Some of Trump’s allies in Congress already support his 2025 ideas on deportations and Jan. 6 pardons

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump talks with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, Feb. 29, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. As Trump campaigns on the promises of mass deportations and pardons for those convicted in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, his ideas are being met with little pushback by a new era of Republicans in Congress. It's a shift from the first time around when Trump encountered early skepticism and, once in a while, the uproar of condemnation. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

WASHINGTON — 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 pushback and some enthusiasm by a new era of Republicans in Congress.

It’s a shift from the first time around when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee encountered early skepticism and, once in a while, the uproar of condemnation.


Rather than being dismissed as campaign bluster or Trump speaking his mind to rouse his most devoted voters, his words are being adopted as party platforms, potentially able to move quickly from rhetoric to reality with a West Wing in waiting and crucial backing from key corners on Capitol Hill.

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

While Democratic President Joe Biden and his allies are sounding alarms 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 toward Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who clashed with Trump at times particularly 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 his ouster.

Rising in the churn are MAGA-aligned newcomers such as Vance, who wasn’t yet elected during Trump’s presidency, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who was elected as Trump lost to Biden in 2020. Both Vance and Greene are considered potential vice presidential picks by Trump.

Greene, who recently filed a motion to potentially force Johnson from the speakership, said it’s too soon to be discussing a second-term policy agenda or who will fill West Wing positions.

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

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

Meanwhile, a cast of former Trump White House officials in Washington is pushing out policy papers, drafting executive actions and preparing legislation that would be needed to turn Trump’s ideas into reality.

These efforts are separate from Trump’s campaign, whose senior leaders have repeatedly insisted that outside groups do not speak for them, though many group leaders would be in line to serve in a new Trump administration.

If Trump wins, “we are going to have a plan — and the personnel — ready to roll,” 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 suggested having a “very tiny little desk” on the Capitol steps so he can sign documents on Inauguration Day, Jan. 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.

Congress pushed back at times during the first Trump administration, a stable of Republicans joining with Democrats to halt some of his proposals.

Republicans and Democrats resisted a White House effort to commandeer funds 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 effort to repeal the health law known as the Affordable Care Act.

And after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to try to reverse his 2020 loss to Biden, 10 Republicans in the House 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, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, is retiring at the end of his term. Had the Senate convicted Trump, it could have then moved to bar him from holding federal office again.

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

“Those people are all kind of flushed out,” said Jason Chaffetz, a former GOP representative who is close to Trump allies on and off Capitol Hill.

Trump still falsely argues the 2020 election was stolen and is claiming he should be immune from a four-count federal indictment alleging he defrauded Americans with his effort to overturn the results.

He has made Jan. 6 a cornerstone of his 2024 campaign and often refers to those imprisoned for the attack as “hostages.”

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a leader of the effort to challenge the certification of electors on Jan. 6, said he does not agree with the idea of a “blanket pardon” for those convicted in the riot — some 1,300 people have been charged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email