UNITED STATES - JANUARY 12: Former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., president of the Heritage Foundation, delivers opening remarks during the Heritage Action for America's second annual Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Coup at Heritage Foundation: Freedom Caucus-aligned DeMint to be ousted by establishment

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Former Senator Jim DeMint is set to be imminently ousted from his position as President of the Heritage Foundation according to a new report by Politico.

Heritage board members aligned with the Republican establishment are set to announce they will not renew DeMint’s contract, which ends later this year, within the coming days.

During the Bush administration, the Heritage Foundation was broadly supportive of the Republican establishment, providing strong support for Bush’s foreign and domestic policies. DeMint resigned his Senate seat in 2013 in order to take his current position at the Heritage Foundation, and has since radically shifted the organization to the right.

DeMint is typically regarded as sympathetic to the grassroots, conservative wing of the Republican Party, playing an important role during the heyday of the Tea Party by promoting conservative candidates for U.S. Senate such as Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz through his Senate Conservatives Fund, which controversially advocated primary challengers to moderate Republican Senators. During his time in Congress, he was heavily influenced by libertarian icon Ron Paul, particularly on the issue of the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies.

Upon joining Heritage, DeMint closely allied the organization with the Freedom Caucus, a strategy which it has stuck by after the election of Donald Trump. Heritage notably opposed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the cornerstone of the Republican establishment’s approach to repealing Obamacare, which resulted in the organization being blasted by Trump on Twitter for supposedly having “saved Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.”

DeMint’s Heritage previously acted as a policy shop for the Trump campaign and transition, at the behest of Trump mega donor and Heritage board member Rebekah Mercer. However, the think tank grew disgruntled after President Trump reneged on several core campaign promises. Nevertheless, the organization has scored some victories, including the appointment of committed constitutionalist Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States and cuts to wasteful spending in the administration’s “skinny budget”.

Trump himself also maintains a good personal relationship with DeMint, stating at the National Rifle Association’s convention on Friday that he believed DeMint “has been amazing” in presiding over the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint is expected to be replaced by Ed Feulner, Heritage’s founder. Feulner is seen as far less hostile to the Washington establishment than DeMint. Establishment figures on Heritage’s board include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s William Walton and Jerry Hume, a Republican donor and a major proponent of No Child Left Behind, a Bush administration policy unpopular with many small-government conservatives. 

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