Heritage faces blowback after 'bloodless' revolution comment

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The Heritage Foundation and its president, Kevin Roberts, are facing blowback in the wake of his comment about an ongoing second American revolution that will “remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

President Biden’s campaign jumped on the comment, with a spokesperson saying it shows that former President Trump’s allies are “dreaming of a violent revolution to destroy the very idea of America.” Commentators ranging from former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) to MSNBC hosts and guests reacted with alarm.

And in the wake of the comment, though without mentioning it, Trump distanced himself from Project 2025 — an initiative led by the conservative think tank that aims to provide a conservative policy blueprint for the next Republican administration and that has also ignited political firestorms.

Heritage and Roberts, though, are standing by the comment, dismissing the criticism as being in bad faith.

“Americans in 2024 are in the process of carrying out the Second American Revolution to take power back from the elites and despotic bureaucrats. These patriots are committed to peaceful revolution at the ballot box,” Robers said Wednesday in a post on the social platform X, continuing to describe the threat he sees and warning that “the Left may not allow a peaceful transfer of power.”

Heritage itself repeated the “bloodless” comment in a separate post on X alongside a compilation video of Democrats, commentators and public figures making controversial comments about unrest and protests.

“The Second American Revolution will remain bloodless if the Left allows it to be,” the Heritage post said. “Unfortunately, they have a well established record of instigating the opposite.”

Roberts made his original comment Tuesday on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast — hosted that day by former Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), since Bannon reported to prison for his contempt of Congress sentence the day before — when discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling that presidents have presumptive immunity for official actions. The decision handed a win to Trump as he fights indictments over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

“The left has taken over our institutions. The reason that they are apoplectic right now, the reason so many anchors on MSNBC, for example, are losing their minds daily, is because our side is winning,” Roberts said. “And so I come full circle on this response, and just want to encourage you with some substance. That we are in the process of the second American revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

For the Biden campaign, the comments were an opportunity to advance one of its core messages: that Trump is a threat to democracy.

“248 years ago tomorrow America declared independence from a tyrannical king, and now Donald Trump and his allies want to make him one at our expense,” Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer said in a statement. “On January 6, they proudly stormed our Capitol to overturn an election Donald Trump lost fair and square – something not even the Confederacy was able to accomplish – now they are dreaming of a violent revolution to destroy the very idea of America.”

Kinzinger, the former Republican congressman who is critical of Trump and has endorsed Biden, wondered about the implications of if the left did not “allow” a “bloodless” revolution.

“And if they dont? What if Americans decide they prefer to hash out differences as the constitution calls for, vis a vis politics, then what? Spell it out. If you can win politically then what?” Kinzinger said in a post on X.

And MSNBC host Joe Scarborough responded directly to Roberts’s quip about anchors on the network.

“First of all, Kev, I’m not losing my mind,” Scarborough began, later saying, “You’re the one talking about revolution. Why are you so angry, Kevin? Why are you losing your mind? America’s great. We’re strong militarily, we’re strong economically, we’re strong culturally … This whole idea that we need a new revolution — I mean, I know it is great fundraising, but it’s just B.S.”

The outrage about the comment builds on heightened attention on the leading conservative think tank and its advocacy group as it leads dozens of conservative organizations in Project 2025, which aims to compile policy proposals for the next right-wing administration.

Democrats and Biden’s campaign have repeatedly pointed to Project 2025 when warning about policies a Trump administration would enact if he wins in November, noting that former Trump administration officials have ties to it.

But in a signal that the project could have too many political liabilities for Trump’s electoral prospects, the former president said in a post on his Truth Social website Friday that he “know[s] nothing about Project 2025″ and has “no idea who is behind it.”

“I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them,” Trump said.

Neither Trump nor his campaign said the “bloodless” comment from Roberts impacted his statement, but Trump’s move to distance himself from the Heritage-led project further highlights the ideological controversies that the conservative think tank has embraced under Roberts’s leadership.

A spokesperson for Project 2025 posted on X that the coalition “does not speak for any candidate or campaign.”

“But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement,” the Project 2025 spokesperson said.

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