Post-DeMint Heritage 'Donald Trump's favorite think tank' says interim president

Post-DeMint Heritage 'Donald Trump's favorite think tank' says interim president

Despite the recent ouster of its president, the Heritage Foundation’s interim leadership insists the conservative think tank will continue to be a power player in Washington as well as President “Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE's favorite think tank."

Interim Heritage President Ed Feulner made the comments at an internal meeting this week.

Feulner’s spoke to about 300 Heritage staffers at a time when questions are swirling about the future of the nonprofit and the resignation of Heritage president and former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint. 

On Tuesday, the same day DeMint resigned amid a flurry of rumors, Feulner reportedly told staff that Heritage would remain "the leading ideas factory in Washington," according to a Thursday Washington Examiner report.

"We were Ronald Reagan's favorite think tank," said Feulner, who was also the president from 1977 to 2013. “And today we are, and will continue to be, Donald Trump's favorite think tank." 

Feulner appeared to address concerns that Heritage might take a step back from politics now that DeMint is out of leadership, saying Heritage will continue to work with Trump “to make things better" and occasionally "point out to him maybe little errors in some of his policies.” 

He also emphasized that he will be working closely with Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham, who leads the organization’s lobbying branch. Needham will remain "at my side reminding [Ryan] that we are who we are and what it is that we stand for,” Feulner reportedly said.

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The Heritage Foundation promised early in Trump’s campaign that it would work with him, even while other conservative groups remained quiet. Several former staffers for the think tank have gone to work for the administration. Feulner served on Trump’s White House transition team.

Many expressed surprise when DeMint, a former South Carolina senator, was ousted after developing a close relationship with the president and the White House. 

Since DeMint's exit, Feulner indicated he has been shoring up relationships with the House GOP. He reportedly said he had "a very good conversation" with House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage How does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act MORE (R-Wis.) early in the week and claimed the Speaker reaffirmed his commitment to jointly working on conservative policy, according to the Examiner. The two men reportedly discussed healthcare policy ahead of the House’s successful vote on Thursday to replace ObamaCare.

"So I think you could say it was a pretty friendly meeting with Paul Ryan last night," Feulner said. “He reminded me of where we were and how far we've come with him and how we can work closely together."

"He wants to work with us. He wants to hear what we have to say and I think we can have a very good and positive relationship," Feulner continued, accordingly the recording obtained by the Examiner.