Trump donors funding secretive ‘government-in-waiting’ to staff next GOP White House: report
Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump (AFP)

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported on a previously undisclosed Republican organization, the "Rockbridge Network," funded by longtime donors to former President Donald Trump, with the goal of, among other things, lining up staff for a future Republican administration — and organizing the votes and money to put that administration in office.

Among the donors to this project are Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel and data analytics heiress Rebekah Mercer — donors who have broadly sought to push the GOP in a more right-populist direction.

"'We need to show our side is organized and has the necessary institutional know-how and financial support, in order to have any shot at winning future elections,' reads a brochure for the Rockbridge Network," reported Ken Vogel, Shane Goldmacher, and Ryan Mac. "The brochure, which circulated in Republican finance circles this year, calls Rockbridge 'a kind of political venture capital firm' that will 'leverage our investors’ capital with the right political expertise' to 'replace the current Republican ecosystem of think tanks, media organizations and activist groups that have contributed to the Party’s decline with better action-oriented, more effective people and institutions that are focused on winning.'"

"Among the initiatives cited in the Rockbridge brochure are media-related functions — including public relations, messaging, polling, 'influencer programs' and investigative journalism — with a combined budget of $8 million," said the report. "A 'lawfare and strategic litigation' effort with a projected cost of $3.75 million is intended to use the courts 'to hold bad actors, including the media, accountable.' A 'transition project,' with an estimated price tag of $3 million, is intended to assemble policy experts and plans to create a 'government-in-waiting' to 'staff the next Republican administration.'"

All of this comes as Trump himself appears to be leaning toward another run in 2024, setting up a rematch with President Joe Biden — and as traditional Republican strategists fear the former president's promotion of candidates in the midterms could harm their chances in an election broadly believed to be in their favor.

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