New think tank forms to make Trump policies the permanent agenda for conservatives

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Former Trump administration officials are building a new conservative think tank, America First Policy Institute, to cement former President Donald Trump’s policy agenda as the dominant guide for Republicans in Washington and across the country to follow. 

While several former Trump officials with future political aspirations have launched new advocacy groups, former White House domestic policy council director Brooke Rollins said the new institute intends to usher in a century of conservative policy built on the Trump administration’s foundation. 

“We believe that this will be the game-changing, transformative organization of our time and of this generation and I see it not as a two-year play or a four-year play but a 100-year play,” said Ms. Rollins, America First Policy Institute president and CEO, on Tuesday. “Frankly, the market currently, there is a big void in terms of an organization like ours.”

Several senior officials and Cabinet officers of the Trump administration have formed their own political and advocacy groups, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and Stephen Miller, former senior adviser to Mr. Trump. 

Mr. Pence’s group, “Advancing American Freedom,” is similarly dedicated to promoting Mr. Trump’s policies and defending them, while Mr. Miller is developing a conservative legal group to rival the American Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Carson’s American Cornerstone Institute, meanwhile, is pursuing an agenda of advancing faith, community, liberty, and life. 

Rather than see the political and policy nonprofit space as growing crowded, Ms. Rollins said the right needs hundreds more groups to counter the left’s advocacy foothold. Ms. Rollins said her group would be “much bigger than all the other organizations already out of the gate” and that she anticipated her budget would be much larger than others too. 

“I’m very hopeful, these are my great friends from Dr. Carson to Russ Vought to Mark Meadows to the vice president and his team, that we’ll be able to not only just amongst ourselves but bring with us and meet regularly with the other more-established, long-time conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, et cetera,” said Ms. Rollins to The Washington Times. “We’re going to play a different role than they play and have played, but we all play a very important role.”  

Mr. Trump said Tuesday that the institute has his full support and he intends to work with it. 

“The patriots assembling the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) are some of the greatest champions for freedom, free enterprise, national greatness, and the primacy of American workers, families, and communities, that our Nation has ever seen,” said Mr. Trump in a statement shared by Save America PAC. 

Ms. Rollins said the American Policy Institute has more than 40 staffers already at work in Washington, and it will have offices in Miami, Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; and New York City this year as well. 

Ms. Rollins said the burgeoning think tank will be organized across 20 different policy centers with several former Trump administration officials reprising their government roles. She said former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe would lead the center for national security, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry would lead the center for energy independence, and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi would lead a center on law and order. Other participating former Trump officials include Larry Kudlow, former National Economic Policy Council director, and Linda McMahon, former Small Business Administration administrator, according to the group. 

“What the last four years proved is that in a very short period of time with a disruptive, relentless approach to governing, you can absolutely transform a country and lift millions of people to a life that they never even knew could exist, whether that was better education, better jobs, better opportunity to worship at their churches, whatever it is,” said Ms. Rollins. “We saw that happen so quickly in the last four years so that’s the promise of what we’re organizing and putting together.” 

Ms. Rollins said the think tank intends to ultimately get involved in states too, particularly in California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. 

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