Friday, August 18, 2023

Heritage Foundation Holding Near-Daily Talks with DeSantis Officials

Here is more from Reuters:

In mid-March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis described the Ukraine war as a "territorial dispute" that was not of vital strategic interest to the United States, in a written reply to a questionnaire from Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

His comment dismayed allies and drew fierce rebukes from many Republicans who favor a more active role for the U.S. in Ukraine, including some who are challenging him for the 2024 presidential nomination.

Playing a quiet but important role in shaping the governor's remarks was the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, America's top conservative think tank, according to two people with knowledge of their interactions.

Senior Heritage officials had advocated for months in conversations with DeSantis' team that he oppose policies that could move the U.S. toward direct confrontation with Russia, the people said.

While officials at Heritage have been in contact with almost every 2024 Republican presidential campaign, including that of former President Donald Trump, the think tank's proximity to DeSantis is unique, eight people involved in the discussions said.

Heritage personnel have held near-daily conversations with DeSantis officials in recent months about key issues, including downsizing federal agencies, reorienting U.S. foreign policy to better prepare for confrontation with China, and lowering hurdles to domestic energy production, the eight people said.

Although the news agency was unable to pinpoint every policy DeSantis has adopted due to his campaign's relationship with Heritage, many of his preferences mirror the think tank's deep skepticism of the federal government, corporate elites and foreign entanglements.


The article goes on to note that DeSantis' policy chief, Dustin Carmack, was a Heritage research fellow before joining the campaign, and he talks to Heritage officials almost daily.  It also notes that in addition to Carmack, at least seven other Heritage officials have taken positions in the DeSantis campaign.

Here is a New York Times piece about Carmack reuniting with DeSantis.

DeSantis has also dispatched a senior adviser, David Dewhirst, to work on Heritage's Project 2025.