The unusual statement, which came after a similar message from the senior advisers last month, reflected growing concerns in Trump’s circle about some perceptions associated with his second term. It comes as experts and political opponents have raised alarms about the former president and his allies embracing authoritarian ideas and rhetoric.
Wiles and LaCivita added a warning to their missive: “Let us be even more specific, and blunt: People publicly discussing potential administration jobs for themselves or their friends are, in fact, hurting President Trump … and themselves. These are an unwelcomed distraction.”
A Trump campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the campaign, said Friday’s statement came in response to a report that Axios published the previous day that offered a list of potential members of a second Trump administration, as well as to “those continually pushing their names and causing problems for the President.”
The Washington Post and other outlets have previously reported that Trump and his allies have drawn up specific plans to use the federal government to punish his opponents, including discussions of invoking the Insurrection Act on his first day in office, which would allow him to use the military against civilian demonstrations. Trump, who is campaigning on his grievances and vowing retribution, has also repeatedly said that he sees his prosecutions as justification to turn the Justice Department and the FBI against his opponents.
Friday’s statement also came amid an escalating response from the campaign against reports describing a second Trump term that would be more extreme and autocratic than his first. Trump advisers, who have sought to run a more disciplined campaign compared with Trump’s previous ones, view those reports as unhelpful for the general election.
Trump, however, has at times undercut that message, including on Tuesday during a town hall with Fox News’s Sean Hannity. When asked whether he “would never abuse power as retribution against anybody,” Trump said, “Except for Day 1,” and proceeded to talk about drilling for oil and closing the border.
A coalition of right-wing groups known as Project 2025 has been preparing for an incoming Republican administration. But in light of reports about Trump’s potential second-term policies, including on immigration and personnel, Wiles reached out to the project’s director, Paul Dans of the Heritage Foundation, to tell him the reports were not helpful, The Post previously reported.
While Trump’s team has sought to push back against historians who have raised alarms about the rhetoric and emerging plans Trump and his allies have articulated — as President Biden’s campaign and some lawmakers are also issuing warnings against a second Trump term — some former administration officials are muddying that message.
In an interview this week on Stephen K. Bannon’s podcast, former White House official Kash Patel suggested that a second Trump administration would go after reporters.
“Yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections — we’re going to come after you,” Patel said. “Whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out.”
Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.