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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Is there anyone left in the White House to Make America Great Again?

With much of the country’s attention focused on Hurricane Harvey’s relentless pounding of the Texas coast over the weekend, few seemed interested in commenting on the anti-conservative personnel storm that’s now overtaken the Trump administration.

News leaked on Friday night that President Donald Trump’s Deputy Assistant, Sebastian Gorka, was out at the White House. Gorka’s departure followed a week after Steve Bannon’s and is just the latest in a very Sebastian Gorkatroubling trend towards conservatives losing control of the counsel Trump receives to a liberal group of insiders known as the “West Wing Democrats”.

In his resignation letter to Trump Gorka made it very plain why he was leaving. As reported by The Federalist, Gorka wrote, “Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week…

“The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost…

“Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.”

Whoa. What’s going on here? Gorka’s explanations for leaving sound hauntingly similar to those offered by Bannon the previous week – namely while he still supports the president and will continue fighting for him on “the outside” that unfortunately the people who are left in the administration at the advisory level are not supportive of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign mission.

Making matters even worse is the White House wouldn’t admit that Gorka resigned (they confirmed he was no longer working there but didn’t resign. Huh?).

This is serious. Trump won the election and is still constitutionally locked in office for three and a half more years (unless removed, of course), but conservatives’ enthusiasm for finally having someone in the White House who represents the views of the common citizen is beginning to wane.

Trump was certainly himself during last week’s fiery “we will build the wall!” speech in Phoenix and he did officially pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio (the right thing to do), but nonetheless these latest actions are discouraging. Much of the concern centers on new Trump chief of staff General John Kelly but it’s also abundantly evident that Trump’s National Security Council – headed by H.R. McMaster – is filling the president’s head with a bunch of establishment nonsense about Iran, Afghanistan and other places that is no longer being countered by the sound voices of reason that steered his campaign.

It wasn’t exactly time to panic when Reince Priebus left his position last month but with Bannon and Gorka now out of the picture in addition, the red button is starting to blink noticeably.

It’s not necessarily troubling that Trump wants to try a different course in Afghanistan; it’s the fact he seems to be bending to the old George W. Bush/Obama/interventionist side’s faulty belief system that Islam isn’t the real enemy and the Taliban can be contained and bargained with (and they will cooperate) as long as we refrain from calling them nasty names.

This is not only foolish, it’s dead wrong.

Sharia law expert Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in National Review, “The problem in Afghanistan is not the Taliban. The problem in Afghanistan is Afghanistan. The Taliban (and al-Qaeda, and the Haqqanis, and the ‘ISIS-K’ in Khoransan province) are an inevitable consequence of sharia society, not its cause. We cannot change that. Contrary to Washington wisdom, there are no ‘vacuums’ in the Middle East. There is Islamic fundamentalism.

“Absent the intervention of military force or tyrannical regimes, Islamic fundamentalism produces sharia societies that guarantee savage infighting and repression. As long as such societies endure, there will always be another Taliban to partner with another al-Qaeda; and there will always be Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey and the rest to support and exploit them — all the while posing as opponents of ‘extremism.’”

This view is really just common sense partnered with a healthy dose of historical reality. Foreign powers have tried to subdue the most radical elements in Afghanistan for decades (or longer) and they’ve failed despite possessing superior weapons, technology and in many cases, intelligence. They collapse because, like in Vietnam, they’re facing an enemy that will not capitulate and does not fear death. Either annihilate them (a.k.a. use nukes) or deal with what their continued existence entails.

These radical Islamists used to be somebody else’s problem until they started plotting and sending their zealots to the western world where they’ve blown up a lot of things, hijacked airplanes, run over anonymous innocents with trucks and sworn a holy oath that the war will perpetuate until they prevail.

That’s the nature of jihad. It’s a religious ideology that isn’t separable from the religion itself.

Trump seemed to recognize the true nature of Islam during the campaign when he promised to halt immigration from countries that export terror and to “bomb the s—t” out of ISIS abroad. Trump attempted to do the immigration aspect of dealing with the problem but now he appears to be heeding the “more of the same” advice from those who obviously don’t understand or accept the reality of the situation at the source.

With both Bannon and Gorka now gone there’s no one there to tell Trump otherwise. For a man with such keen political instincts it’s surprising that Trump doesn’t recognize what’s going on in his inner circle. His administration is being ingested by the establishment like a python swallows his prey whole. The “Let’s make peace with the Taliban” elites are providing him with a host of bad counsel, rewriting his speeches and reinstating political correctness into his operation.

And if they’re telling Trump that moderating his message and policies will satiate his detractors, they’re dead wrong on this, too.

The formerly somewhat reliable Bill Kristol wrote at The Weekly Standard, “Because [Trump] is a talented demagogue, he was ahead of more decent and conventional politicians. They continued to be attached to the dogmas of the quiet past, which in some cases had served the country well. But in the new moment in which we live, other politicians were left in the dust.

“As a result, we have a president who’s manifestly not up to the job, two political parties who seem very much out of touch, and an awful lot of us analysts and pundits whose thought was shaped in a different era. The world is dangerous in new ways, and our politics and culture are radically unsettled. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. We must think anew.”

Sounds reasonable, right? A few paragraphs before Kristol made the case for banding together with other #NeverTrump dreamers to beseech Trump to resign. These delusional folks can’t accept that Trump didn’t anoint himself king – he was put in office by over sixty million voters in the right combination of states, many of which decided that electing Trump was definitely “thinking anew.”

I’m not exactly sure what the #NeverTrumpers want from Trump, perhaps other than his complete acquiescence to their demands to stop speaking and tweeting, an agreement to submit his resignation immediately and return to Trump Tower. Then they’ll require him to never speak publicly again on any matter except Trump steaks, Trump wine or Trump golf courses.

Instead of accepting the fact Trump is right on many issues important to the conservative Republican base and his message resonated with voters last year, the anti-Trumpers still suppose it’s him that is the problem – not their mindset.

Julie Kelly summed up Kristol well at American Greatness, “Kristol has gone from a clown to a menace. He’s not just mocking and taunting the president, he is race-baiting in its lowest form, helping the America-hating Left condemn Trump voters and all Republicans in general as white supremacists who want back the days of Jim Crow. The anti-Trumpers who have now joined the speech and thought police on the Left should speak up to this, and challenge Kristol to stop.

“Or, just as they reminded us all weekend about Trump’s initial response to Charlottesville, their silence will be interpreted as complicity.”

The long and short of it is Trump gains nothing by moving away from the promises he made during last year’s campaign. The purge of people like Gorka and Bannon in his administration isn’t helping him win over critics and is only leading to disastrous policy switches that could damage him further.

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