The remnants of Donald Trump’s administration and campaign are reforming as the “America First Policy Institute.” Within this new policy institute will be a “Center for American Values” headed by Prosperity preacher and Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White.
Axios broke the news on this new institute:
A constellation of Trump administration stars today will launch the America First Policy Institute, a 35-person nonprofit group with a first-year budget of $20 million and the mission of perpetuating former President Trump’s populist policies.
Why it matters: Two top Trump alumni tell me AFPI is by far the largest pro-Trump outside group, besides Trump’s own Florida-based machine.
In the coming months, the group plans to take a large office space near the U.S. Capitol as a symbol that it’ll fight to be a muscular, well-heeled center of the future of conservatism.
- I’m told that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are informal advisers.
The president and CEO is Brooke Rollins, a Texan who was head of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council.
- Rollins, who met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago last week to update him on plans for the group, told me the group wants to be “dreamers and … risk-takers.”
The board chair is Linda McMahon, who was a member of Trump’s Cabinet as the administrator of the Small Business Administration, after winning fame as a pro-wrestling entrepreneur.
- The vice chair is Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, a longtime CNBC personality who’s now a Fox Business host.
AFPI — now based in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia — has been in the planning stages since December.
- The group will also have offices in Fort Worth, where Rollins remains based, Miami and New York. Rollins plans to move the group to Washington to be closer to the action.
- Rollins said she hopes the budget will double to $40 million in 2022.
The group includes 20 policy areas, many run by Trump alumni:
- Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry heads the Center for Energy Independence.
- National security will be co-chaired by John Ratcliffe, Trump’s last director of national intelligence, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who was national security adviser to Vice President Pence.
- Jack Brewer, a former NFL player and advisory board member of Black Voices for Trump, heads the Center for Opportunity Now, focused on an “underserved community agenda.”
- Paula White-Cain, a Trump spiritual adviser, will head a Center for American Values, focused on religious freedom and the Second Amendment.
- Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi will head a law and justice center.
- Scott Turner will head the Center for Education Opportunity.
Current reports that the Center for American Values, headed by White, will focus on Religious Freedom and the Second Amendment conflating religion and gun ownership in a way that is not at all surprising. Beyond this little is known about White’s role.
Critics of the former President find humor in the idea of a policy center being established to promote his policies. Steve Benen of MSNBC writes:
Why in the world would veterans of Team Trump need a “policy institute”? The group’s mission is to perpetuate the former president “policies,” which sounds vaguely interesting until one realizes that the former president doesn’t really have any policies.
Whenever Trump would try to come up with something resembling a governing agenda, it quickly became obvious that he had poorly thought-out whims, which contradicted the agenda of those around him, which were impractical and borderline illegal and which he’d routinely abandon based on random segments he saw on Fox News.
With this in mind, the America First Policy Institute may soon have tens of millions of dollars, but I haven’t the foggiest idea what its staffers will do all day.
Read the full article by Benen here.