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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Trump’s Unprecedented Second-Term Agenda: Executive Power in Focus

A comprehensive initiative aimed at apprehending and expelling undocumented immigrants.

A systematic removal of perceived disloyal individuals from the federal workforce.

Utilizing the authority of federal law enforcement against political adversaries.

In his pursuit of a return to the Oval Office, former President Donald Trump and his supporters envision a profound transformation of the federal government, leveraging the executive branch’s power in radical and unprecedented ways.

The outlined agenda, reflective of Trump’s uncompromising stances articulated during his recent presidential campaign, is poised to encounter substantial legal and political obstacles.

Operating behind the scenes, external groups aligned with Trump are actively formulating executive orders, scrutinizing the Constitution in anticipation of legal contests, and exploring alternative avenues to grant Trump the authority to enact these policies immediately upon regaining office.

These loyalist factions are acutely mindful of the tumult and disorder characterizing Trump’s initial term. Now assuming leadership roles in several conservative organizations in Washington, they stand ready to contribute to a strategic blueprint to set the wheels for implementing the ambitious agenda.

Under the banner of Project 2025, a transition initiative led by the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, these groups are converging to “facilitate the groundwork for an efficient, conservative administration.”

However, the endeavors of external groups to delineate the legal and policy intricacies of a potential second Trump term have encountered resistance from Trump’s official campaign apparatus.

“While the contributions of various nonprofit groups are undoubtedly valued and can be immensely beneficial, none of these entities or individuals represent President Trump or his campaign,” asserted campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita in a statement.

Nevertheless, the former president himself articulated the fundamental tenets of Trump’s agenda during his campaign and through a series of videos and releases disseminated by the campaign.

Recently, Trump’s campaign has enlisted policy-focused personnel tasked with shaping his policy messaging and eventually evaluating proposals from diverse conservative groups. The overarching objective is to have a set of executive orders ready, addressing issues ranging from immigration to reconsidering government protections for civil servants, for Trump’s potential signature on the first day of a second administration.

Using the Justice Department for revenge

Trump’s strategy involves increasing White House influence over the Justice Department, an entity he has expressed a desire to wield against his critics, including former allies, as a form of retribution. In June, following his arraignment in Florida, the former president declared his intention to appoint a special prosecutor to target President Joe Biden, whom he labeled as the “most corrupt president” in U.S. history, along with the entire “Biden crime family.” Trump vowed to dismantle the “Deep State” completely.

In a recent Univision interview, Trump went a step further, indicating that if he were president again and witnessed someone outperforming him, he would instruct their indictment. Despite the traditional independence of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and various smaller government agencies, Trump’s associates have characterized them as an “administrative deep state” and a “rogue fourth branch of government,” asserting that they should answer to the president within the executive branch.

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Trump has outlined plans in videos and speeches to overhaul the existing justice system by dismissing what he terms “radical Marxist prosecutors” whom he believes are causing harm to the nation. This forms part of a larger initiative to dismantle legal constraints and conventional safeguards against political interference, granting the White House greater authority to place ideological allies in key positions throughout the federal government.

If Trump secures re-election and pursues the outlined blueprint, legal experts anticipate extensive legal battles and political clashes with Congress over the boundaries of presidential authority. Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law and a CNN legal analyst, suggests that such a scenario would thrust the nation into uncharted territory, as norms rather than explicit rules have historically upheld many constraints. The potential for a second Trump administration raises the likelihood of novel litigation addressing these departures from established norms that traditionally limited executive power.

Purging the federal bureaucracy

As part of Trump’s initiatives, a significant aspect involves reclassifying tens of thousands of civil service workers, who traditionally maintain their positions through presidential transitions, as at-will employees. This proposed change aims to simplify the process of terminating their employment.

In a March video statement, Trump expressed his intent to sign an executive order to enact this alteration, emphasizing its utility in removing what he called “rogue bureaucrats.” He pledged to wield this power assertively, outlining a commitment to purging corruption within the National Security and Intelligence apparatus, restructuring departments and agencies that he believes have been weaponized. The goal is to prevent anonymous bureaucrats from targeting and persecuting individuals based on their political affiliations, whether conservative, Christian, or aligned with the left.

Behind closed doors, Trump has attributed delays in implementing some of his policy proposals during his initial term to certain career government employees. Consequently, he has advocated for appointing loyalists who share his ideology across all government sectors.

Project 2025, a component of this agenda, seeks to establish a database of vetted conservative professionals akin to a “conservative LinkedIn.” Managed by tech company Oracle, the database has received thousands of applications and aspires to have numerous vetted prospects ready for a potential transition in a future administration.

While there is currently no FBI-level background check or loyalty test for applicants, sources indicate that resumes are being scrutinized for potential “red flags,” allowing a new administration to make informed decisions about potential hires.

Hardline immigration policies

In the event of a successful election in 2024, Trump is preparing to significantly expand the stringent immigration policies established during his previous administration, impacting both legal and illegal immigration.

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign emphasized the urgent national security need to halt the southern border “invasion” and highlighted Trump’s comprehensive program outlined in his speeches and the Agenda 47 platform. This program focuses on securing the border, preventing illegal immigration, and addressing the removal of individuals who should not have entered the country.

The proposed measures involve the apprehension of undocumented immigrants already in the US, relocating them to detention camps for deportation, as confirmed by a source familiar with the plans.

Implementing these proposals would require the establishment of large camps for migrants awaiting deportation, involving the collaboration of federal and local law enforcement for widespread arrests of undocumented immigrants nationwide.

If Congress declines to allocate funding for the operation, Trump could resort to a strategy employed during his first term—redirecting funds from the Pentagon to secure additional resources for the proposed measures.

Publicly expressing his intent to revive first-term immigration policies, Trump aims to restrict both legal and illegal immigration. This includes reinstating and expanding a travel ban on predominantly-Muslim countries and reviving a Covid-era policy known as Title 42, now based on the assertion that migrants may carry other infectious diseases.

Trump additionally committed to terminating all work permits for illegal aliens and urged Congress to pass legislation outlawing welfare payments to illegal migrants.

Concerned about potential caravans from Mexico to the US border, the former president vowed to prosecute groups and charities that he accused of facilitating large-scale unlawful immigration.

A sweeping domestic agenda

In a potential second term, Trump envisions making substantial changes to Americans’ lives through policy shifts in law enforcement, trade, and the social safety net.

The former president has indicated a plan to mandate local law enforcement agencies to adopt the controversial stop-and-frisk practice to qualify for certain Justice Department funding. Additionally, he has proposed deploying the National Guard to cities grappling with elevated crime levels.

To address homelessness, Trump proposes establishing “tent cities” on cost-effective land, staffed by healthcare workers. Individuals would be given the option to relocate or face potential incarceration.

In terms of the economy, Trump has floated the idea of implementing broad tariffs on all imported goods, reflecting a assertive stance on trade policy, particularly concerning China. In an interview with Larry Kudlow on Fox Business, he suggested imposing an automatic 10 percent tax on products dumped in the United States by foreign companies.

John Collins
John Collins
John is an esteemed journalist and author renowned for their incisive reporting and deep insights into global affairs. As a prominent contributor to City Telegraph, John brings over 5 years of experience covering diverse geopolitical landscapes, from the corridors of power in major capitals to the frontlines of conflict zones.

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