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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

I’m Mad as Hell, Mr. President

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Warning: Scenes of Donald Trump taking a swamp walk before taking his oath of office are in this report by Times reporter Jo Becker.

“We were so impressed by the Republicans with a Trump plan, they actually drafted it,” said Mike Turzai, one of the officials who supported Mr. Trump. “The president was so involved in the drafting of it, but he dropped out because he had to get out and start his job and in that sense he had no control over it.”

But Mr. Trump wanted to take control, and that meant the plan he ultimately proposed was watered down, after giving it to administration officials.

Before he pushed the plan, Mr. Trump talked it up to about half a dozen advisers in his summer White House office, including Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, and Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman of his inaugural committee.

“I don’t know how to describe this, but I’m blown away,” Mr. Trump said in July, according to a person who heard Mr. Trump’s remarks. He told the advisers, “I want every step, every detail in the plan for something that I’m sure is going to make people very happy.”

According to the report, Mr. Trump’s plan was a compromise that would keep the Republican congressional majority in place in Washington. It would have boosted the salaries of federal employees, which Mr. Trump believes is an insult to the hardworking people who work for the government. At the same time, he would have overseen the creation of a new Cabinet department called the Department of Defense for special forces, the construction of a museum in honor of “the forgotten men and women of America,” a “command and control center” to track all U.S. spending and, ultimately, an overhaul of the way things work.

Mr. Trump said in July he wanted to call the reorganization the Trump Department of Defense.

According to some of the plan’s key elements, published here for the first time:

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