Light Wave


Trump poll vault spurs right-wing groups to action

By Jake Beardslee · September 24, 2023

In brief…

  • Conservative groups are preparing for a potential Trump White House administration in 2025.
  • The Heritage Foundation and America First Policy Institute have begun organizing transition planning efforts.
  • The initiatives aim to help the next administration enact a conservative agenda quickly.
  • Plans include policy guides and personnel databases to fill 4,000+ political appointments.
The conservative Heritage Foundation has developed a database to recruit appointees under a prospective 2024 Trump administration.  Medill DC/Wikimedia

Buoyed by rising poll numbers and a declining Joe Biden, conservative groups are preparing for a potential Donald Trump return to the White House in 2025. The America First Policy Institute, a think tank created to promote Trump’s agenda, and the conservative Heritage Foundation have launched a series of programs designed to help the next Republican president transition into office.

According to today’s Washington Post/ABC News poll, 48% of voters now say they approve of Trump’s performance while he was in office, while only 37% approve of Joe Biden’s current job performance - a seismic 11% gap.

The America First Policy Institute is working on assembling instructional manuals for future presidential staffers based on suggestions from ex-Trump White House personnel. These transition guides are being compiled with help from nine previous cabinet members, 20 senior presidential advisers, and 400 other officials who served under the Trump administration.

Next week, former top Trump administration officials, including Ex-Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, Ex-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and Ex-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf will speak at a Washington event detailing the America First Policy Institute’s transition plans.

Other participants from Trump’s inner circle include Russell Vought, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget; John McEntee, a key Trump advisor; Rick Dearborn, Trump’s former Deputy Chief of Staff; and Eric Ueland, Trump’s ex-Director of Legislative Affairs.

The Heritage Foundation, meanwhile, has partnered with more than 70 conservative organizations along with former Trump administration staffers to develop policy proposals for the next Republican presidency. The effort has already resulted in a 1,000-page book detailing conservative initiatives, ranging from work requirements for nutritional aid programs to downscaling of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The right-leaning think tank also established an online database - described as a “conservative LinkedIn” - to recruit political nominees for presidential appointments across the federal government.

These initiatives are further indications of the strength of the Trump campaign, who seems all but certain to be the GOP’s 2024 nominee. While the Heritage and America First insist their plans are available to any of the Republican presidential candidates, their efforts have been designed with Trump’s agenda, policies and people in mind.

Trump, who left many high-level political appointments unfilled during his first term in office, deeming them “unnecessary,” could return for a second White House term as one of the most administratively prepared presidents in history.