May 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump's 2025 vision, revealed

Photo illustration of Donald Trump in front of the mob that stormed the Capitol.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan (AFP)/Getty Images

Former President Trump's second-term governing plans are coming into clearer focus, as he lays out a vision for a dramatic expansion of federal power — particularly the presidency.

Why it matters: In public statements, videos and posts on his campaign's website, Trump complains about Washington's "swamp" — but lays out a plan that would give him, as president, more control of virtually every facet of life in America.

Zoom in: Trump's plans go well beyond the provocative promises he made during his recent CNN town hall — to pardon nearly all of the convicted Jan. 6 rioters (there have been about 500), and to immediately broker an end the war in Ukraine.

  • Such pardons would effectively nullify what Attorney General Merrick Garland has called the Justice Department's most far-reaching and important investigation in its history.
  • Trump's comments on Ukraine were in line with his opposition to continued military aide to help that nation resist Russia's invasion.

Those moves would be extremely controversial, but generally within a president's authority. Much of Trump's agenda, however, would represent an unprecedented power grab by the executive branch — driven by far-right conservatism and Trump's grievances.

The intrigue: Trump has taken credit for the Supreme Court overturning abortion rights under Roe v. Wade, a decision made possible by three Trump-appointed justices.

  • But he hasn't said whether he'd sign a federal abortion ban — as many conservatives want — or embrace a law like Florida's ban after six weeks of pregnancy, one of the nation's strictest abortion laws. It was pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump's chief rival for the GOP nomination.
  • Trump has said abortion is a "losing issue" for conservative Republicans — but he still wants their votes.

Reality check: Many of Trump's ideas are outlined in broad strokes, without details of how they'd be implemented or funded.

What they're saying: "What Trump is proposing for 2025 ... is the trappings of a democracy. ... But it's a Potemkin village," said Norman Ornstein, an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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