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Some Trump allies in Congress are already backing his 2025 ideas on deportations and pardons on January 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Donald Trump campaigns on promises of mass deportations and pardons for those convicted in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, his ideas are being met with little resistance and some enthusiasm by a new era of Republicans in the United States. Congress.

It’s a shift since the presumptive Republican presidential nominee first faced initial skepticism and the occasional uproar of condemnation.

Rather than being dismissed as campaign bluster or Trump speaking his mind to rouse his most committed voters, his words are being adopted as party platforms, potentially capable of quickly moving from rhetoric to reality, with a West Wing in the guard and crucial support from important quarters. Capitol Hill.

“We’re going to have to deport some people,” Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, one of Trump’s biggest supporters, said days after campaigning with Trump in his home state.

While Democratic President Joe Biden and his allies are sounding the alarm about Trump’s proposed agenda for a second term – and his promise that he would be a ‘dictator’, but only on day one – the Republican Party in Congress is undergoing a massive political realignment towards of Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’. ” movement.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has clashed with Trump at times, especially over the Capitol riot, while also pushing through dozens of his judicial picks, is preparing to step down from his leadership role at the end of the year. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., faces constant threats of impeachment.

Rising in the churn are MAGA-related newcomers like Vance, who was not yet elected during Trump’s presidency, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who was elected when Trump lost to Biden in 2020. Both Vance and Greene are considered potential. Trump’s vice presidential picks.

Greene, who recently introduced a motion to potentially force Johnson out of the speakership, said it is too early to discuss a second-term policy agenda or who will fill the positions in the West Wing.

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As she campaigns for Trump, she said her priority is just winning the election.

Other Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate often simply shrug when asked about Trump’s agenda, pointing to policies they like and policies they might support.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a cast of former Trump White House officials is busy releasing policy papers, drafting executive actions and preparing legislation that would be needed to make Trump’s ideas a reality. These efforts are separate from Trump’s campaign, whose senior leaders have repeatedly emphasized that outside groups do not speak on their behalf, although many group leaders would be eligible to serve in a new Trump administration.

If Trump wins, “we will have a plan — and the staff — ready to go,” said Paul Dans, a former Trump administration official who heads the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, which is collecting thousands of resumes and training staff for a potential second Trump administration.

Trump himself has proposed placing a “very small desk” on the steps of the Capitol so he can sign documents on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2025.

“On Day 1 of President Trump’s new administration, Americans will have a strong leader,” said Karoline Leavitt, the campaign’s national press secretary.

During the first Trump administration, Congress sometimes retreated, with a group of Republicans joining Democrats in blocking some of his proposals.

Republicans and Democrats are opposing a White House effort to secure funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, leading to the longest government shutdown in history. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who died in 2018, famously gave a thumbs down to Trump’s attempt to repeal the health care law known as the Affordable Care Act.

And after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to try to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden, 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection and seven Republican senators voted to convict him. Many of those lawmakers have since left Congress. One, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, is retiring at the end of his term. If the Senate had convicted Trump, it could then have decided to ban him from holding federal office again.

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As a result, there are now fewer lawmakers in Congress willing or able to oppose Trump or publicly oppose his agenda, as he has effectively claimed the party apparatus, including the Republican National Committee, as his own.

“Those people are all kind of washed away,” said Jason Chaffetz, a former Republican representative who is close to Trump allies both on Capitol Hill and beyond.

Trump continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen and claims he should be immune from a four-count federal indictment alleging he deceived Americans in his effort to overturn the results. He has made Jan. 6 a cornerstone of his 2024 campaign and often refers to those imprisoned over the attack as “hostages.”

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, leading efforts to challenge the certification of electors, said Jan. 6 that he disagrees with the idea of ​​a “blanket pardon” for those convicted in the riot — about 1,300 people have been convicted. charged.

But he said he is closely watching the upcoming Supreme Court case challenging whether rioters obstructed an official proceeding, which could throw hundreds of cases into doubt, including some charges against Trump.

“My view is, let’s see what the Supreme Court says about that,” Hawley said.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, once a staunch Trump critic after their fierce rivalry during the 2016 campaign, said anyone involved in violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 should be prosecuted. But Cruz, who also helped challenge the 2020 election that day, was open to pardoning others.

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“One of the saddest legacies of the Biden presidency,” he said, was what he called the “weaponization” of the Justice Department to “prosecute” thousands of people who participated in “peaceful protest.”

Perhaps Trump’s most enduring campaign promise in 2024 is his repeated pledge to launch the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” — reviving the immigration and border security debates that have helped define his presidency.

He points to the Eisenhower-era roundup of immigrants as a model, one that lags far behind his 2017 travel ban on migrants from mostly Muslim countries or the separations between families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been a leader on immigration issues, most notably the 2013 law that provided immigrants in the U.S. with a 10-year path to citizenship without legal documentation, though it ultimately did not become law.

But with the number of migrants crossing during Biden’s term reaching record highs, Rubio said, “Whether they’re deported through the hearings they’re waiting for, they’re deported through an effort to expedite it, something’s going to have to be done.”

“No one is saying it would be easy, but something will have to be done with all the people who came here,” he said.

Vance added: “I think you should be open to deporting anyone who came to the country illegally.”

Vanessa Cardenas, a former Biden campaign official who now heads the advocacy group America’s Voice, said she worried that Trump allies would “actually know how to operate the levers of government” in a second term.

“I’m afraid there’s a bit of amnesia about how cruel his policies were,” she said, describing the fear in migrant communities. “Our tolerance level for his language and his ideas continues to rise.”


Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.

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