Friday, October 20, 2017

Heritage Foundation Narrows Down Search for New President

Earlier in the year, after a major shake-up at the conservative Heritage Foundation that led to the ouster of its president, Jim DeMint, the think tank announced that it would begin a broad search for a new president.  Here is an update from The Washington Post:

The Heritage Foundation has narrowed its search for a new president down to a shortlist of finalists, a group that includes Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, and Marc Short, a senior Trump White House official, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
In addition to Ricketts and Short, Heritage’s board of trustees also has expressed interest in Lisa B. Nelson, the chief executive of the American Legislative Exchange Council, and David Trulio, a vice president at Lockheed Martin, the people said on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. 
The conservative think tank’s trustees, however, remain torn over their decision. Kay Coles James — a Heritage board member who served as the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush and is close to Heritage founder Edwin J. Feulner — has been mentioned by several associates as someone who could serve in a temporary capacity if the board cannot settle on a candidate.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a Trump ally, was another person considered in earlier talks inside Heritage, although Meadows made clear to several people close to the think tank that he preferred to remain in Congress, a person familiar with the discussions said.
J.D. Vance, the best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” a memoir about his upbringing in Appalachia, was also floated early in the process as a possible high-profile, younger recruit.

The articles goes on to note that talks to choose a new president have stalled a bit as Heritage trustees "debate the future of the think tank."

As Think Tank Watch previously reported, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) was being considered but he declined an offer to lead the think tank.

Here is a piece by Philip Wegmann in the Washington Examiner entitled "Senior White House Strategist, Marc Short, Won't Say if He Will Dump Trump for Heritage Foundation."

On October 17, President Trump spoke about tax reform at Heritage's annual President's Club meeting (full speech here).

President Trump was the fourth sitting US president to speak to Heritage members since its founding nearly 45 years ago.   The other three were Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, former Heritage president Jim DeMint, who recently launched the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), is saying that he took Heritage "to new heights of influence" during his four-year tenure.

From his CPI biography: "Under DeMint’s direction, Heritage played a major role in the Trump transition, with the policy series 'Mandate for Leadership' used as the basis for the President’s first budget...Heritage [also] partnered with the Federalist Society to create a list of possible Supreme Court judicial nominations that culminated in the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch."

DeMint has hired several former Heritage staffers for his new outfit, including Wesley Denton, Matt Buckham, Rachel Bovard, and Megan Tubb.