by Jon Schweppe
I had the opportunity to sit down this week with Jack Posobiec, author of Citizens for Trump: The Inside Story of the People’s Movement to Take Back America.
Posobiec is a firestarter, activist, Christian, veteran, citizen journalist, and die-hard Trump supporter from Pennsylvania who gained notoriety in 2016 and 2017 for being an outspoken conservative with a pretty significant Twitter following.
Recently, Posobiec made national news when he, along with another pro-Trump protester, Laura Loomer, disrupted a Shakespearean production of Julius Caesar in New York City where the actors had controversially been staging an assassination of President Trump.
Posobiec joined us at The National Pulse HQ on Wednesday afternoon, where we talked about President Trump, the media, Twitter, and the future of conservatism.
Here’s the transcript of the first part of our interview:
JON SCHWEPPE: Jack, thank you for joining us here today.
JACK POSOBIEC: Glad to be here!
I think I first saw you tweet maybe nine months ago — maybe a year ago? I remember suddenly thinking, man, who is this Jack Posobiec guy? I had no idea. But I loved a lot of what you were saying. I know I’ve retweeted you quite a few times. So tell me, who are you? What got you involved in politics?
Sure. So I’ve been involved in politics since about 2004 during the presidential election with George W. Bush. That was when I was in college at Temple University in Philadelphia, where I got involved with the College Republicans.
I remember thinking to myself while I was attending classes, ‘man, I thought hippies went extinct in the 1970s? But what is all of this coming from my teachers?’ And I’d see all the students nodding in agreement with some of the ridiculous things being said. I remember thinking, ‘wait a second, this is opinion. This teacher isn’t stating facts. They’re stating one side of the argument and preaching opinion as fact.’ So I thought, ‘well, someone’s gotta do something about this.’
So I did what any student would do, and I sued them. Because Temple University is partially public-funded by the State of Pennsylvania, I actually called up David Horowitz and we started a chapter of the Students for Academic Freedom on Temple University’s campus. We held hearings where we required that specific teachers testify, we brought in the state legislature and came in and collected testimony from students all across campus. We asked students on the left and right: Were your teachers bringing politics into the curriculum? Were they making that part of the class? And if they were, were they presenting both sides or was it biased one way or the other?
Really long answer, but it’s a fun story. That was how I got my start. I eventually became chairman of the College Republicans at Temple University, and then served as executive director of College Republicans for the whole state of Pennsylvania, which covered more than one hundred campuses. And through all of that, I just became really invigorated in doing something about politics and not just complaining about it.
Did you work on any campaigns?
Oh yeah. Around the same time, I got an internship with Senator Rick Santorum’s office and got a job on his campaign in 2006.
I was a long-term Santorum guy. I was there when he put out his book, It Takes A Family, playing off Hillary Clinton’s infamous It Takes A Village. It’s a great book. I’ll still pull it off the shelf every once in awhile and thumb through it and just think, man, he just nailed it. He completely nailed it over ten years ago about all of the issues in our society and how they could have been solved by just reinvigorating families and emphasizing the traditional family. We have this unit that as a civilization has sustained us for thousands and thousands of years, so maybe we should make sure we’re doing everything we can as a society to support that unit rather than create artificial units or have government come in and play the father figure, like we’re seeing happen so often, especially in inner cities, which is incredibly detrimental. We’ve tried these new things for 50 years and look what’s happened.
I went on to help out a little bit on his presidential runs, helped with the writing and research for his book, Blue Collar Conservative. Interestingly enough, that book was handed to Donald Trump at one point, and Trump called Rick Santorum to Trump Tower to discuss it. Trump asked Santorum: What is this? What is this book about? And the Senator told him, ‘this is the book that lays out the blueprint for how a Republican can win a presidential race by focusing on working class families.’
You’re touching on a good point. We’ve covered this sort of fusionism quite a bit on The National Pulse. You’re right to say Rick Santorum kind of pushed this idea where you have a platform that is socially conservative and economically populist: more focused on working class families, on laborers, on higher wages, etc., than on the Mitt Romney-types, the so-called job-creators of the world.
Yeah, and Mitt Romney is — man, you look back at 2012 and you always want to re-fight the last war, and on paper it looks like such a winnable campaign, such a winnable path that he had to victory — but there were a few systemic issues to his candidacy.
Number one: He didn’t want to campaign against Obamacare and how it was wreaking havoc on American families because he was worried that he would then have to denounce Romneycare, and he didn’t want to go against something that had his name on it.
Number two: He was talking over people’s heads and he wasn’t talking to people’s hearts. I really think that was one of the biggest issues with his candidacy. He was talking way up in the stratosphere about policy and ideals and principles — most of which in the large part I agreed with him. But you’ve got to connect with voters, and he just wasn’t able to do that.
Let’s circle back then to 2015. The 2016 primary begins. How did you get involved and how did you come to support Donald Trump?
After my political operative days, and I worked on a lot of different campaigns, I kind of got sick of politics and said, you know what, we keep winning and nothing ever changes, so…
Wait, you got sick of winning?
Right! I got sick of winning. I actually got sick of winning. Because we wouldn’t win. We would win at the ballot box, but nothing would actually change in reality. Nothing would actually change in the world or the country. We kept losing all the culture wars.
So I said, ‘you know, screw it,’ and I went off and enlisted in the Navy. I served as a Navy intelligence enlisted man for a few years, and then was commissioned as an officer — still am — in the reserves as a naval intelligence officer. I was deployed multiple times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and other operations around the world, I spent about a year at Guantanamo Bay in the interrogation cell, all the way up until 2015, and then Trump ran.
I always said I’m done with politics. I’m totally done with politics — unless the right candidate runs. I always said that. And cards on the table, Ted Cruz reached out to me, his campaign reached out to me very early, in about March of 2015, about coming on as a sort of regional political director. And, you know, I thought about it, but I responded back and said, ‘I like Cruz, I think he’s a great Senator from Texas, but I want him to continue being a great Senator from Texas.’ I just didn’t really think he was the right candidate for the national level. Nothing against him personally, but it’s just where the country was. You have to understand where the body politic was at the time to fit the right candidate. You can’t have a mismatch or it’s not going to work, regardless of how great someone’s resume is.
But Trump… I remember being at CPAC in 2011, and I had just gone there as a volunteer. I remember standing there when Trump actually stormed the stage. Rumsfeld was supposed to speak. I was standing out in the lobby, I was in the line at Starbucks to get a coffee, and all of a sudden this whisper goes through the crowd. And everyone’s saying, ‘it’s Trump, Trump’s coming, Trump’s coming through.’ And we look over, and there’s this huge entourage of guys in black suits coming, and in the middle you could just see this wave of blonde hair. And he just marches right by, goes right up to the stage, and says, ‘Do you mind if I say a few words?’ And the organizers of CPAC say, ‘uh, okay, sure, it’s Trump, right?’
So he gets up there, he wasn’t even on the schedule, and he delivers this amazing speech, lays out a completely different vision. And at the end, he says ‘we need to make our country great again.’ This is 2011. And I’m sitting there thinking, man, I wish this guy was running for President. At the time, he was considering running in 2012 — this was right after the White House Correspondents’ Dinner where Obama spent the entire time ridiculing and attacking Trump — but eventually Trump said, ‘whatever, let Romney run, I’ll support him.’
But I remember always thinking, ‘I just wish Trump would run. I wish somebody like him would just throw their hat in the ring and say, forget it, we don’t need a politician, we need a businessman, we need someone who’s not been in the politics, somebody who’s been in the streets, somebody’s who’s actually walked the walk.’ So when he ran, when he came down that escalator, I was all in from day one.
I worked out a deal where I had one deployment I had to finish with the Navy. I was actually overseas up until May 2016, and, you know, I was able to do what I could online. And that’s kind of the reason I didn’t go work for the Trump campaign originally. I was scheduled for a deployment and obviously couldn’t get out of it. I asked, ‘can I volunteer online?’ They said sure, it’s your spare time, go do what you do. So I said fine.
I started my Twitter account. I started my Facebook account back up, and I just went all in for Trump. There I am, overseas, setting up poll watchers, setting up delegates, putting out the delegate cards, reaching out to the chairmen in key states, putting out stuff, putting out polls, making memes — one of my memes got retweeted by Trump back then, which was amazing. And then fast forward to the end of May, I get home, and I switched over to the reserve side in the Navy, and I found this organization, Citizens for Trump, which had been founded by Tim Selaty and a few other people around the country — Wayne Dupree was involved, and Roger Stone. And they were looking for someone to help them with events, help them with security, help them with other special projects, and I said, ‘hey, I’m your guy.’
So I ended up being a special projects director for Citizens for Trump. We were the largest grassroots organization in the entire country. We focused on key swing states, and I got to travel to Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, just everywhere, in support of this candidacy. Obviously I spent most of my time in Pennsylvania being a Philly kid. And just turning that power of social media — using my experience with ground campaigns and field strategy and combining that with the reach of social media — is where we found that ability to thread the needle and win campaigns and turn a hashtag into votes.
And I bet winning Pennsylvania was an emotional moment for you on Election Night.
You know, around 5:00 P.M., if you read my book, in my full chapter on Election Day, I go through — I spent my entire Election Day in Philadelphia going after voter fraud, going after the crap they were doing, electioneering, that kind of stuff. But we’re running around, and I’m looking at the turnout numbers, and Philadelphia was so down. It was dead.
We were all looking around and saying, ‘guys, they’re not getting Philadelphia the way they’re supposed to be getting it.’ Turnout in the west of Pennsylvania… if you haven’t been to Pennsylvania you know, there’s Philadelphia, there’s Pittsburgh, and then it’s like Alabama in the middle of Pennsylvania. And [turnout] was up huge in all those areas. So around 5:00 P.M., I actually put up a tweet and said, ‘if this holds, we’re going to win Pennsylvania. And if we win Pennsylvania… oh snap.’
So then I actually skipped the celebration in Philadelphia, and around 8:00 P.M., I hopped a train at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia up to New York to go to the real party at Trump Tower. I’m going to the real party if we’re going to win this thing.
(This was part one of our interview with Jack Posobiec. Be sure to stay tuned to The National Pulse for part two next week.)