by WorldTribune Staff, April 30, 2017
Key Washington Republicans, in what sources are calling a “purge,” are set to oust the current president of the Heritage Foundation and the staffers he brought with him from the U.S. Senate, a report said.
Former Sen. Jim DeMint will be ousted from the Heritage top spot after a dispute with board members who said he brought in too many Senate allies and made the conservative think tank too political, Politico reported on April 28.
“If Heritage pushes Jim DeMint out, it was because a few board members, who are close to the Republican establishment, never wanted him to be president and have been working to push him out ever since,” a GOP operative who has worked with Heritage said.
“DeMint is one of the most respected and selfless conservative leaders in the country and pushing him out would be a big mistake.”
Heritage has closely aligned with President Donald Trump during Demint’s tenure.
Last July, DeMint told Trump transition officials that, if Trump won, he wanted to have a close working relationship with the administration, the report said.
A Heritage board member who requested anonymity told Politico that DeMint “has been a congressman and senator. They are solo performers. When you are in the Senate, life is all about the senators. CEO skills are different than senator skills. I think it boils down to attributes. I don’t think it is particularly personal.”
DeMint has been in contract negotiations, which are expected to be cut short, sources told Politico. His contract is up at the end of 2017, according to one board member.
“There’s massive turmoil over there right now,” the GOP operative said of DeMint’s removal, adding that more changes are expected to follow.
According to the Politico report: “The tension came to a head at the organization’s annual leadership meeting last weekend in San Diego, where the frustration of donors and board members with DeMint’s hardline posture reached a boiling point. The organization’s approach to Obamacare repeal was a particular point of contention. Though Heritage Action opposed the initial version of the bill, the group has said it is neutral on the current iteration, while DeMint and his allies continued to push for a full repeal.”
Trump praised DeMint by name during a speech to NRA members on April 28, calling DeMint “amazing” and “a real friend.”
Former Heritage president Ed Feulner is expected to take over as interim president, according to one House Freedom Caucus member.