Video Shows Trump Shaking Hands with Head of Group Behind Project 2025?

Claim:

Video authentically shows Trump shaking hands with the head of the Project 2025’s parent group — Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts.

Following increased scrutiny in July 2024 of Project 2025 — a project organized by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation to “pave the way for an effective conservative Administration” in 2025 — former President Donald Trump attempted to distance himself from the effort on Truth Social:

I know nothing about Project 2025. I have 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.

Snopes has written extensively about Project 2025, also known as the 2025 Presidential Transition Project. The claim that Trump had “no idea” who was behind it was met with skepticism, in part because many of the people responsible for the project have met or worked for Trump. As a result, a video of Trump shaking hands with the president of the Heritage Foundation, Kevin Roberts, went viral as a response to his denial:

This video, unearthed by the left-leaning Media Matters for America, is accurately described, and comes from an April 2022 keynote address the former president gave at a Heritage Foundation leadership conference. In the clip, Trump wishes Roberts good luck on his appointment as president of the think tank, a tenure that began in October 2021:

I want to thank Kevin. He’s going to be so incredible. I know that for a fact. I know what he did and where he came from, and he’s going to be outstanding and congratulations to his very exciting new role and a very important role.

As the Heritage Foundation points out on its website, it is the primary organization behind Project 2025. Roberts described the release of one of the project’s key documents this way in April 2023:

For over two years, the Left has ignored the voice of everyday Americans leading to crippling inflation, biological males dominating women’s sports, rampant violence, and a crisis in education not seen in decades. Our country is all but unrecognizable.

This is why the conservative movement is coming together to prepare for the next conservative administration. Heritage is convening the conservative movement behind the policies to ensure that the next president has the right policy and personnel necessary to dismantle the administrative state and restore self-governance to the American people.

As reported by The Associated Press, the directors of Project 2025 are Heritage Foundation employees who formerly worked for Trump:

Some of the people involved in Project 2025 are former senior administration officials. The project’s director is Paul Dans, who served as chief of staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under Trump. Trump’s campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt was featured in one of Project 2025’s videos.

John McEntee, a former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office in the Trump administration, is a senior adviser. McEntee told the conservative news site The Daily Wire earlier this year that Project 2025’s team would integrate a lot of its work with the campaign after the summer when Trump would announce his transition team.

Roberts generated further controversy on July 2, 2024, when he told Steve Bannon — a former White House strategist under Trump — on his podcast that conservatives “are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.” 

Because the video in question shows Trump meeting with Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, and because the Heritage Foundation is the parent organization behind Project 2025, the claim is “True.” 

Sources

“A Conservative Leading the Pro-Trump Project 2025 Suggests There Will Be a New American Revolution.” AP News, 3 July 2024, https://apnews.com/article/project-2025-trump-american-revolution-6e02a297fb91b55de01ba7e86615bb08.

“Biden Assails Project 2025, a Plan to Transform Government, and Trump’s Claim to Be Unaware of It.” AP News, 5 July 2024, https://apnews.com/article/trump-project-2025-biden-9d372469033d23e1e3aef5cf0470a2e6.

Chretien, Spencer. “Project 2025.” The Heritage Foundation, https://www.heritage.org/conservatism/commentary/project-2025. Accessed 9 July 2024.

Gertz, Matt. “Donald Trump on Heritage’s Kevin Roberts, Who Oversees Project 2025: ‘He’s Going to Be so Incredible.’” Media Matters for America, 8 July 2024, https://www.mediamatters.org/project-2025/donald-trump-heritages-kevin-roberts-who-oversees-project-2025-hes-going-be-so.

Project 2025. https://www.project2025.org/.

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