(This is part two of our interview with Jack Posobiec. Read part one here.)
JON SCHWEPPE: So we’ve heard about the “Great Meme War”. Obviously you were a part of that and developed quite a following — 160,000 followers on Twitter. How did that happen? You basically went from being overseas to being one of the most retweeted people on Trump Twitter.
JACK POSOBIEC: So I’d always had a Twitter account, but I didn’t always use it for politics. For most of the time I was in the Navy, I just used it for ‘Game of Thrones.’ Seriously. I was a huge fan of the book series, and when the TV show came out, I commented on that. I actually built up a pretty big following in that super ultra niche market of ‘Game of Thrones’ commentary. I kind of learned the ropes of Twitter that way. It was five years I spent doing that. But you learn how to do the punchy quote tweet. You learn how to do the Twitter battles. You learn how to meme. You learn how to do that sort of stuff.
Then I met guys like Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich at the Republican National Convention in 2016, really successful people on Twitter, and they told me, ‘hey man, you’re really good at this stuff. Why not do a regular Twitter account and just be yourself?’ So I said, ‘okay, no problem.’ I switched my Twitter account to my real name. Those connections helped me get a few early retweets in order to build myself up. But I also learned the value of being out there every single day providing content, providing analysis, providing commentary, providing something to the audience.
If people are going to retweet me, I don’t want it to just be because of a cute meme. That’s part of it, sure, but a lot of the way I made my name in this was going to Trump rallies and Hillary rallies and posting the pictures of the rally sizes. This filled a demand. People would tell me, ‘Jack, we’re not seeing these pictures of massive Trump rallies anywhere else, is this happening everywhere?’ And I said, ‘yes, it’s everywhere, it’s like this all over the country.’ But the mainstream media refused to show it, so I said, ‘shoot, I’ll show it.’
I started showing it more and more, tweeting out pictures of crowds all over the country. Jim Hoft at the Gateway Pundit started including it in articles. And then it kind of got people asking, ‘well what about the Hillary rallies?’ So we said, ‘shoot, let’s go, let’s tweet those pictures, too.’ It was kind of a citizen journalism thing. We were there and providing news that the media wasn’t covering. So that ended up being this whole thread of other stuff that we kind of discovered along the way that we could do through the power of Twitter and social media.
So people ask me, ‘Jack, what are you? What is your title? Are you a journalist? Are you an activist? Are you an operative?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know — all of the above?’ I’m whatever the 2017 version of that is. Somebody from a pretty big mainstream magazine told me, ‘you’re kind of like the Hunter S. Thompson of 2017.’ If Hunter S. Thompson and gonzo journalism was around today, he’d be Jack Posobiec. He’d be running around going boom, boom, boom all over the place… sans all the drugs and stuff. I’m actually completely sober.
We should probably get that out there, right? Jack Posobiec says he’s completely sober.
I promise. I’ve got an amazing fiancée; we met at Bible study. Seriously, I’m not making that up. It’s funny, I actually mention that sometimes when I’m in the Beltway, and they’ll say, ‘where’d you meet your fiancée?’ And I’ll say, ‘we met at Bible study.’ And they’ll be like, ‘wait, is that an app? Is that a website or something? Should I get that?’ ‘Uh, no. You sit in a circle. You eat food in someone’s living room. A pastor is there. You talk about the Bible.’ And then they look at you like you’ve got three heads!
It’s funny. It’s very telling, too. You could tell these people, ‘we met at some party, we were smokin’ this, drinkin’ that,’ and they would be like, ‘oh yeah, cool man.’ But if you pull out that Bible and you say anything related to Jesus, they’re like, ‘oh, you’re one of those.’ And then they kind of straighten their shirt and tie and get defensive and say, ‘well, I saw a Bible once too!’ I’m like, ‘guys, it’s cool. I’m not here to judge you. That’s just where we met. It’s part of our lives. We go on Thursdays.’ And we still go; it’s great. It’s been almost three years now together, and we still stick with the same Bible study on Thursdays.
I want to get back to Twitter a second before we get on to issues. I think one of the most fascinating discussion topics has been whether President Trump should continue to use Twitter or not. And obviously you’re going to say yes, he should continue to use Twitter, but what have you noticed…
I actually — no, I actually disagree with his Twitter use.
Yes, I do. I have a lot of criticisms over his Twitter use.
He does not use it enough. He needs to tweet more. And his tweets need to be more bombastic. People talk about this wrestling tweet. Sure, it was a good meme. It’s not one of the best memes I’ve ever seen, but it was good. We need more of that. You saw the power of one tweet from the President — the sheer, raw, glorious power of that one meme that sent the entire mainstream media reeling and has completely galvanized his base.
Now imagine if he used that same power for legislation. Imagine if he used that for stories like Charlie Gard, the young ten-month old baby in the U.K. who is being denied treatment because of their E.U. death panel insanity when they have money to go and pay for treatment. It’s not even like they’re asking for treatment. They’re like, ‘no, can you please let us take our baby to a doctor?’ And the U.K. says no. They refuse.
So, use that power. This is the bully pulpit on steroids. I think he should be using that much more often. He should be tweeting out selfies from the Oval Office. He should tweet out pictures of, ‘hey, this guy was in my office today, and he was a completely jerk. This Congressman says he doesn’t agree with my bill, and here’s his phone number.’
He should use that power more often, and I think he’s being a little too light on Twitter. I would increase his Twitter footprint. I would absolutely have him do live streams: Facebook Live, Twitter Live, Periscopes, and I just think in general his treatment of the mainstream media has been far too polite.
Let’s talk about issues for a bit. Obviously you’ve been a conservative for a very long time. What are the most pressing issues to you?
I guess if you say it on a personal level, I wouldn’t really know how to answer. I don’t honestly think about it. So much of what I do on a daily basis is fighting back against the Left and fighting back against these pogroms that keep coming out from them. There is so very little time that I spend on, ‘what are my issues,’ you know? It’s more like, ‘find out what the Left is up to, and stop them.’
I would say for the Trump movement, in general, this is actually something we’ve recognized as a deficiency that we’d like to correct. Whether I’m the guy who writes it, or someone else writes it, we want more of a manifesto — we talk about Make America Great Again, we talk about America First, but what does that mean?
I’ve suggested we call it ‘Citizens First,’ putting citizenry first.
So the Trump movement is very much a populist movement. In the book, I go back and draw out how American politics has always been about populism all the way back to the revolution. We saw little swells of it with the Whiskey Rebellion. There’s also the actual populist party, the Bull Moose party, etc. all through Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, and Donald Trump.
Right now, I think the most pressing issues facing America are borders, language, and culture. While I came to the table originally from that social conservative sphere, I would say abortion, the family, which I would still say is tied into it…
There’s definitely a connection to culture there.
Sure. I think that’s where the tie is, so borders, language, and culture. People just don’t realize we’re in a culture war right now, and we’ve been losing, and we’ve been losing for a long time. That’s why people will look to the National Review’s of the world and say, ‘you know, you’ve written some great articles, but what have you conserved over the years? What have you done to actually win the fight? Show me your victories.’ Oh, we got this guy elected, that guy elected. I don’t care who you got elected. Show me what you’ve conserved.
People are realizing that, not just our civil liberties, but our culture is changing, our demographics are shifting, America itself is changing, and people are stepping back and saying, ‘is this okay or do we want to correct the course?’ I think that’s what brought together the broad coalition that elected Donald Trump.
I know that it wasn’t a perfect electoral win, and there were missteps and gaffes and mistakes, but we pulled it off because we focused on borders, language, and culture — maybe not language so much, but certainly anti-political correctness — so language in that sense, not in the sense of speaking English, but language in the sense of the language police and the Orwellian idea of what words we use.
I’ve seen how personally the mainstream media will use those same tactics against me. They’ve called me a neo-nazi. They’ve called me alt-right. They’ve called me a white supremacist. They’ve called me KKK — the DNC actually sued me and Roger Stone at one point because of our poll watching program. We were doing exit polling in all 50 states, and they sued us under the KKK Act of 1874. And I said, ‘that’s preposterous! Roger and I are both registered Republicans, not Democrats!’
But they’ll call me every name under the sun, rather than someone who’s just, what, a traditional American? A veteran? You know, I’ve been involved in politics since 2004, and the first time I heard this ‘alt-right’ term was last year. What is that? I don’t know what that is. If you want to make up a label, okay, but that’s not me. We’ve been using a label called the ‘New Right,’ which I don’t think has really been codified yet. That’s something we need to work on, but that’s what I want to start with — borders, language, and culture.
American Principles Project’s president, Frank Cannon, he’s on Twitter as well, and similar to what Rick Santorum talked about, he promotes the idea of shifting the GOP platform, getting rid of the Chamber of Commerce GOP platform — which discards social conservatism and embraces Mitt Romney economics — and instead embracing populist economics and social conservatism, blending these two things together. He sees social conservatism as critical.
And there’s no way Trump would have won without his strong pro-life convictions. There are so many people who voted for him because of the Supreme Court, and the exit polling bears that out. So he understood, and I think that’s one of the things that’s so smart about him. You can criticize his tweeting or going after Mika or whatever, he understood exactly what kind of coalition he needed to build in order to win, which is something no Republican has been able to do at the national level for more than a decade.
I saw a lot of quotes of people saying, ‘why would Evangelicals go for Trump? Look at this guy, he’s been divorced, he’s a womanizer, there’s no way Christians will go for somebody like that.’ I’m like, ‘have you read the Bible? Do you understand anything about Christianity? They love the Prodigal Son story, and that’s what this is! This is somebody who has lived an admittedly sinful life and is now doing the right thing.’ I think there are a lot of Christians who wanted that and wanted someone who, maybe he’s not a preacher, but he’s a fighter, and he’s committed to us.
(This was part two of our interview with Jack Posobiec. Read part one here.)
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore