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JD Vance, Marco Rubio say Donald Trump isn't beholden to sweeping conservative plan known as Project 2025

WASHINGTON − Sens. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Sunday they haven't been asked to be former President Donald Trump's 2024 running mate, but both tried to defend the former president against Democratic allegations about a far-reaching effort know as "Project 2025."

Vance and Rubio said Trump is not beholden to the agenda of Project 2025, a program created by the conservative Heritage Foundation that calls for slashing social programs and making the government more partisan.

ճ2025 Presidential Transition Project, as it is otherwise known, attacks several policies that former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden instituted, including student loan forgivenessԻObamacare. It simultaneously calls for expanded executive power for the commander-in-chief while criticizing what Project 2025 members perceive as overreaches by the Biden administration.

The 2025 project also urges the Food and Drug Administration to reverse the approval of abortion pills and would further empower Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport undocumented immigrants.

Both Vance and Rubio echoed Trump's claim that Project 2025 and its agenda do not speak for him. Trump said in a post on Truth Social last week that "I have nothing to do with them.”

"Think tanks do think tank stuff," Rubio said on CNN's "State of the Union." They come up with ideas, they say things. But our candidate for president is Donald Trump.”

The senators, who are both contenders to serve as Trump's running mate or in his cabinet if he's elected to a second term, said Biden and the Democrats are making an issue of Project 2025 in order to draw attention from the president's rocky debate performance and subsequent calls for him to exit the race.

In a statement over the weekend, Biden said Project 2025's plans "would give Trump limitless power over our daily lives and let him use the presidency to enact ‘revenge’ on his enemies, ban abortion nationwide and punish women who have an abortion, and gut the checks and balances that make America the greatest democracy in the world."

Vance on Sunday also declined to discuss an implied threat by Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts, who last week said, "we are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be."

Vance told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "political violence is never justified," and "you'll have to ask the president of the Heritage Foundation to defend his remarks if you'd like to do that. I will say, look, the Heritage Foundation does a lot of good work."

Vance and Rubio are among several finalists for Trump's running mate slot. The former president is also considering North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and he will make an announcement before or during next week's Republican convention.

"Donald Trump has a decision to make; he will make it when he needs to make it," Rubio said on CNN of Trump's VP selection process.

Vance told NBC: "I have not gotten the call ... but we'll let the media know if I ever get that call."

Contributing: Rachel Barber, 鶹ý Network

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