Trump campaign officials are trying to downplay his controversial 2025 plans

Two senior officials in former President Donald J. Trump’s 2024 campaign on Monday sought to distance his campaign team from news reports about plans for what he would do if voters return him to the White House.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, Trump’s de facto campaign managers, issued a joint statement after a series of articles, several in the New York Times, about 2025 plans developed by the campaign itself, and which Trump promoted during the campaign. Trump, as well as efforts by outside groups led by former senior Trump administration officials who remain in direct contact with him.

Ms. Wiles and Mr. Lacivita focused their frustration on outside groups, which they did not name, that have devoted significant resources to staff rostering and policy development for the incoming right-wing administration.

“The efforts of various nonprofit groups are certainly appreciated and can be very helpful. However, none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign, and they have described reports regarding their staffing and political intentions as ‘purely speculative and theoretical’ and” Just suggestions.”

Mr. Trump’s team has sought to portray him as the Republican Party’s most objective policy candidate. But according to several people familiar with the internal discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, Trump campaign advisers have become angry at what they alternately see as credit-grabbing by the groups, headlines that could be problematic for more moderate voters in the election. the public.

It is clear that the statement stopped short of disavowing these groups, and seemed to only aim to discourage them from speaking to the press.

One challenge for the Trump team is that the most controversial speeches and proposals have come from the mouth of Mr. Trump himself.

For example, a June Times article explored Mr. Trump’s plans to use the Justice Department to retaliate against political opponents by ordering investigations and prosecutions into them, eliminating the post-Watergate rule that Justice Department investigations should be independent from the political control of the White House. .

“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family,” Mr. Trump himself said in June.

The Times recently published an extensive article on Mr. Trump’s immigration plans for a second term. He has promised what he called “the largest internal deportation in American history” and used increasingly toxic language to describe immigrants, including saying they are “poisoning the blood of our country.”

The Times article detailed plans for an immigration crackdown based in part on a lengthy interview with Stephen Miller, the architect of immigration policy in the Trump White House. The Trump campaign, after being contacted by Times reporters about Trump’s immigration agenda, asked Mr. Miller to speak with them.

President Biden’s 2024 campaign pounced on the immigration article — which described plans for mass detention camps, among other things — saying Mr. Trump had “extremist, racist, and cruel policies” that were “intended to create fear and divide us.”

Other articles in the Times focused on plans being drawn up by close allies of Mr. Trump who have held senior positions in the White House and are likely to return to power if he is elected.

These plans include efforts to increase White House control over the federal bureaucracy being developed, among others, by Russell T. Vought, who was director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget.

But as the Times notes, Mr. Vaught’s plans are consistent with statements Mr. Trump himself made in a video his campaign posted on its website, including a pledge to bring independent regulators “under presidential authority.”

The Times series also examined plans by Trump allies to hire more aggressive lawyers seen as more likely to bless extremist policies. Trump fired the top lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security in 2019 after disagreements over White House immigration policies, and he criticized key lawyers from his administration who raised objections to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

“All 2024 campaign policy announcements will be made by President Trump or members of his campaign team,” Ms. Wells and Mr. Lacivita’s statement on Monday said. Policy recommendations from external allies are just recommendations.”

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