“The most powerful thing is … people who have actually lived under these systems and escaped,” Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide turned radio host tells The Daily Signal, saying we need to share these stories.
“People who’ve swam across shark-invested waters from Cuba, people who’ve, like the blind pro-life lawyer from China, escaped house arrest,” he adds. Read the full interview, which also includes his thoughts on the media’s handling of the Mueller report and immigration, posted below, or listen on the podcast.
Rob Bluey: You have been quite busy on a daily basis with your new radio program. It’s great to be a guest on the program, thanks for having me and others from The Heritage Foundation and Daily Signal on. Tell us what it’s been like to be in the media world and how people can listen.
Sebastian Gorka: Yeah, it’s funny, I went back to the White House this week to meet the president and I had to use the media entrance. I used to work for the president, it’s so weird.
People don’t realize there’s a whole separate entrance to the White House for journalists. I guess I’m not a journalist but I’m in the media world.
But I’ve always loved talk radio. From a child growing up in the U.K., I used to listen until the wee hours of the night to talk radio. I think talk radio belongs to conservatives now after the last 20, 30 years of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, my colleagues at Salem, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Larry Elder.
It’s an incredible place to be at right now and to be given three hours a day on the Salem channels, it’s called “America First,” 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the East Coast. You can listen to it at sebgorka.com. It’s on iTunes, look for “America First.”
But look, I had cigars with Dennis Prager a week ago, he said, “You know what our job is, Seb, our job, we get paid to tell people what we think three hours a day.” And it’s fun, a lot of fun.
Bluey: It is great. Thank you for doing it. Because as you noted, talk radio is really so important in terms of getting the message out there. I know you have been focused on that, it’s obviously something that we do at The Daily Signal.
What would say in terms of where we are in today’s world with the media?
Post-Mueller report, kind of in this period where Democrats seem to be talking about impeachment, you have a whole host of ideas coming out from the 20 candidates who are running for president.
How do you feel the media is treating President Trump today?
Gorka: Let’s look at the media types of platforms for a second … I didn’t know this until I worked in the White House. Because we’d be booked as presidential surrogates based upon audience size.
I’d go into the booker’s room and you’d see all the big shows, Sean, Tucker, how big their audience is and that’s how they prioritize it. Sean and Tucker have the most popular TV shows in America.
If you look at their news shows, they’re between 4 and 5 million a night. CNN is 600,000 and we just add that, Anderson Cooper always hates when I say that. But even the champions like Sean and Tucker, 5, 6 million, Rush Limbaugh has 24 million.
So if you underestimate the role and people look at the glitz of TV but radio and podcasts, you have your great podcasts, they are just as powerful, if not more powerful than the visual media.
Now with regards to what happened with the Mueller report. I was literally upstairs when you called writing an opinion piece for American Greatness.
And it starts with this question, I feel like we live in a surreal world. It’s like living in a Tim Burton movie sometimes. Where you see Rachel Maddow, who has an evening show, that until the Mueller report was relatively popular.
This woman is tearing up on live camera, she’s about to cry because her president is not a Russian traitor. And how did we get to this place where people are hoping for the worst-case scenario?
How has he been treated? I asked the president this week, “Did decades of being in the media spotlight in New York as billionaire, as real estate developer prepare you for your life in the White House?”
He said, nothing, nothing could prepare him and his family for the way he’s been treated.
Look at what’s happened to him. This is a man who is still this week … this man is still called a bigot, a racist, and an anti-Semite, when his chief adviser is his Orthodox Jewish son-in-law.
When this man moved our embassy … to Jerusalem after 23 years of broken promises, when one of the first pardons he gives is to that black heavyweight boxer who was prosecuted purely on racial lines. That African-American grandmother who went to prison for drug dealing. The media is out of control, Rob.
I’d ask you because you’re in the thick of it, I don’t see it getting any better. … I asked [the president], “Is it going to get worse?” You know what his reply was? He said, “How could it get worse?”
Bluey: That’s a good point. … I think you’re absolutely correct in that respect and I don’t know necessarily but I do know we’re in store for over the next 18 months certainly a lot of drama and we know that the media loves controversy.
… If it doesn’t get any worse, it’s certainly probably not going to get better. But let me ask you this, in your meeting with the president, obviously you had the opportunity to work in the White House as a special adviser to him, what is his mood and how is he feeling? …
Gorka: This is the stunning thing about the president. Because the last time I was there I was with some radio show hosts, we went during the government shutdown. And that was just me and my producer there for a visit regarding my new book.
If he’s ever off his game, it’s incredibly transitory and he’s back to his fighting self. What I saw this week was he was totally back to his fighting form. Ready to roll, he’s really, he’s unstoppable.
I was on the plane here and I was listening to the comments he made about how someone challenged him about his age and the comparison to how old Joe Biden would be if he was elected.
And I’ve said it many times, I’m 48 years old, if I had a quarter, if I had one-fourth of that 72-year-old man’s energy, I would be very, very happy.
Because I’ve never seen him flag, I’ve never seen him say, “Hey guys, I’m going to take a nap now. Give me a triple espresso, I can’t go on.” What is it, the German, what has he got, German, Scottish genes, I guess it’s a good combination.
Bluey: Yeah, it is truly remarkable to see the energy that he has. I think that he must keep those White House staffers on the go a lot of times.
You have been such a strong voice against socialism and I thank you for that. Because not only have you seen it firsthand and the devastating consequences but you’ve helped Americans to understand what the grave consequences are.
We heard the president talk about this in his State of the Union this year. The issue has gained attention in part because you see so many on the left who are embracing it.
What is your message about socialism? What do conservatives need to know and what can they do to inform others, their friends and neighbors, about the dangers that it poses to this country?
Gorka: I’m so glad you asked that, Rob. It was actually the first question I asked the president.
I asked him a series of questions for my next book and I said, as the child of parents who suffered under communism, my father being persecuted by a socialist regime, it was very moving for me to have him stand in front of the joint session of Congress and make that statement.
Actually, I close my radio show every Friday with an 18-second segment where he says, “America will never, ever be a socialist state.”
But I asked him, “Did you ever think, as an American boy in America, that any American president would have to make that statement?” It’s really quite shocking that we have to make that statement.
How do we push back? Well, look, under Kay Coles James, this is a key issue for The Heritage Foundation. I’m very grateful to the panel I was invited on with Marion Smith at the Presidents Day event last year.
We have to keep banging the drum on the truth of the last … 102 years of communism in the world.
… The left has control of academia in colleges, that’s why Turning Point USA is so important in pushing back on the political correctness and the distortions of history. But I think the most powerful thing is, maybe people like me but more people who have actually lived under these systems and escaped.
People who’ve swam across shark-invested waters from Cuba, people who’ve, like the blind pro-life lawyer from China, escaped house arrest.
If you talk to those people who are escaping these systems now and find out that the political persecution isn’t just in history books, Rob. It’s going on now as we speak.
Bluey: Yeah, yeah. Here in this country, though, we see the left make proposals like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, which would exert more government control over our lives.
Gorka: This made the left go crazy when I spoke at CPAC. I said, “This level of government control is something Stalin would have dreamt of having.”
Look, Stalin didn’t try and ban cows. He didn’t try to ban air travel, he would have been laughed at in the politburo. But [Rep. Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez with her Green New Scam is actually for all of the denials of the FAQ was not an official one. Yes, it was, we know.
We can go back in the wayback machine. They want to get rid of tele-combustion engines, air travel, cows because they’re too flatulent. They literally want to demolish and rebuild every building in America so that it is more environmentally friendly. Mao didn’t even do that, Rob. Mao didn’t and they want to do it here. It’s a serious, serious threat.
Bluey: One of the issues that’s getting a lot of attention recently is Jared Kushner, who you mentioned earlier, and the immigration plan that he’s putting together for this president.
We live in a time when Congress is perhaps as divided as it’s ever been, at least in recent history. Do you see any possibility of the president having some traction on border security or immigration reform?
Gorka: I think he has traction with the American people.
Gorka: If you look at the polling data, whether he has traction on the Hill is another question entirely.
Let’s be honest here, this is problem that left and right have pondered for 20, 40 years. You can’t just say, “OK, this is Ocasio-Cortez’s fault.” No, it’s been Capitol Hill for decades. It has to be fixed.
I’ll say one story and I think you’re talking to Dan Crenshaw later today. Dan was on my show a couple of weeks ago. And he told this story that if this doesn’t want to make you build a wall, nothing will, irrespective of who you vote for.
An 18-year-old Mexican girl, I think she’s naturalized now, came to his office on Capitol Hill. She had been smuggled into America at the age of 13. The coyotes had promised her the life of princess in America, the family paid whatever it was, $15,000, they smuggled her across the border illegally.
She ended up in New York in a locked room being raped between 20 and 30 times a day at the age of 13. And then she goes now at the age of 18 to Rep. Crenshaw to say, “We need to stop this, how can I help?”
Whether it’s fentanyl, whether it’s the exploitation of children of women like this young lady, we have to fix it. National security is the easiest argument for me to make, but for the sake of humanity, Rob, we’ve got to do it.
Forget about cheap labor for your strawberry-picking farms, forget about the Chamber of Commerce needing undocumented workers. For the sake of people like that woman, we need to fix this.
Bluey: Tragic story. I think it’s through telling stories like that and exposing Americans to the real tragedies that are happening as a result. I mean, it’s something that we’re committed to doing at the Daily Signal, I know you are sharing those as well.