Sebastian Gorka said the simple version of the reason he resigned is that “people like myself, people like Steve Bannon, came into the building because of a very clear agenda, which was the MAGA agenda,
Make America Great Again — and, in the last 7 months, we’ve seen people who really had nothing to do with MAGA, who weren’t affiliated with the campaign, rise in influence inside the building.”
“The issues that I was brought in to deal with — national security, counterterrorism specifically — weren’t heading in the right direction,” he lamented.
Mr. Gorka said the last straw was “the speech written for the president on Afghanistan last week when I realized the best I can do to support the president is from the outside.”
“When you have one of the most important national security speeches in his early tenure not mention the key phrase ‘radical Islam’ or ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ then we have to take the game to the outside. So we’re starting MAGA Phase Two, and people like Steve and myself have a whole slew of tools — I was going to say ‘weapons,’ but let’s say tools, that’s a ‘basket full of tools’ for our fellow deplorables — that we can use on the outside to support the president and keep the MAGA train running on its rails,” Gorka said, riffing on Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” comment from the 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr. Gorka explained why he thought he could be more effective on President Trump’s behalf outside the White House.
“Let me give you an example: I came in to do national security work for Steve, a chief strategist, as a deputy to the president, but after the first executive order on the moratorium for travel into the United States, I was thrown into representing the White House in the media,” he recalled. “Every time I went on media, somebody else had to approve it. Somebody else had to write my talking points. Somebody else kept that relationship with the individual who was booking me to themselves.”
“We have a great team inside the White House, but I can do whatever I like,” he said happily. “I think I broke a personal record on Monday. I think I did about 30 media hits. That’s how you make the MAGA agenda happen: get the message out there, reassure the base, and make sure that the Swamp does not control the narrative. Just media alone, it’s incredibly liberating not to be a government employee.”
Mr. Gorka hoped President Trump would feel liberated in the same way and follow his instincts as a communicator.
“I completely subscribe to the philosophy: Let Donald Trump be Donald Trump,” Gorka declared. “Look, he reached out to me the day after I resigned, and his message to me was very simple: ‘Thank you for your support. I’m going to stay on the agenda. Can you help me from the outside as you did on the inside?’ My message back was, ‘Absolutely. That’s why I did what I did, so I can be more effective.’”
He offered another example of the White House communications environment: “Do you remember the Jim Acosta/Steven Miller moment?
For me, that was MAGA because you had somebody who loved America, knew what he was talking about 101% — it’s like going to a gunfight with a knife, going up against Steven Miller on immigration, you just don’t do it, right? And in that three-minute interchange, you saw why the president won. You saw this elitist bubble attitude: ‘Well, only Australians and English people speak English, so what are you saying to all the other immigrants?’ I mean, it was the Swamp incarnate.”
Mr. Gorka recalled White House staffers cheering as they watched the exchange, but later there were “voices afterward for days inside the building saying ‘how embarrassing, what did he do with Jim Acosta?’”
“No, that’s how you treat people who think that the press briefing in the White House is a CNN event,” he declared. “No, Jim Acosta, it’s not the Jim Acosta briefing. It is the presidential press spokesman’s briefing. That’s what we have to get out of the building, this idea that we are here to please the elite.”
“Donald J. Trump was the consummate insurgent outsider. He was as much an anti-right wing establishment candidate as he was an anti-Democrat. That’s what we have to reinforce, and that’s what the GOP has to understand. I’m going to be doing everything in my power to make sure that the establishment doesn’t win,” he promised.
Mr. Gorka modulated his criticism of establishment voices in the White House by saying he doesn’t want to “create more palace intrigue.”
“I was at the brunt of enough of that,” he noted ruefully.
“There are some amazing people there,” he added. “Kellyanne: hero. Sarah Huckabee Sanders: what she has done to the media to put them in their place is superb. She’s a happy warrior. But there definitely are these two different worldviews, that we are there to please the Fake News-industrial complex, and people like myself, people like Steven Miller, like Sarah, like Kellyanne, who say no. They are morally bankrupt — not just financially bankrupt — and we are not here to please them.”
Paul Ebeling, Editor
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