Former Deputy Adviser to the president Dr. Sebastian Gorka looked at the battle between the Trump White House and the media, holdovers from the Obama administration, and the entrenched bureaucracy on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily.
SiriusXM host Alex Marlow elicited a groan from Gorka by running through some examples of the “Fake News-industrial complex” and mentioning Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, who seems to enjoy much more contact with President Trump than friendlier media outlets.
“Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, people who have actually called themselves ‘hacks’ in internal emails to Podesta. That’s all you need to know,” Gorka said, referring to emails exposed by WikiLeaks. Marlow said this reinforced his point that too many people inside the White House seem invested in a losing battle to win the approval of hostile media.
“Can we go beyond media, and go to really the massive big picture?” Gorka asked. “Because people have to understand what happened in the last eight months. Our listeners understand this, but I’m reiterating it to reassure everybody that we are in this for the long game. We’re talking about eight years, not eight months — this is about the long game. This is bureaucratic warfare. This is indirect warfare. This is political warfare.”
“The fact is, on November the 8th, what happened? It’s like, it’s literally Red Dawn. It’s a scrappy bunch of insurgents, the wolverines won against the establishment,” he said. “The GOP thought that President Trump was their candidate. No, only formally, only on paper. He had nothing to do with the Swamp. He won because he was the antithesis of the Swamp. So a small band of scrappy men and women won the election as an insurgency.”
“Then what happens a few months later on January the 20th? It’s a hostile takeover. The federal government is millions of employees. You add the armed forces, literally, it is millions of employees. In come a few people who believe in the agenda, who fought for the agenda, who put their careers on the line for the agenda. And then what happens? We have to take over government. And then suddenly we see the sea pitch of individuals into the building,” he said.
“Tucker Carlson nailed it. I don’t think Tucker Carlson is a huge fan of Breitbart or Steve Bannon, but when he did his segment after Steve left, he said, ‘Whatever you think about Steve Bannon, he would not have been at home in a Hillary Clinton White House.’ The fact is, we had people fill the building who not only would have been at home in a Hillary Clinton White House, who actually, some of them — you know who I’m talking about — would have had Cabinet positions in a Hillary Clinton White House,” Gorka told Marlow.
Gorka said excessive concern about Clinton-friendly staff in the Trump administration was unwarranted, however.
“I have never met anybody who has the accuracy of instinct that Donald J. Trump has. He has a preternatural — he’s a supernatural instinct to act. You take him a pallet of decisions, he may not have read the Peloponnesian Wars or the latest article by a peer-reviewed journal, but he’ll look at those options, he’ll choose one of them, and you know what? 98 percent of the time, it’s the right option. He’s just an instinctual actor,” said Gorka.
“I know right now that that instinct is going to serve him very well in the coming months, and he’s going to realize who around him are not serving him with the best advice,” he anticipated.
“I’m not saying Steve or myself are going back in the building, but I assure you, the people you are most worried about, the MAGA crowd are most worried about, will be leaving the White House sooner or later, and other individuals associated with the original platform will be coming back,” he added.
“Look at Dave Bossie. Look at Corey Lewandowski. They were around the West Wing all the time. Did they work for the U.S. government? No. Were they there to drink cappuccinos in the Eisenhower cafeteria? No. They were in the Oval Office. So the president reaches out and he’s loyal,” Gorka declared.
A caller asked Gorka for an up-to-date definition of the “right wing,” which has become heavily factionalized.
“I don’t think there’s a neat, discretely-defined entity out there that it is,” he replied. “It’s the people. It’s the blue-collar workers of the Steel Valley who voted for a billionaire from New York. That’s who it is. It’s the people who are not ashamed of America, but the people who believe in America. It’s the people who think, ‘Why should jobs go to China? Is that what globalization means for me and my family?’”
“I hate it, I absolutely detest it, when people force us into using lazy labels — neoliberals, neocon, the Manhattan set, the whatever. No, it’s Americans who believe in America,” he contended. “If you’re part of that description, that’s who we’re talking about.”
Gorka said a great deal has happened in the few days since he left the White House, prompting him to keep a heavy schedule of media appearances as a commentator.
“The media environment is going to change in the very near future,” he predicted. “I know Steve is plotting, I know Steve is talking to a lot of people. The PAC world is abuzz, so you will see some interesting things happen in the PACs.”
“We had eight months of kind of somnambulance, a kind of lurching to the snooze button in the PAC world. It was very disconcerting on the inside to see a lot of talk and not a lot happening to support the agenda from the outside,” he elaborated. “I think that’s going to change very rapidly. One of the key catalysts of that is tax reform. A lot of people are worried.”
Marlow commended President Trump for doing a good job of presenting tax reform to the public on Wednesday.
“The president did absolutely what had to be done,” Gorka agreed. “But if you look at what the Hill’s done, I wouldn’t label it as the Manhattan set or the Goldman Sachs set — it’s unworkable is what it is. It’s like the solution to Obamacare: it’s not a solution. It’s as bad as what we already have. It’s just unworkable, it’s overcomplicated. Talk to Stephen Moore, talk to Larry Kudlow. In fact, if you look at the deductions, if you look at the way it’s currently worded with regards to real estate factoring into your tax deductions, it’s a disaster for small businesses.”
“We need to continue unleashing the economy, and part of that isn’t the massive corporations. The key to that are the small to medium-sized businesses,” he urged, anticipating movement toward “reforming the tax reform package to be sensible and to serve those it should serve the most, which is small to medium-sized businesses and individual U.S. taxpayers.”
A caller from Canada expressed dismay at how many believers in the MAGA agenda hired by President Trump have been fired by subordinates like National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and said he fears the “Deep State” remains powerful enough to block the president.
“I don’t like the phrase ‘Deep State’ because I don’t like conspiracy theories,” Gorka said in response. “I have a whole bookshelf of them at home, but I use them as entertainment. I prefer the phrase ‘Permanent State.’”
“I’ll give you an example of my experience, two things I learned in the last eight months,” he offered. “I thought I was adequately cynical about the media in America. I had no idea. The fact that the mainstream media would not only lie about me and my colleagues, but would come after my dead mother, my wife, and my teenage son was when the scales fell off my eyes. There is no moral compass. There are people, many thousands of people in this country who call themselves journalists, who have no moral compass. That’s Number One.”
“Secondly, with regard to the obstacles inside the administration, I wasn’t a member of the NSC. I worked for Steve. But I was invited to key meetings of the NSC, especially on Iraq, Syria, the Qatar crisis, etc. To sit in a Situation Room with all the out stations from the government – DIA, CIA, State, the Pentagon, embassies, and et cetera — on a key issue of import to the president for 90 minutes and repeatedly not hear anyone mention who the president is, and what he wants, and what he said yesterday in Warsaw, or Riyadh, or Houston, or wherever, was shocking to me,” he recalled.
Gorka said it fell to him as a political appointee to speak up in those meetings and ask, “Hey, guys, do you remember why we have this meeting, and what the president said about Qatar yesterday?”
“That told me that we have thousands of people who pick up a government paycheck funded by you, funded by me, who think they know better than the person who was chosen to lead the country. That’s the Permanent State for me, and that’s what we’ve got to fight back,” he said.
Gorka and Marlow shared a laugh at Politico suggesting “Obama holdovers” in the Trump administration should be christened “patriots” instead.
“Yes, if your definition of ‘patriot’ means somebody who doesn’t want to obey the Commander-in-Chief and leaks daily to the press,” Gorka said sarcastically. “That’s Newspeak. That’s George Orwell.”
Gorka said Obama holdovers remain a “massive problem, a huge problem.”
“There was an Obama holdover who, to a senior director of the NSC in the first three months — before even H.R. came on — called me and another individual ‘the ideologues that are the problem inside the building’ to his boss,” he said. “Think about that for a second. A civil servant from another agency who feels confident enough to tell his politically appointed superior about somebody who’s a deputy assistant, and feels he will have no consequences to that action. It’s really shocking.”
“To the point you’ve raised: there is a concerted effort, and that’s why it’s so great to be on the outside, to push back,” he told Marlow. “Just follow Ben Rhodes’ Twitter feed. Follow Colin Kahl. These are the guys who tweet in the morning, that meme, that theme will be spun out in 20 articles in the next 12 hours on Politico, on Buzzfeed, on HuffPo. They are here to — as former Obama officials from the outside — to undermine this administration with their buddies still in the building.”