Trump’s favorite extreme think tank, the Claremont Institute, is jumping ship for DeSantis

By | March 29, 2023

Vice News reports:

“They’re quite a few [at the Claremont Institute] who personally prefer DeSantis as the next candidate. And I would count myself among that group,” Claremont Institute Senior Fellow Charles Kesler told VICE News.

Kesler, who is one of the trustees DeSantis appointed to execute his hostile takeover of the public liberal arts school New College, said that DeSantis’ competence as a chief executive is “very impressive”—as is his ideological approach.

“On a whole range of issues where wokeness is a threat he has risen to the occasion—rhetorically, but he’s also trying to do something about it legislatively. That combination is quite rare,” Kesler continued. “I would expect DeSantis to be a much better, more realistic and more efficient chief executive than the former president.”

The Claremont Institute is no run-of-the-mill conservative think tank, however.

The organization took a hard right turn during the Trump years, and played a crucial role in his efforts to stay in power after he lost. And their rhetoric has grown even more incendiary since he left office.

Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams has declared the institute’s mission is “to save Western civilization,” and has suggested “the Constitution is really only fit for a Christian people.”

The head of the Claremont Institute’s new Florida office, Scott Yenor, said career-focused women are “more medicated, meddlesome and quarrelsome than women need to be.”

His boss Arthur Milikh, who heads the Claremont Institute’s Washington, D.C office, told Tucker Carlson that women’s strength lay in “the power of sexuality” and argued progressives are pushing for an “androgynous” and “re-feminized world” that destroys society.

They and other Claremont-affiliated scholars and activists have been closely tied to DeSantis’ project to purge Florida’s education system of anything they deem “woke.”

“Protecting and restoring the American way of life is the most important work Governors and state legislators can do right now,” Williams said while announcing Claremont was opening its first state-level outpost in the think tank’s four-decade history. “Governor DeSantis has shown fearless intellectual and political leadership in the fight against woke leftism. We are thrilled to help him and his legislative allies continue this important work.”

As DeSantis expands his small inner circle and prepares for a likely bid for the presidency, the views of Claremont-affiliated conservatives may soon matter more and more to the rest of the country. [Continue reading…]