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As Trump speaks in Washington, his allies prepare for a second term

Former president Donald Trump returns to Washington for the first time since leaving office to deliver a dystopian speech. He encouraged “tough,” “nasty” and “mean” new responses to violent crime and the forcible relocation of homeless people to quickly-built tent cities in the suburbs. The speech marked a return to the shocking rhetoric that Trump deployed in his 2016 campaign. He proposed additional funding for police, additional jail time for immigration violations, a return of “stop and frisk” an end to most early or electronic voting, and new restrictions on medical treatment for transgender youths. Event organizers made clear they saw “America First” as a rising identity for policies such as civil service reform, private-sector health-care reform.

Russell T. Vought is working with a group of former aides to make recommendations on how to slim down government agencies. He wants to give a blueprint for Trump or another conservative in 2024 to transform the federal government. Vought had been key to civil service reclassification work, creating a new Schedule F in the final months of the administration. It is unclear if Trump would even take up the recommendations, advisers said. The plans have raised concerns among advocates for the current civil service, who worry the next Republican president would move forward with plans started in 2020 to make more federal jobs subject to presidential appointment and make it easier to fire workers. And they fear it could catch on among Republican leaders, even if the nominee is not Trump.

There is some concern among Trump advisers that because he was so frustrated with facing two impeachment trials and advisers that were not totally loyal to him, he would pick unqualified “toadies” for key picks. The flood of new Trump-affiliated groups has been disruptive for old-line conservative think tanks, creating a set of overlapping and sometimes conflicting efforts. Some Republicans have grown annoyed that money is being siphoned off that could help Republicans win in 2022 to groups such as AFPI and Save America, the president’s PAC. AFPI is just a “place for Trump administration officials to make money,” said one prominent Republican. Whether the groups will come together on a unified plan for the next Republican presidential nominee remains an open question. The groups

Lighthizer argued that the national security and economic threat of China required Republicans to abandon their conservative objections to embracing industrial policy that benefited a single industry. Others have welcomed the shift in conservative thinking that followed Trump’s election in 2016. Trump signaled that he once again sees an opportunity to disrupt the political world by embracing the