After three years of plotting and scheming by Congressional Democrats, Never Trump Republicans and their partners in the mainstream media, President Trump will be impeached. While it seems highly unlikely that he will be convicted by a two-thirds majority in a Senate trial and removed from office, his legacy is forever tarnished either way.
While plenty of causes led to this inevitable coup attempt, from my perspective as the Trump Campaign’s Director of National Security, here are my top five reasons:
Winning the election as an anti-establishment figure
Taking on the Washington swamp is treacherous. While he finished #1 of 22 major presidential candidates because at least half of Americans were sick of the status quo and political correctness run amok, his anti-establishment style was a dual edged sword. Sure, Make America Great Again (MAGA) resonated across the country. Yet the powerful anti-MAGA enemies he made in Congress, government agencies, the media, universities, Hollywood and even foreign spies built synergy and worked to destroy him and dozens of associates since Day 1.
Shunning his campaign advisers and surrogates for administration posts
Trump allowed the bulk of his campaign team and surrogates to be shut out of the government. For instance, 15 people served on the National Security Advisory Committee of which I was the director — yet only two landed in the administration: Senator Jeff Sessions and retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg. Most had long and distinguished careers, including two retired U.S. senators, three retired generals, a retired admiral and many former military officers. The transition team didn’t fare much better. Whether knowingly or not, Trump effectively turned his back on the very people who would have his back. With 4,000 political posts to fill, he needed every single Trump and MAGA supporter he could muster.
Hiring Never Trumpers and allowing Obama holdovers to stay
Once elected, Trump promptly handed over the reins of hiring to people who thwarted him and his supporters. That explains why retired General James Mattis became the Secretary of Defense, despite our campaign’s understanding he was briefing Team Hillary. Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson didn’t support Trump either, but apparently looked the part for Secretary of State. Like Mattis, he didn’t want Trumpers in his building. Same thing with retired General John Kelly at Homeland Security, a man who didn’t even return our phone calls to join the campaign. And the list goes on. Meanwhile, at NSC, even though retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was a top campaign surrogate, he inexplicably recruited people with backgrounds fundamentally opposed to Trump campaign policies like Fiona Hill from the left-of-center think tank Brookings Institute. The so-called “whistleblower” who fueled impeachment is reportedly an Obama-holdover from the intelligence community who worked with former Vice President Joe Biden.
Operating outside the formal bureaucracy
My experiences on the campaign showed that Mr. Trump didn’t care about formalities or chains of command. For instance, his actual closest adviser on national security was Gen. Flynn, even though he was technically an outside surrogate. While our formal team didn’t complain because we respected Trump as the boss, that same loyal mindset didn’t apply to government officials once he became the president — even among Trump political appointees. From my Pentagon spokesman days, I know that career bureaucrats like those who testified at the impeachment hearings become furious and mischievous when they feel slighted or kept out of the loop. Hearing that the so-called “three amigos” of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Ambassadors Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker were dabbling in “their portfolios” must have been bad enough; hearing that America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani was too must have driven them absolutely crazy, however legitimate his investigation as Trump’s personal lawyer was.
Underestimating the #Resistance
President Trump is a fighter and wins most of the time. Yet although he’s vanquished opponents for decades in reality TV, real estate and casinos, dispatching adversaries and their army of lawyers and spies in Washington isn’t as easy. As Senator Chuck Schumer correctly observed about Trump clashing with the intelligence community before inauguration, “they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.” So true. After witnessing the impeachment hearings, the same clearly applies to State Dept. bureaucrats and leftist law professors. And while he relishes a good fight with Congressional Dems, routinely humiliating them and countless others with personal insults added gasoline to the fire and helped them win back the House in 2018. Fueled by rage and far left districts, wealthy donors cheering them on, their burning hatred of Trump World led to their own gross abuses of power.
So what’s next? As the country gets torn apart by those intent on ousting a duly elected president and nullifying the votes of 63 million Americans, one thing is certain: it will be ugly.
J.D. Gordon served as a Pentagon spokesman during the George W. Bush Administration and is a retired Navy Commander. He was a full time Senior National Security & Foreign Policy Adviser to Republican Presidential Candidates Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee and Herman Cain.