Former President Donald Trump is assembling his policy team with familiar faces from his first term and signaling they would have roles in his potential 2025 Republican presidential administration.
Trump and his allies have been meeting and talking by phone for months, sculpting the policies that will define his second term should he win the presidency in 2024. The names of the inner circle were revealed Friday in the latest effort by the Trump campaign to counter outside conservative organizations’ efforts to vet and staff a future 2025 administration.
Among these aides are former trade representative Robert Lighthizer, former White House budget director Russell Vought, former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, known for his controversial immigration policy prescriptions, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, his campaign confirmed to the Washington Examiner after they were reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Others on the team are former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett, former acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, previous national security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence Keith Kellogg, and former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.
Most of the accomplices assisting the former president with his future policies are veterans of his previous administration and stand in stark contrast with the many ex-Trump officials who have denounced him. Over the summer, NBC News reported it had reached out to 44 of Trump’s former Cabinet members, and only four would publicly admit backing him once again. Whitaker and Vought were two of the four.
By October, Carson joined the group, endorsing Trump publicly at an Iowa rally.
Each of the allies helping craft these second-term policies is likely to be appointed to key posts within Trump’s administration come 2025, the campaign confirmed.
Hassett described “bloody battles in the Roosevelt Room” during Trump’s first administration with Lighthizer as the two determined the former president’s early policy stances on trade and his use of tariffs. Hassett was originally against them, while Trump and Lighthizer fought for their implementation. Ultimately, the two began to see eye to eye, and their familiar working relationship has continued to grow. “It’s a pretty well-oiled machine compared to the beginning,” Hassett said.
According to Lighthizer, “You will see a much more focused policy on China” in Trump’s potential second term.
“You’ll see a much more worker-oriented policy, much more bringing jobs home,” he added.
Former Trump speechwriter Vince Haley, who is now directing his policy team, said, “All of this is setting up the conditions so that when we have a victory next November, we’re going to be able to move quickly and effectively.”
Talks over policy with this group of associates often occur on flights to or from campaign events, when Trump does the bulk of his reading and asks staff to contact one of his allies.
The squad of loyal supporters and Trump veterans assembled by the former president is expected to carry out a much more streamlined second term without the butting heads and policy differences that plagued his first administration.
While they aren’t expected to have roles in Trump’s staff, he’s also been consulting with familiar Trump allies such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, economic adviser Stephen Moore, and former counselor Kellyanne Conway, former Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
The campaign’s divulging of this information on future staffing comes as outside groups continue efforts to train staff for the next Republican administration, with some involved parties sparking profiles and media frenzy over their involvement in Trump’s potential second term.
Before the reveal of Trump’s policy architects and their expected roles in his possible next term, Trump’s top campaign advisers had released two memos swatting down the work of these outside groups and emphasizing that they were just that: outside. In the second memo, they had harsher words, hitting these groups and individuals as “desk hunters” trying to secure jobs for themselves and their friends.