By Janice Hisle
In recent weeks, as former President Donald Trump’s dominance in polls has held steady or increased, national media outlets have been publishing news stories about what his possible second term in office might look like.
In response, a pair of President Trump’s top advisers took an unusual step. Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles issued a joint statement disavowing the “narrative” of those articles.
The media reports have discussed “the types and qualifications of individuals who will be hired in a new administration,” along with policies that would be implemented, “and the way the transition process will be undertaken and who will lead it,” the Nov. 13 statement said.
Such reports are “purely speculative and theoretical,” the statement said.
“As President Trump’s dominance in the Republican primary grows and his path to beating Democrat President Joe Biden widens, we are seeing more and more stories about various groups’ intentions for leading a Trump transition,” the statement said. “These stories are neither appropriate nor constructive.”
The statement did not name any such groups. But, as The Epoch Times previously reported, an organization called Project 2025 seeks to recruit new people for government roles and provide a blueprint for the next conservative president, whether that would be President Trump or someone else. Some recent media reports specifically mention Project 2025.
The Heritage Foundation, which is spearheading this effort, has been making similar suggestions every four years since President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. The Epoch Times sought comment from the Heritage Foundation but did not receive a reply prior to publication.
Without specifically referencing Project 2025, President Trump’s advisers stated: “The efforts by various non-profit groups are certainly appreciated and can be enormously helpful. However, none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign. We will have an official transition effort to be announced at a later date.”
“Any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions,” the statement said. “Likewise, all 2024 campaign policy announcements will be made by President Trump or members of his campaign team. Policy recommendations from external allies are just that—recommendations.”
The Trump team says press reports about possible transition plans are “largely unfounded and an unnecessary distraction from the work we are doing to defeat the most corrupt and incompetent president in what is the most consequential election in the history of our country.”
Further, the statement emphasized: “Unless a second-term priority is articulated by President Trump himself, or is officially communicated by the campaign, it is not authorized in any way.”
Although the Trump team did not specify any news outlet or article, The New York Times and the Washington Post published reports on the topics that the Trump statement describes. The Epoch Times attempted to seek comment from both publications but was unable to reach a spokesperson via phone, online chat, or email.
However, The Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who has written about what a second Trump term might look like, told CNN on Nov. 13 that she thinks the Trump team released the statement because they are “very upset by our stories,” which she and others have been working on since June.
She noted that some of the reporting is based upon the former president’s own words or on statements from Trump campaign-sanctioned spokespersons.
During campaign speeches, President Trump has repeatedly stated, “I am your retribution,” and has decried the “weaponization” of the justice system against him. He faces 91 criminal charges that he says are unfounded.
Now media reports warn about the consequences if President Trump wins reelection and turns the tables on his enemies; some are calling a potential second term in office his “revenge term,” especially because they believe he was cheated out of victory in the 2020 presidential election.
The former president is now in the midst of his third campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. So far, he is outdistancing all of his GOP competitors by wide margins. As of Nov. 14, President Trump was drawing 58 percent of Republican votes while 14.5 percent of would-be voters said they would pick his second-place challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to the RealClear Politics national average.
Last week, Slate magazine highlighted recent “terrifying reports about Trump’s plans for a second term.”
Slate references a Nov. 5 Washington Post article headlined “Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term.”
Its opening line reads: “Donald Trump and his allies have begun mapping out specific plans for using the federal government to punish critics and opponents should he win a second term.”
The article also says President Trump has named people “he wants to investigate or prosecute,” and asserts that his associates are “drafting plans to potentially invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office to allow him to deploy the military against civil demonstrations.”
That report “builds on last week’s chilling reporting in The New York Times about the lawyers who would work for a second Trump administration. All of this portends a new threat against the U.S. legal system,” the Slate article said.
On Nov. 1, The Times published a story headlined, “If Trump Wins, His Allies Want Lawyers Who Will Bless a More Radical Agenda.” Ms. Haberman is among the three authors of that article.
The story reports on “back-room discussions,” relying on “seven people with knowledge of the planning.” Most of those people spoke on condition of anonymity, according to the article. But reporters also spoke to former Trump administration lawyers “and other allies who have remained close to the former president and are likely to serve in a second term.”
These insiders, according to the article, described an effort “to prepare to take control of the government in a way unseen in modern presidential history.”
Online commenters said they feared a second Trump term would spell the end of democracy in the United States, and he would become a de facto dictator. But Trump supporters said he would be justified in scouring the government for wrongdoing—and they’re confident that he instead would return power to the American people.