Claremont Institute

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Claremont Institute
Formation1979; 44 years ago (1979)
Legal status501(c)(3)
Purposepolicy advocacy
Professional title
Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
Ryan P. Williams[1]
Thomas D. Klingenstein[1]
Key people
Revenue: $9,466,224
Expenses: $8,071,035
(FYE June 2021)[2] Edit this at Wikidata

The Claremont Institute is a conservative think tank based in Upland, California. The institute was founded in 1979 by four students of Harry V. Jaffa.[3] It produces the Claremont Review of Books, The American Mind, and other publications.

The institute was an early defender of Donald Trump.[3] After Joe Biden won the 2020 election and Trump refused to concede while making claims of fraud, Claremont Institute senior fellow John Eastman aided Trump in his failed attempts to overturn the election results.[4][5]


The institute was founded in 1979 by four students of Straussian political theorist Harry V. Jaffa, a professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and the Claremont Graduate University, although the institute has no affiliation with any of the Claremont Colleges.[3] Under Jaffa and Larry P. Arnn, the institute became a leading Straussian-influenced conservative think tank, publishing on topics such as statesmanship, Lincoln scholarship and modern conservative issues.[6][non-primary source needed]

Arnn served as its president from 1985 until 2000, when he became the twelfth president of Hillsdale College.[citation needed] Michael Pack was president from 2015 to 2017.[7] Ryan P. Williams was named president in 2017.[citation needed]

The Claremont Institute publishes The Claremont Review of Books,[8] The American Mind,[9] The American Story Podcast[10] and Claremont Books.[11] The Washington, D.C., branch of the Claremont Institute, called the Center for the American Way of Life, opened in February 2021.[12]

The Claremont Institute provides fellowships.[13] Fellowships in the past have gone to prominent figures on the right such as Laura Ingraham, Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin, Mary Kissel, and Charles C. Johnson.[14][15][16][17] The institute caused controversy by granting a fellowship in 2019 to the Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec.[18][19][20] National Review columnist Mona Charen wrote that "Claremont stands out for beclowning itself with this embrace of the smarmy underside of American politics."[18] In 2020, Mark Joseph Stern of Slate magazine called the institute "a racist fever swamp with deep connections to the conspiratorial alt-right", citing Posobiec's fellowship and the publication of a 2020 essay by senior fellow John Eastman that questioned Kamala Harris' eligibility for the vice presidency.[21][22] In 2022, the American Mind published an editorial by Raw Egg Nationalist,[23] an author affiliated with neo-Nazi publishing house Antelope Hill.[24][25]

Trump advocacy and connections[edit]

The institute was an early defender of Donald Trump.[3] The Daily Beast stated Claremont "arguably has done more than any other group to build a philosophical case for Trump’s brand of conservatism."[26]

In September 2016 the institute's Claremont Review of Books published Michael Anton's "The Flight 93 Election" editorial. The editorial, written under a pseudonym, compared the prospect of conservatives letting Trump lose to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election with passengers not charging the cockpit of the United Airlines aircraft hijacked by Al-Qaeda.[27][28] The article went viral and received widespread coverage across the political spectrum. Rush Limbaugh devoted a day of his radio series to reading the entire essay.[29] Anton would go on to serve under President Trump as spokesman for the National Security Council, holding the position from 2017 to 2018.[28]

The institute became a significant player in the Trump administration, adding a Washington office and contributing ideas and personnel to the administration.[30] In 2019, Trump awarded the Claremont Institute with a National Humanities Medal.[31][32] In June 2020, former Claremont Institute president Michael Pack became head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) under Trump.[33]

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the institute received between $350,000 and $1 million in federally backed small business loans from Chain Bridge Bank as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. The institute stated this would allow it to retain 29 jobs.[26][34]

According to a November 4, 2021 Vice article,[35] the actions of pro-Trump Claremont Institute leaders—senior fellows John Eastman, Brian Kennedy, Angelo Codevilla, and Michael Anton, as well as Ryan P. Williams (the institute's president), and Thomas D. Klingenstein[36][37] (chairman of the board)—culminated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Williams has stated that the institute's mission "is to save western civilization." Vice asserts that Codevilla, who frequently denounced the "ruling class," coined the term "cold civil war" in 2017. On January 5, using the hashtag #HoldTheLine, Claremont president emeritus Brian Kennedy tweeted from Capitol Hill: "We are in a constitutional crisis and also in a revolutionary moment...We must embrace the spirit of the American Revolution to stop this communist revolution."[38] In early January 2021, along with Trump and other advisors, Eastman unsuccessfully attempted to persuade then-vice president Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. He then spoke at Trump's rally on January 6, 2021, before the attack on the Capitol.[5][39][40] The details of Eastman's attempt, described in a book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, made national headlines in September 2021.[39][40]

Shortly afterward, the American Political Science Association canceled panels involving Eastman and Claremont at its 2021 conference.[39] In April 2022 Thomas B. Edsall of the New York Times wrote in a guest essay that the Claremont Institute, as well as the institute's magazine American Mind and other publications, comprised the "substantial intellectual infrastructure that has buoyed the Trumpist right and its willingness to rupture moral codes and to discard traditional norms."[41] An anonymous former fellow said Eastman's ideas are based on the doctrine of natural rights, which has been a key element of the institute's politics for many years. He said "That’s how Claremont goes from this quirky intellectual outfit to one of the main intellectual architects of trying to overthrow the republic."[30] Senior fellow Charles Kesler, who believes Eastman's advice was wrong, said the institute is split between "some who continue to believe that the election was stolen and some who have denied that from the beginning."[30]

Biden years[edit]

In 2021, Claremont senior fellow Glenn Ellmers wrote a controversial essay in Claremont's The American Mind arguing that the United States had been destroyed by internal enemies and that a "counter-revolution" was necessary to defeat the majority of the people who "can no longer be considered fellow citizens”. According to Ellmers, "Most people living in the United States today—certainly more than half—are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term."[42]

Williams, the institute's president, said its mission is to "save Western civilization", particularly from the threat he said is posed by the progressive movement.[43]


The Claremont Institute publishes the Claremont Review of Books. The CRB is edited by Charles R. Kesler and features regular columns by Martha Bayles, Mark Helprin, Michael Anton and Spencer Klavan. The institute also publishes The American Mind. Claremont Vice President of Education Matt Peterson serves as editor; and James Poulos is executive editor. The publication has featured essays by Newt Gingrich, Sen. Todd Young, Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Jim Banks, and Sen. Tom Cotton.[44][45][46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Board of Directors". The Claremont Institute. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Claremont Institute" (PDF). Foundation Center. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Johnson, Eliana (August 23, 2018). "Trump speechwriter's ouster sparks racially charged debate". Politico. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  4. ^ Jamie Gangel and Jeremy Herb (September 20, 2021). "Memo shows Trump lawyer's six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election". CNN. Archived from the original on 2021-09-20. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  5. ^ a b Bump, Philip (September 21, 2021). "By memo or by mob, Trump and his team positioned the country for chaos". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ "The Claremont Institute". The National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  7. ^ "Michael Pack". USAGM. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  8. ^ "About us". Claremont Review of Books. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  9. ^ "About". The American Mind. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  10. ^ "About Us". The American Story. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  11. ^ "Claremont Books". Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  12. ^ "About". The American Way of Life. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  13. ^ "Fellowships | The Claremont Institute". Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  14. ^ "Publius Alumni". Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  15. ^ Fisher, Mark (2022-07-30). "The Claremont Institute triumphed in the Trump years. Then came Jan. 6". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  16. ^ "Lincoln Fellowship Alumni". Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  17. ^ Ball, Molly (2014-09-17). "The Making of a Conservative Superstar". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  18. ^ a b Charen, Mona (12 July 2019). "Claremont's New Class of Fellows Would Make Its Founders Weep". National Review Online. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  19. ^ Stuart, Gwynedd (2020-09-10). "Donald Trump's Politics of White Fear Have Roots in Southern California". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  20. ^ "Qwazy for QAnon". The Bulwark. 2020-08-13. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  21. ^ Eastman, John C. (2020-08-12). "Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility". Newsweek. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  22. ^ Stern, Mark Joseph (2020-08-14). "The White Supremacist 'Scholars' Pushing the Kamala Harris Birther Lie". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  23. ^ Nationalist, Raw Egg (2022-03-01). "The Decline is Real". The American Mind. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  24. ^ Field, Laura (2022-04-22). "The Decay at the Claremont Institute Continues". The Bulwark. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  25. ^ Gais, Hannah; Squire, Megan; Wilson, Jason; Hayden, Michael Edison (2022-06-13). "White Nationalist Book Publishers Revealed". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  26. ^ a b "Trump's Small Biz Rescue Bailed Out Kushner's Family, Obama's Aides and Other Political Elite". The Daily Beast. 6 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  27. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2017-02-20). "'Charge the Cockpit or You Die': Behind an Incendiary Case for Trump (Published 2017)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  28. ^ a b "Trump's national security spokesman Michael Anton is resigning". CNBC. 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  29. ^ "Review of After the Flight 93 Election by Michael Anton". RealClearBooks. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  30. ^ a b c Fisher, Marc; Stanley-Becker, Isaac (July 24, 2022). "The Claremont Institute triumphed in the Trump years. Then came Jan. 6". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  31. ^ "The Claremont Institute". National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  32. ^ "White House announces first National Medal of Arts recipients of Trump administration: Jon Voight, more". USA Today. November 18, 2019. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  33. ^ Ellison, Sarah (June 19, 2020). "How Trump's obsessions with media and loyalty coalesced in a battle for Voice of America". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  34. ^ Syed, Moiz; Willis, Derek. "Claremont Institute For The Study Of Statesmanship & Political Philosophy". ProPublica. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  35. ^ Joseph, Cameron (November 4, 2021). "Meet the Obscure Think Tank Powering Trump's Biggest Lies". Vice. Washington. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  36. ^ Klingenstein, Tom. "Winning the Cold Civil War" (PDF).
  37. ^ Tom Klingenstein (Director) (2021-11-29). Defending The American Way Of Life During A Cold Civil War. Event occurs at 4:28. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  38. ^ Joseph, Cameron (November 4, 2021). "Meet the Obscure Think Tank Powering Trump's Biggest Lies". Vice. Washington. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  39. ^ a b c Hedgepeth, Lee (2021-09-27). "Conservative group calls decision to not host Trump lawyer at conference 'gutless,' others say it's not enough". Nextstar Media. Archived from the original on 2021-09-29. Retrieved 2021-10-02.
  40. ^ a b Jenkins, Cameron (2021-09-21). "Trump lawyer offered six-point plan for Pence to overturn election: book". TheHill. Retrieved 2021-10-02.
  41. ^ Edsall, Thomas (April 20, 2022). "With or Without Trump, the MAGA Movement Is the Future of the Republican Party". New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  42. ^ Beauchamp, Zack (2021-04-01). "The conservative movement is rejecting America". Vox. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  43. ^ Green, Emma (2021-10-01). "The Conservatives Dreading – And Preparing for – Civil War". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  44. ^ "The Soros Cover-Up". The American Mind. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  45. ^ "American Industrial Policy and the Rise of China". The American Mind. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  46. ^ "A GOP That Works". The American Mind. Retrieved 2021-06-29.

External links[edit]