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“These Are Not Just Threats”: Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Project 2025 & Dangers of a Second Trump Term

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Image Credit: Right: White House photo

Democratic Congressmember Ayanna Pressley is a founding member of a congressional task force aiming to stop the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s “Project 2025,” the moniker given to a Donald Trump-associated political plan to reduce the power of the federal government and push forward socially conservative policies. Pressley calls Project 2025 an “extreme manifesto” and explains why she has made preventing its coming into fruition a top priority during the 2024 election.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Which brings us, Congressmember Pressley, to you being a founding member of the congressional task force designed to stop Project 2025, operated out of the Heritage Foundation. You describe it as a, quote, “far-right manifesto and thousand-page blueprint for Donald Trump to seize 'supreme' powers and radically undermine reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality, racial justice, free speech, and other democratic institutions and freedoms.” Can you explain more what Project 2025 is? We’re moving into the debate between Trump and Biden Thursday night. Then, Democracy Now! will be there in force in Milwaukee covering the Republican National Convention two hours a day. We’ll be expanding our coverage. What is Project 2025?

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: Well, you know, I will say this, Amy, about these extremist far-right Republicans here. You know, they always telegraph their punch. They always telegraph their harm. And right now they are saying the quiet part out loud.

Project 2025, this is a 900-plus blueprint, extreme manifesto. It’s a policy plan, and it is a transition plan, that would dismantle the federal government as we know it, eliminate the Department of Education, eliminate critical Title I funding for our K-12 schools. It bans our bodies. It says in the document that Dobbs was just the beginning. And again, we know them to make good on these things. These are not just threats. They are promises. We saw with Dobbs that dominoes continue to fall. First it was about access to abortion, then abortion care, which is healthcare. Then they went after birth control and contraceptives. Then they went after IVF. Then they went after mifepristone, abortion medication. So, we know them, again, to make promises, not threats. And we have to do everything possible to ensure that they cannot make good on these efforts to ban our bodies, to ban our books, to ban words, diversity, equity, inclusion, abortion.

And also, it is important to note that although most of this 900-plus-page manifesto here, extreme manifesto, implicates federal agencies, it also implicates the Supreme Court, because in order for them to make this real, they will need to enlist as co-conspirators in this, in this march towards extremism, towards fascism, towards authoritarianism, they will need to enlist the Supreme Court, as they have already done. The Supreme Court has repeatedly overturned the will of the majority of the people, because it is far-right, it is extreme, it is imbalanced. And we desperately need a strong code of ethics there. We need also to expand the court, expand the bench. We need term limits.

And we need to be investigative, Amy, of anyone with any sort of impropriety, because the very same people the Heritage Foundation and these megadonors who have produced this extreme manifesto, this policy and transition plan, that will lay off thousands of dedicated public servants and will replace them with Trump loyalists — again, this is like chilling McCarthyism. They are right now — they have an online portal where people can apply, and they’re testing their Trump loyalties here. The same megadonors who have created this blueprint are the same people who have been purchasing lavish gifts for Alito and Thomas, seeking to influence the court. And they want more justices like them seated.

So, all of this is connected. All of this is connected. And that’s why we have to shine a light on it. We’ve established this Project 2025 task force, on which I’m proud to be a founding member, so that we can raise public awareness. I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant. And we need to leverage every congressional tool available, oversight and authority, and do everything to defeat Donald Trump to ensure that this document is not made real.

AMY GOODMAN: Ayanna Pressley, we want to thank you for being with us, U.S. Congressmember for Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District. New York’s primary is tomorrow, is Tuesday.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: That’s right. Team Bowman.

AMY GOODMAN: Next up, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says the Israeli military will soon shift its focus from Gaza to Lebanon. We’ll speak with Palestinian American journalist Rami Khouri. Stay with us.

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