A mass deportation operation. A new Muslim ban. Tariffs on all imported goods and “freedom cities” built on federal land.
Much of the 2024 presidential campaign has been dominated by the myriad investigations into former President Donald Trump and the subsequent charges against him. But with less than a year until Election Day, Trump is dominating the race for the Republican nomination and has already laid out a sweeping set of policy goals should he win a second term.
His ideas, and even the issues he focuses on most, are wildly different from President Joe Biden’s proposals. If implemented, Trump’s plans would represent a dramatic government overhaul arguably more consequential than that of his first term. His presidency, especially the early days, was marked by chaos, infighting and a wave of hastily written executive orders that were quickly overturned by the courts.
Some of his current ideas would probably end up in court or impeded by Congress. But Trump’s campaign and allied groups are assembling policy books with detailed plans.
A look at his agenda:
Dismantling the ‘Deep State’
Trump would try to strip tens of thousands of career employees of their civil service protections. That way, they could be fired as he seeks to “totally obliterate the deep state.”
He would try to accomplish that by reissuing a 2020 executive order known as “Schedule F.” That would allow him to reclassify masses of employees, with a particular focus, he has said, on “corrupt bureaucrats who have weaponized our justice system” and “corrupt actors in our national security and intelligence apparatus.” Given his anger at the FBI and federal prosecutors pursuing criminal cases against him, Trump probably would target people linked to those prosecutions for retribution.
Beyond the firings, he wants to crack down on government officials who leak to reporters. He also wants to require that federal employees pass a new civil service test.
Trump has pledged to “immediately stop the invasion of our southern border” and end illegal immigration.
As part of that plan, he says he would immediately direct U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to undertake the largest domestic deportation operation in American history. He would target people who are legally living in the United States but harbor “jihadist sympathies” and revoke the student visas of those who espouse anti-American and antisemitic views.
In a bid to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump says he will move thousands of troops currently stationed overseas and shift federal agents, including those at the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI, to immigration enforcement. He also wants to build more of the border wall.
Trump wants to reimpose his travel ban that originally targeted seven Muslim-majority countries and expand it to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the country.” In the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel, he has pledged to put in place “ideological screening” for immigrants. His aim: bar “dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots, and maniacs,” as well as those who “empathize with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists.”
To deter migrants, he has said he would end birthright citizenship, using an an executive order that would introduce a legally untested interpretation of the 14th Amendment. The order would prevent federal agencies from granting automatic citizenship to the children of people who are in the U.S. illegally. It would require that at least one parent be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident for their children to be eligible for passports, Social Security numbers and other benefits.
Trump says he will institute a system of tariffs of perhaps 10% on most foreign goods. Penalties would increase if trade partners manipulate their currencies or engage in other unfair trading practices.
He will urge that Congress pass a “Trump Reciprocal Trade Act,” giving the president authority to impose a reciprocal tariff on any country that imposes one on the U.S.
Much of the agenda focuses on China. Trump has proposed a four-year plan to phase out Chinese imports of essential goods, including electronics, steel and pharmaceuticals. He wants to ban Chinese companies from owning vital U.S. infrastructure in sectors such as energy, technology and agriculture, and says he will force Chinese owners to sell any holdings “that jeopardize America’s national security.”
Trump claims that even before he is inaugurated, he will have settled the war between Russia and Ukraine. That includes, he says, ending the “endless flow of American treasure to Ukraine” and asking European allies to reimburse the U.S. for the cost of rebuilding stockpiles.
It is unclear whether he would insist that Russia withdraw from territory in Ukraine it seized in the war that it launched in February 2022.
Trump has said he will stand with Israel in its war with Hamas and support Israel’s efforts to “destroy” the militant group. He says he will continue to “fundamentally reevaluate” NATO’s purpose and mission.
Trump says he will ask Congress to pass a bill establishing that “only two genders,” as determined at birth, are recognized by the United States.
As part of his crackdown on gender-affirming care, he will declare that hospitals and health care providers that offer transitional hormones or surgery no longer meet federal health and safety standards and will be blocked from receiving federal funds, including Medicaid and Medicare dollars.
He would push Congress to prohibit hormonal or surgical intervention for transgender minors in all 50 states.
Doctors typically guide kids toward therapy before medical intervention. At that point, hormone treatments such as puberty blockers are far more common than surgery. They have been available in the U.S. for more than a decade and are standard treatments backed by major doctors’ organizations, including the American Medical Association.
Trump’s goal, he says, is for the U.S. to have the lowest-cost energy and electricity of any nation in the world, including China.
Under the mantra “DRILL, BABY, DRILL,” he says he would ramp up oil drilling on public lands and offer tax breaks to oil, gas, and coal producers. He would roll back Biden administration efforts to encourage the adoption of electric cars and reverse proposed new pollution limits that would require at least 54% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030.
And again, he says, he will exit the Paris Climate Accords, end wind subsidies and eliminate regulations imposed and proposed by the Biden admiration targeting incandescent lightbulbs, gas stoves, dishwashers and shower heads.
Trump has pledged to terminate the Department of Education, but he also wants to exert enormous influence over local school districts and colleges.
He would push the federal government to give funding preference to states and school districts that abolish teacher tenure, adopt merit pay to reward good teachers and allow the direct election of school principals by parents.
He has said he would cut funding for any school that has a vaccine or mask mandate and will promote prayer in public schools.
Trump also wants a say in school curricula, vowing to fight for “patriotic education.” He says that under his administration, schools will “teach students to love their country, not to hate their country like they’re taught right now” and will promote “the nuclear family” including “the roles of mothers and fathers” and the “things that make men and women different and unique.”
To protect students, he says he will support school districts that allow trained teachers to carry concealed weapons. He would provide federal funding so schools can hire veterans, retired police officers, and other trained gun owners as armed school guards.
Trump wants to force the homeless off city streets by building tent cities on large open parcels of inexpensive land. At the same time, he says he will work with states to ban urban camping, giving violators the choice between being arrested or receiving treatment.
He also wants to bring back large mental institutions to reinstitutionalize those who are “severely mentally ill” or “dangerously deranged.”
Trump would again push to send the National Guard to cities such as Chicago that are struggling with violence. He would use the federal government’s funding and prosecution authorities to strong-arm local governments.
He says he will require local law enforcement agencies that receive Justice Department grants to use controversial policing measures such as stop-and-frisk. As a deterrent, he says local police should be empowered to shoot suspected shoplifters in the act. “Very simply, if you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store,” he said in one recent speech.
Trump has called for the death penalty for drug smugglers and those who traffic women and children. He has also pledged a federal takeover of the nation’s capital, calling Washington a “dirty, crime-ridden death trap” unbefitting of the country.