image of Steve Bannon with Trump's face in his eyes

Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Personnel, dismantling democracy, and immigration: What a second Trump term might look like according to his closest right-wing media advisers

As the 2024 election approaches, Trump-aligned right-wing media figures are making predictions about staffing and policy decisions for a second Trump term. Steve Bannon, his guests on War Room, and Donald Trump Jr. have been among the most active speculators, regularly discussing plans for retribution against political enemies, mass deportations of undocumented people, draconian border policies, and the gutting of the federal civil service. There has also been widespread advocacy for extremists to assume critical government positions in a second term, including at the Cabinet level. Spokespeople for Trump’s campaign have attempted to downplay reports of a harsher, more authoritarian second term. The examples here are just a snapshot of the extremist agenda being pushed by Trumpworld as other components simmer under the surface.

War Room is the media home for Project 2025, a MAGA coalition led by the Heritage Foundation that is preparing staffing and “governing agenda” recommendations for if Trump wins in 2024.

  • Steve Bannon on potential personnel

    • On War Room, Bannon claimed that Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) is on the “shortlist” to be Vice President in a second Trump term. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 2/12/24]

    • Bannon responded to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) long-winded conspiracy that Trump may be assassinated by the establishment by asking if she would serve as his vice president or in his Cabinet. Asking what position she would take, Greene replied, “The only Cabinet position that I would truly be interested in working in is Homeland.” [Media Matters, 1/11/24]

    • On his show, Bannon stated he was “sure” former Fox News contributor Monica Crowley would be on Trump’s shortlist for national security adviser. [Media Matters, 1/9/24]

    • Last year, Bannon floated the idea of Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and QAnon apologist, as Trump’s next secretary of defense. Bannon asked, “Is General Flynn going to be VP? General Flynn going to be secretary of defense? We’ll talk about that later.” [Media Matters, 10/25/23]

    • Interviewing far-right judicial activist and Article III Project founder Mike Davis, Bannon claimed he will “at least be the interim attorney general in the first couple of weeks of the second term." [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 11/17/23]

    • For Trump’s next attorney general, Bannon suggested Jeffrey Clark, who is widely believed to be an unindicted co-conspirator in Jack Smith’s indictment against Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election. On another occasion, Bannon said Clark is on the “very short list” for the position. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 12/20/23, 11/6/23]

    • Early last year, Bannon touted Newsmax analyst and Trump’s former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell as potential secretary of state in a future Trump administration. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 3/3/23]

    • Last February, Bannon suggested that Christian nationalist Russ Vought should be the head of the Federal Reserve under Trump. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 2/8/23]

    • On Leading Britain’s Conversation, Bannon said of a future Trump second term, “We’re training up right now 3,000 people” to take over the federal bureaucracy who “have the populist, MAGA, America First agenda.” [YouTube, Leading Britain’s Conversation, 1/16/24]

    • On Sean Spicer’s show, Bannon mentioned efforts by Vought and the Heritage Foundation to staff Trump’s potential next administration, saying, “You got to prep, you know, the 3,000 folks you can put in right away,” and adding the caveat that “you don’t need Senate confirmation.” He went on to add, “You don’t need actually the best and the brightest — you need the best that are available that understand what the program is.” [YouTube, The Sean Spicer Show, 12/15/23]

    • Bannon hosted former Department of Defense staffer Kash Patel in December to promote their plans for a second Trump term, including putting in “all American patriots” in “law enforcement,” “intel,” and “offensive operations” positions. In this segment, Bannon also proposed that Patel be nominated for CIA director in a second Trump term. [Media Matters, 12/6/23]

    • At the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference, Bannon suggested that Senator Tommy Tuberville be Secretary of Defense or the Vice President. Tuberville replied that he would join the Trump administration “in a heartbeat.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 2/22/24]

    • Bannon recommended that the founder of War Room partner Home Title Lock, James Finch, “step up to the plate” as FBI Director under Trump. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 2/22/24]

    • During CPAC’s second day, Bannon asked Breitbart’s Matt Boyle if he was “trying to be the comms director of the Trump White House.” Boyle responded, “If President Trump ever asked me to do that, I’d definitely consider it.” Bannon asked a cheering crowd, “Is Matt Boyle our pick? He’s the best." [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 2/22/24]

    • Bannon suggested that far-right conspiracy theorist Lara Logan work in Trump's Department of Homeland Security or become an adviser to the president. [Media Matters, 3/28/22; Real America's Voice, War Room, 2/27/24] 
  • Donald Trump Jr. on potential personnel

    • On his show, Triggered, Donald Trump Jr. said that he wanted self-described “Islamophobe” Laura Loomer as his father’s next White House press secretary and Mike Davis as his attorney general. Trump said he’d “love to see her as press secretary just to watch D.C. just explode.” Loomer responded on her own show, saying she would “gladly” serve as press secretary. [Media Matters, 11/10/23, 11/14/23]

    • Trump Jr. said that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson would be his “first, second, third, fourth, and fifth choice for VP if I could decide right now.” [Rumble, Triggered, 11/9/23]

    • Answering audience questions live on air, Trump Jr. said he liked former Fox News host Dan Bongino for vice president, saying, “Dan would be great.” He also suggested Bongino for “one of those, again, positions to just end nonsense,” such as the head of the FBI. [Rumble, Triggered, 1/18/24]

    • Trump Jr. said that he liked seeing people support former candidate for GOP nominee Vivek Ramaswamy for vice president, but said he also saw others suggesting he should be made the “blow shit up czar, basically” to “get in there and, you know, take down these institutions.” [Rumble, Triggered, 1/18/24]

    • Envisioning a “day one team just to piss these people off,” Trump Jr. floated Loomer and Alex Jones for high-level positions in the White House. He added that there could be a “team of trolls” who would “do a better job than probably a lot of other people in those positions.” He went on to threaten that as “punishment” for “every time they just totally disregard the Constitution” or “start another sham impeachment,” Jones would be installed in the cabinet “for a month.” [Rumble, Triggered, 12/28/23]

    • In the same episode, Trump Jr. reiterated that Carlson is his pick for vice president, but indicated he would settle for press secretary, because Carlson “actually understands the issues, unlike most of these clowns in the media,” who are “not smart enough, most of them, to actually understand the details.” [Rumble, Triggered, 12/28/23]

    • Trump Jr. read off audience suggestions for cabinet picks, including Jones or convicted January 6 rioter and Infowars host Owen Shroyer for press secretary, conservative commentator Victor Davis Hanson for the Department of Education, Dan Bongino, who “would be fire on day one,” James O’Keefe, who would “drive some people crazy,” Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, Kash Patel, and Carlson. He added that he would like to see Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) “somewhere” because he wants to see the media call him, a Black conservative, a white supremacist “with a straight face.” [Rumble, Triggered, 12/28/23; Media Matters, 6/14/23]

  • Immigration under a second term

    • White nationalist and former Trump adviser Stephen Miller has said of 2025 that “Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.” These plans include mass deportation of undocumented migrants, ending DACA, reinstating Title 42, and plans to build massive detention camps for migrants, as documented by The New York Times. [Media Matters, 3/11/21; The New York Times, 11/11/23]

    • Bannon said Trump “got the language absolutely dead spot on” in saying his administration is “going to have the largest domestic mass deportation program in history, they’re all going back.” Center for Immigration Studies fellow Todd Bensman added that the Biden administration is “making it very difficult for anybody to ever deport anyone,” but stressed that “any president has to try.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 9/21/23]

    • Bannon said that a second Trump term would “be like Stalingrad every day,” highlighting the plan for “the deportation of the nine million illegal aliens that are here.” [YouTube, The Sean Spicer Show, 12/15/23]

    • Mike Davis appeared to threaten retributive action against former MSNBC host Medhi Hasan, saying, “We’re going to take away his naturalization, his citizenship, and send him back to the United Kingdom or wherever the hell he came from” when Trump is in office. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 11/20/23]

    • Going even further in his attacks, Davis stated that he “would love to put Mehdi Hasan in the gulag.” Davis also then downplayed his previous offers to lead a reign of terror as Trump’s acting attorney general, claiming that his comments were simply a “troll” and Democrats “are actually doing” fascism. [Real America's Voice, War Room, 12/11/23; Media Matters, 8/24/23]

    • In an interview with Charlie Kirk, Miller called for mass deportations, repeating Trump’s suggestion to invoke the 1798 Alien Enemies Act to “instantaneously remove any non-citizen foreigner from an invading country” and “suspend the due process that normally applies to a removal proceeding.” He added that they would “mobilize the U.S. military, state, federal, and local law enforcement to then carry out large-scale deportations across the whole country.” [Media Matters, 10/2/23]

    • Advocating for mass deportations, Davis said the second Trump administration will “put kids in cages. It’s going to be glorious.” Davis also revealed plans to illegally deport U.S. citizens born to undocumented parents: “We're going to deport a lot of people, 10 million people and growing — anchor babies, their parents, their grandparents.” [Media Matters, 9/29/23]

  • Trump allies’ vision to dismantle American institutions

    • Bannon referred to a second Trump term as a “new order,” where “you’re not going to be supplicants anymore.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 12/5/23]

    • Bannon has proposed invoking the Insurrection Act to crack down on anti-Trump civil demonstrations. Jeffrey Clark appeared to back this idea. [Media Matters, 11/9/23]

    • Declaring that “we are at war with the administrative state,” Bannon said “there is a deep plan right now” for the “deconstruction of the leviathan.” [Media Matters, 7/25/22]

    • Bannon assured audiences that Trump “is going to be the 47th president,” and “his program is going to be to deconstruct the administrative state and get rid of the deep state.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 7/20/23]

    • On Bannon’s War Room, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts celebrated his organization's work, saying, “What we've done with Project 2025 ... is prepare the next president — looks likely to be President Trump — to go into office and as soon as the oath of office, inaugural address, are done, to start dismantling the administrative state.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/17/24]

    • Bannon said the 2025 version of the Heritage Foundation’s book “Mandate for Leadership” book on downsizing the federal government is the “blueprint” for Trump's second term. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 11/13/23]

    • Bannon said that Trump will review a return to the gold standard if elected to a second term. [Media Matters, 12/5/23]

    • Former Trump Defense Department official Kash Patel stated that if Trump gets a second term, “we're going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections.” Patel continued, “We're going to come after you, whether it's criminally or civilly, we'll figure that out.” [Media Matters, 12/5/23]

    • Bannon promised retribution against “elite billionaires” who “are trying to run Trump into prison.” “We can turf these people out, and they have to be broken,” Bannon said. [Media Matters, 12/12/23]

    • After Israel’s parliament passed legislation in July to disempower the country’s court system, Bannon said that “Israel tonight looks like — is a forerunner of — what Trump’s going to look like in 2025 when we take over.” “This is about deconstructing the administrative state,” he added. ” [Associated Press, 7/25/23; Real America’s Voice, War Room, 7/25/23]

    • On GETTR, Bannon appeared to confirm reporting that he and other Trump allies plan to threaten journalists with criminal charges if they take power: “Second Term Accountability Project—Prosecute ‘The Embeds.’” [GETTR, 12/5/23; The Independent, 12/5/23]

    • Bannon expressed confidence that “we can get both houses” of Congress for a “coordinated effort” to push through Trump’s plans. [YouTube, The Sean Spicer Show, 12/15/23]