Project 2025 is a plan to fundamentally change the government. Photo: Shutterstock/Andrea Izzotti

Project 2025: Presidential Transition Project is a creation of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy think tank whose “mission is to formulate and promote public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”  

Associated Press journalist Lisa Mascaro recently summed up Project 2025 as a way to avoid the roadblocks faced by the initial Trump administration. “The goal is to avoid the pitfalls of former President Donald Trump’s first years in office, when the Republican president’s team was ill-prepared, his Cabinet nominees had trouble winning Senate confirmation and policies were met with resistance — by lawmakers, government workers and even Trump’s own appointees who refused to bend or break protocol, or in some cases violate laws, to achieve his goals,” Mascaro wrote in a recent PBS Newshour article

With this playbook in action, a Trump or elected conservative administration could immediately begin to dismantle governmental programs, pull back on policies around climate change, reproductive rights and much more. 

The playbook is written by Heritage Foundation’s director of the 2025 Presidential Transition Project Paul Dans, and Margaret Thatcher fellow Steven Groves. Project 2025 lays out a path to implementing conservative Christian values in government, including a massive restructuring of U.S. governmental departments, coinciding with the possible reelection of former President Donald Trump. It also includes contributions from former Trump team members:

  • Former Acting Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli
  • Former Trump Deputy Chief of Staff, Rick Dearborn
  • Former acting U.S. Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller
  • Former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Mora Namdar
  • Former Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and Defense Production Act Policy Coordinator, Peter Navarro
  • Advisory Commission on Election Integrity member Hans A. von Spakovsky

The nearly 900-page playbook lays out a plan built upon a series of “promises,” including restoring the “family as the centerpiece of American life,” dismantling the “administrative state and return self-governance to the American people,” defending the “nation’s sovereignty, borders, and bounty against global threats,” and securing a “God-given individual rights to live freely—what our Constitution calls ‘the Blessings of Liberty.’”

If it came to pass, the Project 2025 playbook would facilitate filling the government with like-minded employees and officials that would help the conservative establishment bring this plan to fruition. This includes strict rules governing reproductive rights and walking back “radical climate policy.”

When it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Project 2025 lays out several courses of action. 

Getting rid of diversity, equity and inclusion in governmental offices. Project 2025 lays out a plan to dismantle DEI programs, including eliminating those positions from the United States Agency for International Development, including with the playbook creators call “the bullying LGBTQ+ agenda.” (Page 258) Early on in the playbook, the authors refer to dealing with “woke culture warriors” by deleting the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”), diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”), gender, gender equality, gender equity, gender awareness, gender-sensi-tive, abortion, reproductive health, reproductive rights, and any other term used to deprive Americans of their First Amendment rights out of every federal rule,

agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists.” (Page 5)

Pulling back on what can be considered sex discrimination in the Department of Labor. In addition to removing racial classifications and “critical race theory” training by executive order, Project 2025 would restrict Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that “an employer who fires someone simply for being homosexual or transgender” violated Title VII. It would also “rescind regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, and sex characteristics.” (Page 584) Terminating an employee for any of these reasons would be legal. 

Outlawing pornography. Project 2025 lays responsibility for the rise in transgender awareness on pornography but does not give any definition to what is or is not considered pornography. It calls for anyone who creates pornography to be imprisoned, including educators and librarians who distribute it. (Page 5) The playbook makes it clear that this is part of its agenda, also stating, “children suffer the toxic normalization of transgender-ism with drag queens and pornography invading their school libraries.” Recently, conservative school boards and groups touting parental rights have been attempting to classify LGBTQ+ content in schools as pornographic and banning significantly more books than in previous years. 

Pushing back on gender-affirming care. Early on in the playbook, Project 2025 calls for an end to gender-affirming care by saying, “allowing parents or physicians to “reassign” the sex of a minor is child abuse and must end.” (Page 5) 

An end to transgender service in the military. Project 2025 would roll back the military’s 2021 DoD Instruction 1300.28 on transgender service members, which currently allows trans service members, stating “gender dysphoria is incompatible with the demands of military service, and the use of public monies for transgender surgeries or to facilitate abortion for service members should be ended.” (Page 104)

Block Pride flags from being flown in the U.S. Embassies. Calling these flags “divisive symbols” Project 2025 states that these symbols “have no place next to the Stars and Stripes at our embassies.” (Page 89)

The entire Project 2025 playbook is available to read online here.

The organization Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE), a watchdog group working to “address the gap in efforts to stop transnational hate and far-right extremism movements”, recently put out a deep analysis of Project 2025 and is sounding alarm bells. 

According to group co-founder Wendy Via, “Our country is facing an authoritarian threat from far-right extremists and Christian Nationalists in a new, unique, and frightening way. Voters, political figures, and the media must be on alert that Project 2025 is an authoritarian roadmap to dismantling a thriving, inclusive democracy for all.”

GPAHE’s other co-founder Heidi Beirich also warns of an authoritarian takeover of the country.,“Project 2025 threatens Americans’ civil and human rights, and is an attack on our very democracy,” said Beirich. “Project 2025 does not reflect the values of the American people, and our plea to political leaders and to the media is to accurately describe Project 2025 as a dangerous and unconstitutional attempt to move us towards an authoritarianism guided by Christian Nationalism.”