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Ex-Trump Administration Officials Involved in Project 2025: Full List


Despite former president Donald Trump denying any links to Project 2025, dozens of contributors to the controversial policy proposals formerly served in his administration.

Created by right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation, Project 2025 is a 900-page document of proposed policies for a future Republican administration. It aims to remove civil service employment protections for thousands of federal employees so they can be fired and replaced with Republican loyalists.

It then proposes implementing sweeping right-wing changes to the federal government, including eliminating the Department of Education, reducing the scope of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, rolling back renewable-energy programs to create a regulatory environment that favors the fossil fuel industry, limiting mail-order abortion pills and removing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) hiring policies from federal programs. Many of the proposed policies are unpopular with voters.

Various critics have described Project 2025 as “a significant move to an authoritarian government” and likely to “destroy American democracy.”

The White House on July 3, 2024. Dozens of former members of Donald Trump’s administration have contributed to Project 2025.

Jacquelyn Martin/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Trump tried to distance himself from the proposed policies last Friday, writing on Truth Social: “I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

Project 2025 has repeatedly said that it “does not speak for any candidate or campaign.

“We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy and personnel recommendations for the next conservative president,” a Project 2025 spokesperson said in a statement.

However, questions have been raised as to how close Project 2025 would be to a possible future Trump administration, with a Democratic spokesperson saying that Trump and Project 2025 are “one big MAGA operation.”

Many contributors to the policy document, including its director, Paul Dans, one of its editors, Steven Groves, and its associate director, Spencer Chretien, all previously served in the Trump administration.

In total, 31 contributors served at various levels in and around Trump’s administration. Here is a complete list:

Paul Dans – Dans served as chief of staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from February 2020 until December 2020. One of Dans’ tasks was liaising with the White House to help fill rolls for the approximately 4,000 presidential appointees across the federal government. Dans is the director of Project 2025.

Steven Groves – Groves served as special assistant to Trump to defend him against Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. He served as Trump’s deputy press secretary in 2019 and 2020. He previously served in 2017 as chief of staff to Nikki Haley while she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Groves was an editor of the Project 2025 policy document.

Spencer Chretien – Chretien served as special assistant to the president in 2020 and 2021. His job involved identifying, recruiting and placing political employees at all levels of government. Chretien is associate director of Project 2025.

Jonathan Berry – Berry served as counsel to the assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2017 and 2018. Berry was also part of Trump’s presidential transition team in 2016 and 2017, advising on ethics and legal policy.

Adam Candeub – Candeub served in the DOJ as the deputy associate attorney general in 2020. In 2019, he served as a high-ranking commerce official in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Dustin J. Carmack – Carmack served as the chief of staff to the director of national intelligence in 2020 and 2021.

Brendan Carr – A member of both the Trump and the Biden administration, Carr was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by Trump. His post expired in 2023 and was renewed by Biden; it will expire in 2028.

Ben Carson – One of the most prominent Black conservatives in the United States, Carson served as the 17th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2017 until 2021. Carson ran in the 2016 Republican primary, before eventually dropping out and endorsing Trump.

Ken Cuccinelli – Cuccinelli served as the acting Secretary of Homeland Security from 2019 until 2021. In 2020, a congressional watchdog issued a report saying that he was unlawfully appointed to this position.

Rick Dearborn – Dearborn served as a deputy chief of staff in Trump’s White House in 2017 and 2018. Prior to Trump’s inauguration, Dearborn worked as the staff director in the presidential transition team.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth – Furchtgott-Roth served as acting assistant secretary for economic policy at the Department of the Treasury in 2018 and 2019.

Thomas Gilman – Gilman served in two roles in the Department of Commerce simultaneously from 2019 until 2021: chief financial officer as well as assistant secretary for administration.

Mandy Gunasekara – Gunasekara served as the chief of staff for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2020 and 2021. She had worked as a senior policy adviser for the EPA since 2017.

Gene Hamilton – Hamilton served as counsel for the attorney general in the DOJ from 2017 until 2021.

Jennifer Hazelton – Hazelton served as public affairs official at the Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2020 and 2021. She also served as a public affairs official in the State Department in 2017.

Troup Hemenway – Hemenway served as associate director for national security in the White House Presidential Personnel Office, which is tasked with vetting new appointees. He also founded the Association of Republican Presidential Appointees.

Dennis Dean Kirk – Kirk was supposed to serve as chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, an agency which gives federal employees, including whistleblowers, a place to appeal if they feel they have been unfairly fired. Trump nominated him to the position in 2018. However, the Senate delayed confirming him and he never ended up serving in the role, meaning the Board did not have enough members to function during Trump’s administration. This created a backlog of complaints.

Bernard McNamee – McNamee served as commissioner for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 2018 until 2020.

Christopher Miller – Miller served in three roles in the Trump administration in a period of only seven months. In June 2020, he was appointed as the acting assistant secretary of defense, in August 2020, he was named director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and from November 2020 until January 2021, he served as the acting secretary of defense.

Stephen Moore – Moore was not a member of Trump’s administration, but advised on his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump nominated Moore to serve as governor of the Federal Reserve, but he withdrew his name after facing criticism following the resurfacing of historic articles he wrote disparaging female athletes.

Mora Namdar – Namdar served as the acting assistant secretary of state in the State Department from December 2020 until January 2021. She previously worked as a policy adviser in the same department since 2019.

Peter Navarro – One of the most prominent members of the Trump administration, Navarro served as the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy from 2017 until 2021. He was also the director of the National Trade Council in 2017. Navarro was a close adviser to Trump, largely on trade, but he also advised on the COVID-19 response and Trump’s false election fraud claims. Navarro refused to comply with the House Select Committee on the January 6 attack. He was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress and eventually pled guilty. He was convicted and sentenced to four months jail and fined $9,500. He is due to be released from prison next week.

William Perry Pendley – Pendley served as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management from 2019 until 2021.

Max Primorac – Primorac served as the acting chief operating officer for USAID from November 2020 until January 2021. He had previously worked as an adviser in the same agency since 2018.

Roger Severino – Severino served in the Department of Health and Human Services as director of the Civil Rights Office from 2017 until 2021.

Kiron Skinner – Skinner served as director of policy planning in the State Department from 2018 until 2019. She previously worked from Trump’s transition team.

Brooks Tucker – Tucker served as chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs from April 2020 until January 2021. He had previously served as an assistant secretary in the same department.

Hans von Spakovsky – Von Spanovsky served on Trump’s short lived Voter Fraud Commission, which operated from May 2017 until January 2018. He previously served a brief and controversial stint as commissioner of the Federal Election Commission in the Bush administration from 2006 until 2007.

Russ Vought – Vought served as director the Office of Management and Budget, the largest office in the executive branch of government, from July 2020 until January 2021. He had served as deputy and then acting director between 2018 and 2020.

William Walton – Although not a member of Trump’s administration, Walton served on his 2016 transition team as co-head of economic issues for federal agencies.

Paul Winfree – Winfree served in three roles in Trump’s White House in 2017: deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy, deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council, and director of budget policy. He left the White House at the end of 2017. Trump appointed him to the Fullbright Foreign Scholarship Board in 2019.