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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 replaced 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:

...
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 Trump’s for­mer Domes­tic Pol­i­cy Coun­cil direc­tor Brooke Rollins. 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

3 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

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