The most powerful Briton in America on what it’s really like in Donald Trump’s White House

The most powerful Briton in America on what it’s really like in Donald Trump’s White House, by Ruth Sherlock.

Sebastian Gorka is one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers and the most influential Briton in the White House. Here he speaks with Ruth Sherlock about how to defeat Islamic State and the “conspiracy” by Barack Obama’s team to take down the president. …

In the space of only a few months, Gorka, the London-born son of Hungarian parents, has gone from relative obscurity as deputy editor of Breitbart, the hard-Right-wing news website, to having the ear of the president of the United States. …

The Islam problem:

Gorka is the deputy assistant to the president. A national-security academic, he has provided the ideological underpinning for some of Trump’s most controversial policies. “Jihad is my bag,” Gorka tells me. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush were careful to define Isil, Al-Qaeda and other extremists as groups that violate the Muslim faith. But Gorka believes they exist because of it.

Extremism, he says, is rooted not in repression, wars or poverty, but in the tenets of the religion itself; in what he calls the “martial parts” of the Koran (which Gorka says he has read in translation).

Last year, Donald Trump took Gorka’s views on the campaign trail, declaring with relish that the country was combating “radical Islamic terrorism”, even if Obama wouldn’t admit it. In Trump, Gorka said he has found a leader who understands that America is “at war”. …

Winning takes more than bombing the jihadists from the air, he believes. “Killing terrorists is great. If you can’t capture them, you kill them. But at the end of the day you have to stop people wanting to become terrorists.”

Instead, Gorka and Trump say, you launch a Cold War-style campaign to “delegitimise” the enemy. But it is a propaganda war that has human rights groups hyperventilating. Trump has called for surveillance of Muslim communities and mosques in the US, tests to weed out those who believe in Sharia law, even the creation of a “Muslim registry” (and he is still seeking to prohibit immigrants and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries).

“The Muslim registry, no, that’s hyperbole,” Gorka concedes. …

See the answer at 4:11

Opposition to Gorka:

Gorka’s thinking is shared by few mainstream policy analysts. Two former security advisers to the Obama administration recently wrote in The New Yorker magazine that  he had “established a reputation as an ill-informed Islamophobe” and called him a “huckster”.

When I put this to him he replies with a dismissive flick of the wrist. “These professors sitting in their faculty lounges wouldn’t know Fort Bragg from a hole in the ground,” he says, referring to the US military base where he has lectured. His theories, as laid out in his bestselling book Defeating Jihad (he gave Trump one of the first copies), have their roots in the shadow the Iron Curtain cast over his childhood. …

“Freedom and liberty are as fragile as they are precious. Sooner or later somebody will come along who says, ‘I’m taking freedom away from you’; whether it’s a fascist, whether it’s a Nazi, whether it’s Mosley’s brown shirts or black shirts, whether it’s the Communists, or whether it’s, today, the jihadists. This is in the marrow of my existence.”

On Donald Trump:

I ask about Trump’s routine in the White House. “The president sleeps three to four hours a night,” he tells me, marvelling that he can only hope to have such energy when he reaches 70. Behind closed doors, he says, he is “exactly the same” as the Trump the American public have come to know through his years on reality television. “There’s no artificiality. Donald Trump is Donald Trump.”