­ing.”

    Writ­ten by Media Mat­ters Staff
    Pub­lished 01/26/23 5:22 PM EST

    JESSE KELLY (HOST): Rand Paul says the FBI will only be reformed if we remove and replace the top 10% of the agency. Now, I should clar­i­fy that I’m actu­al­ly a Rand Paul fan. I wish we had a hun­dred of them. My good­ness, would this coun­try look dif­fer­ent­ly if we had a hun­dred Rand Pauls in the Sen­ate.

    That being said. Ten per­cent? We need to remove and replace ten per­cent of the FBI? Feel like we missed a zero in there.

    Let’s begin at 100%. I tell you what, let’s do this. Let’s – look. We don’t want to be rad­i­cal. We don’t want to be. We real­ly don’t want to be. I don’t want to be an extrem­ist, okay? Because I’m not an extrem­ist. I won’t say all the things that should be done.

    I will sim­ply say the real­is­tic, frankly, the only accept­able out­come for all this is we take 100% of the employ­ees at the FBI. We fire every sin­gle one of them. Then we take them all and we put them in a camp, a large camp we have set up out in the desert. All the for­mer FBI employ­ees will be removed and sent to this camp. We’ll get back to the camp in a moment.

    The FBI build­ing itself, once it’s been emp­tied out, because we don’t want any­one to get hurt. We will not just do a con­trolled demo­li­tion on the Hoover Build­ing. We will insist that it be broad­cast nation­al­ly. Every sin­gle TV sta­tion will car­ry this live as a mes­sage to the Amer­i­can peo­ple of what hap­pens to tyrants, espe­cial­ly peo­ple who think they’re above the law in the coun­try.

    Then we go back to the camp where they’re at. Now, this is not some evil camp. We are giv­ing every­body three meals a day. They’re going to be well-treat­ed. They’re going to be fed.

    But that’s when we will begin our exten­sive inves­ti­ga­tion and inter­view process. And as we inves­ti­gate, as we inter­view these for­mer FBI per­son­nel from top to bot­tom, I mean, top to bot­tom, when­ev­er we find some­body who used his posi­tion of pow­er and influ­ence at the FBI to politi­cize in any way on behalf of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, that per­son will be removed from the camp in hand­cuffs and leg irons and moved to a jail where he will await tri­al for a life sen­tence.

    Once con­vict­ed, he will be placed in Fort Leav­en­worth or some kind of fed­er­al prison for the rest of his life. That is the rea­son­able out­come.

    Once you’ve devel­oped a secret state police agency that attacks Repub­li­cans on behalf of Democ­rats. You don’t need ten per­cent. You need a hun­dred. They all have to go. And I don’t just mean fir­ings, Like I said, not just resign­ing. It’s not just that they have to go. Peo­ple have to go to prison. Peo­ple with­in the FBI have to go to prison. Oh, Jesse, we don’t have enough pris­ons. I don’t care. Let the gang­bangers out. Put the FBI agents in. I’m not even jok­ing. They’re much more dan­ger­ous to the coun­try. Put the FBI agents in prison where they belong.

    ————-

    “iHeartRa­dio host Jesse Kel­ly says all FBI employ­ees should be fired and put into a camp “out in the desert”” by Media Mat­ters Staff; Media Mat­ters; 01/26/2023

    “I will sim­ply say the real­is­tic, frankly, the only accept­able out­come for all this is we take 100% of the employ­ees at the FBI. We fire every sin­gle one of them. Then we take them all and we put them in a camp, a large camp we have set up out in the desert. All the for­mer FBI employ­ees will be removed and sent to this camp. We’ll get back to the camp in a moment.”

    Send every sin­gle FBI employ­ee to a camp in the desert where they were face exten­sive inves­ti­ga­tions to deter­mine whether or not they act­ed in any way seen as ‘on behalf of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’. Those found guilty will be giv­en life sen­tences at fed­er­al pris­ons. That is the only “real­is­tic” and “rea­son­able” out­come accord­ing to Jesse Kel­ly on his radio show last week. Again, it’s basi­cal­ly echo­ing Cur­tis Yarv­in’s calls for an insti­tu­tion mass purge. A purge guid­ed by the con­vic­tion that Democ­rats, and lib­er­als in gen­er­al, are non-Amer­i­cans who must be expelled from soci­ety all togeth­er:

    ...
    The FBI build­ing itself, once it’s been emp­tied out, because we don’t want any­one to get hurt. We will not just do a con­trolled demo­li­tion on the Hoover Build­ing. We will insist that it be broad­cast nation­al­ly. Every sin­gle TV sta­tion will car­ry this live as a mes­sage to the Amer­i­can peo­ple of what hap­pens to tyrants, espe­cial­ly peo­ple who think they’re above the law in the coun­try.

    Then we go back to the camp where they’re at. Now, this is not some evil camp. We are giv­ing every­body three meals a day. They’re going to be well-treat­ed. They’re going to be fed.

    But that’s when we will begin our exten­sive inves­ti­ga­tion and inter­view process. And as we inves­ti­gate, as we inter­view these for­mer FBI per­son­nel from top to bot­tom, I mean, top to bot­tom, when­ev­er we find some­body who used his posi­tion of pow­er and influ­ence at the FBI to politi­cize in any way on behalf of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, that per­son will be removed from the camp in hand­cuffs and leg irons and moved to a jail where he will await tri­al for a life sen­tence.

    Once con­vict­ed, he will be placed in Fort Leav­en­worth or some kind of fed­er­al prison for the rest of his life. That is the rea­son­able out­come.
    ...

    So what’s going to hap­pen to the FBI employ­ees who com­mit­ted the car­di­nal sin of reg­is­ter­ing as Democ­rats or, even worse, donat­ing to Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates? Leav­en­worth? We’ll see, but it’s hard to imag­ine all reg­is­tered Democ­rats won’t be ulti­mate­ly fired for one excuse or anoth­er when this gets under­way.

    Not if this gets under­way. When this gets under­way. And that’s real­ly the larg­er sto­ry here. Jesse Kel­ly is just a ran­dom right-wing talk radio host. But he’s not rant­i­ng in a vac­u­um push­ing a ran­dom mes­sage. He’s push­ing a mes­sage that is main­stream­ing the idea of mass ide­o­log­i­cal purges of all insti­tu­tions in the US as a kind of emer­gency response to the declared exis­ten­tial threat from the ‘com­mu­nist Left’. A mes­sage that serves as both a warn­ing and a next step in the ongo­ing purge prepa­ra­tions. Again, we can’t say we weren’t warned. The warn­ings are part of the plan.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 29, 2023, 8:53 pm

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