A White House National Security Council official has charged that leftist opponents of President Trump are engaged in political warfare operations designed to subvert his presidency and drive him from office.
Rich Higgins, until recently director of strategic planning at the NSC, revealed the program in a seven-page memorandum produced in May that warns of a concerted information warfare campaign by the Marxist left, Islamists, and political leaders and government officials opposed to the populist president.
"The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the president," Higgins states.
"This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle," he said.
Higgins, an Army veteran and former Pentagon official who specialized in irregular warfare and who was dismissed last month for writing the memo, said the attacks should not be confused with normal partisan political attacks or adversarial media attention.
The former aide criticized the White House for failing to counter the activities and said the political warfare attacks threaten the Trump presidency.
"The White House response to these campaigns reflects a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat," he said. "If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House."
Higgins was fired by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, July 21 after the memo came to McMaster’s attention as part of an internal search for leaks from the staff.
Higgins’s firing, along with that of two other NSC conservatives, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, has set off political infighting and charges from conservatives that National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is opposing Trump’s populist policies in favor of maintaining the policies of the former Obama administration.
Harvey, a retired Army colonel, recently complained to McMaster about the large number of officials who were kept on at the NSC from the Obama administration. He was told by McMaster that he has a "leadership problem," according to people close to the matter.
Cohen-Watnick was senior director for intelligence programs at the NSC and ran afoul of McMaster because of his conservative views.
A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been slow-rolling the president’s directives that he disagrees with.
According to White House sources, Trump is said to be unhappy with McMaster and has considered dispatching him to Afghanistan.
A possible replacement is said to be CIA director Mike Pompeo, who is regarded as more of a Trump loyalist.
An NSC spokesman declined to comment.
Foreign Policy first published the memo on Thursday and quoted sources as saying Trump read it and "gushed over it."
Higgins urged in the memo that immediate action be taken to counter what he described as a campaign of subversion reflecting "cultural Marxist" narratives used by political leftists who are aligned with Islamist groups.
"In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to the ‘politically correct’ enforcement narratives they’ve meticulously laid in over the past few decades," Higgins said. "In President Trump, they see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their retaliatory response reflects this fear."
During the presidential campaign, Trump was able to break through the leftist narratives and as a result the political left regards him as "an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative."
"For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed," he said. "Far from politics as usual, this is a political warfare effort that seeks the destruction of a sitting president. Since Trump took office, the situation has intensified to crisis level proportions."
The opponents also include officials within the permanent government apparatus, also called the Deep State.
Other opponents are supporting the Marxist subversion, including those within government, along with "globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans."
"Globalists and lslamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed," Higgins said.
The political warfare campaign seeks to exploit differences in society based on sexism, racism and xenophobia narratives. The program is implemented by mainstream media, and the academic community is the main driver promoting the imposition of cultural Marxism and derivatives of it.
Islamists, supporters of political Islam in the United States, also are working with leftists who they regard as having the best chance of reducing Western civilization to the benefit of Islamic supremacists. The Islamists are seeking to divide American society against itself as a way of undermining stability.
"This is the intended outcome of hostile information cum political warfare campaigns and today we see their effects on American society," he said.
Higgins also said a complicating factor in the political warfare program is that "many close to the president have pushed him off his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base thereby isolating him in the process."
The political warfare follows the insurgency methods used by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. "In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power," he said. "Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the ‘counter-state’ and is primarily focused on the resourcing and mobilization of the counter state or the exhaustion and demobilization of the targeted political movement."
In the Marxist strategy and tactics, political correctness is being used to foster intolerance of political movements of the right and toleration of leftist movements.
The attack narratives being used are pervasive and can be seen in social media, television, and the 24-hour news cycle in all media, as well as within the foreign policy establishment. "They inform the entertainment industry from late night monologues, to situation comedies, to television series memes, to movie themes," Higgins said. "The effort required to direct this capacity at President Trump is little more than a programming decision to do so. The cultural Marxist narrative is fully deployed, pervasive, full spectrum and ongoing."
Information attacks against the president are carried out through overt publicity and covert propaganda and infiltration and subversion means.
The current campaign against Trump is seeking to delegitimize the president, his administration, and the vision of America he promoted as a candidate.
Key major opposition themes are that Trump is illegitimate, corrupt, and dishonest. Secondary political attacks include the notion that Russia hacked the election, Trump obstructed justice and is hiding Russian collusion, and that he is a "puppet" of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
"Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and smears supporters of President Trump," Higgins said.
"When people in the media question the behavior, actions and decisions of the Trump administration’s opponents, they are immediately said to be ‘working for the Russians’ or ‘supporting Russian propaganda.’"
Additionally Americans who support the president are deemed "deplorable" and "racist."
"Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead [sic] to his election," Higgins said.
Higgins concluded the memo by noting that defending the president is a defense of the United States. "In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump.
"Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them."
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