The name’s Kassam, Raheem Kassam. A mix between an international man of mystery, political fixer and a highly well-read, honest journalist (an oxymoron nowadays), Raheem has a unique position in the world of politics. As we discussed during our call for this interview, he’s been at the forefront of the populist movement, taking part in the key political moments of the past few years. As he points out, he’s the only person who was both at the Brexit victory party as well as President Trump’s election night in 2016.
In fact, Raheem had to postpone our talk because he was “travelling with 45 this weekend”. On that occasion, he was one of two reporters who accompanied President Trump during his trip to Georgia and North Carolina’s state GOP conventions the following day of his outrageous indictment. You can read all about it at the National Pulse, Raheem’s news site he just relaunched last month, with great success.
We spoke for a couple of hours as Raheem smoked his Hestia cigarettes (if you know, you know, he tells me), covering MAGA, foie gras and much more in this exclusive interview for MAN’S WORLD.
Raheem, let’s get straight into MAGA, how this populist nationalism movement started, and what was your a-ha moment?
For me, it was in July 2015. I had set up the Breitbart office in London the previous year, and the company sends me to cover FreedomFest in Las Vegas. The London editor gets dispatched, because the London editor demanded it, because the London editor likes going to Vegas (laughs). So I go to Vegas and I take my friend Ben Harris-Quinney who’s a columnist at Breitbart London. Ben’s in charge of the Bow Group in England, which is the oldest conservative think tank. So we’re there and Donald Trump shows up. Everybody thinks it’s very strange because Donald Trump is not a libertarian, and FreedomFest is an extremely libertarian conference. The big hall is packed and everybody’s wondering “What does Donald Trump have to say to a bunch of libertarians?”
When he walked in, about 20% of the audience were in rapturous applause and the rest kind of either just politely clapping or not at all. Trump gets up there and talks for about 50 minutes. I’m sitting in the back of the room, and by the end of the speech, about 80% of the audience are giving him a standing ovation. That was the moment Ben and I realised there was something there. Ben said, “You know, I think that Trump has the ability to be America’s [Nigel] Farage”. And I told him, “Well, you should write that as an article” and he goes, “But Breitbart likes [Ted] Cruz”. “It doesn’t matter. I have the publisher button, and I’ll publish whatever the fuck I want” I replied, knowing full well I might get in trouble, but also knowing that I could just be like, “Oh, I’m very sorry, I’m English, I didn’t realize!”, you know? I did that a lot, and I still do that a lot.
So we publish this thing and a couple of months later Steve [Bannon] invites me on a quick and hazy trip. We flew together from Reagan airport I think – this is back when Steve can just fly commercial, with the public – on an American flight down to Miami. We get into an Escalade on our way to this meeting. So we’re in the car and I turned to him – you know, Steve was Steve back then, and I wasn’t anybody, right? He was the head of the company and I was just some grunt from London – I said, “Look, this is an opportunity for me because I don’t know when I’m going to get to talk to you about this again”. His face is buried in his phone and he just sort of looks at me like, “The fuck did you just say to me?” and I’m like, “I just want to talk to you about something.” He says, “What do you want to talk to me about?” I said, “You need to get off this Cruz shit.” He puts his phone down immediately. He goes, “What do you mean?” I said, “It’s Trump”. And I walked him through the theory of the case, right? The next day we’re sitting in the car going back to the airport, and he turns to me and goes, “You know, you might get your Trump thing after all”. “What do you mean?” I said. “Oh I just had Rebekah Mercer on the phone and she’s not convinced that Ted Cruz is actually a natural born US citizen and we might not be able to back him in the race.”
And you notice the change from then onward. That’s when Breitbart started to be all “Trump, Trump, Trump”. And then Steve went to the campaign and the rest is history. But see, the thing is people don’t know the little weird, quirky back stories… the fact that Rebecca Mercer, Cruz’s own donor, effectively shanked him right? With their biggest right wing media sponsor at the time… I bet you Ted Cruz to this day doesn’t even know that!
But now they will after reading this article.
That’s what happened! It’s things like that I think of when you ask me about MAGA’s roots. I’ve answered it in a roundabout way, but it’s important because we’re coming full circle right now. MAGA is returning to its roots currently. It lost its way for a while, went all Jared Kushner, all fluffy and wooly for a period of time. We had Brad Pascale running the campaign, and he’s never run a campaign, you know? How about, don’t put those people in charge of your campaign?! And now you see that it’s coming back to its roots, back to the first people who used to support it. It’s that core team, the stalwarts, Jason Miller and those guys, around Trump once again. And so in order to fully return MAGA to its roots, you have to know what those roots actually are.
You can talk to Steve about a lot of this as well, because he does have some memory of it. But it was such a weird time. Sometimes we’ll reminisce about it. Steve actually came over in 2014 to England and we took him to this tiny, little town hall – it may have even been a school hall – in the east of England. Way out of the way, not a “cool” place. I think it was Clacton-on-Sea. And this is Stephen K. Bannon, who went on to be the chief strategist in the White House, just hanging out in this hall on Clacton-on-Sea, and he’s like, “I guess I’m here to see a rally of some sort”. This was Nigel’s rally with Douglas Carswell, who was one of the defectors from the Tory Party who went to UKIP. Steve stood at the back of the room in his battle jacket, and I remember him sort of looking around and being like, “This is it. This is it. You’ve packed school hall full of people who are actually willing to put their shoulders to the wheel and attempt something here, attempt to wrestle back control of not just of their local politics, but of their national politics”. They weren’t just there because Douglas Carswell was a good member of Parliament. They were there because they wanted out of the fucking EU, and they were willing to do something about it. Hundreds of people in a sleepy little town in the East of England.
And then it starts to happen more, and more, over 2014 and 2015. Nigel basically took that thing on the road. And I followed him around, I studied him intently. Even before he was really au fait and on totally friendly terms with me, he’d seen me in every pub and at every rally. He must have thought I was a nutter. “This guy’s just fucking everywhere.” And one day Nigel just turned to me and said, “Listen, I actually need somebody to help brief me and help write my op-eds and all this stuff. Do you want to come and do that?” I was like, “Yes, I think the answer to that is yes!”
When was this?
2014, at the UKIP Independence Party Conference. About six months after setting up the Breitbart London bureau. So then we start going around the country doing these rallies everywhere. And Steve would see those rallies, and I know for a fact that Stephen Miller read a lot of Nigel’s speeches from the time, consumed a lot of Nigel content. I think I’ve even got a picture of him chasing Nigel around the Capitol Hill Club, way back when. In fact, I have a funny picture of me, Miller and Harris-Quinney at the Capitol Hill Club in 2014 for Nigel’s speech.
If you were to ask me to pinpoint the triangulation between Brexit and Trump, it was that trip, that moment. It was where all the MAGA-leaning staffers in American politics were looking across to what Nigel had built with UKIP and Brexit, and thought, “Well, if this guy can fucking do it and he’s in the pub 11 hours a day, then we can certainly do it” (laughs). And I think that spurred them on.
As I said Miller took a lot of inspiration from Nigel speeches and writings – and I had written those, and I don’t think Miller even knows that to this day. And Steve took a lot of the rally energy and plowed that into the Trump side of things. It was just practical populism. Populism in practice probably is a better way of saying it. Not just lip service, right? Obama paid lip service to populism. Ron DeSantis is currently paying lip service to populism. No, what these guys did is populism in practice, and it almost killed all of us. And probably still will.
Are you saying the MAGA movement’s roots are actually in the UK?
Well, the MAGA movement has a number of roots, and one of those roots is definitely this trajectory that Trump went on in the eighties and nineties. Extremely America First in all of his thinking. He understood the difference between a good America and a great America, because he lived a great America. So many people nowadays, especially the younger voters, have never lived a great America. So it’s alien to them when he says “Make America Great Again.”
I told Trump on the plane he needs to start throwing the word “glory” around a lot more than just greatness. Because glory still exists to young people, like in sports TV, banging a hot chick… That’s the stuff of glory to them, right? But greatness, people they don’t really get greatness. Yeah, it’s “great”, “meh”. There’s many other things about that that makes such sense. You can’t say “Keep America Great”: you have to say MAGA because we’re not great again and blah blah, blah. I told him “I can see you trying to riff on something there… but you’re not showing any progress. You got to show progress. You can’t say “Make America Great Again, Again”. You guys gotta start saying Make America Glorious Again”. Don’t make that the main thing, but throw that in there every so often, right? And I told him he should play Elvis’s American trilogy, which ends with “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.” And he put it on his Bluetooth speaker as we were landing and we’re swaying back and forth, listening to it…
And so not to say that MAGA’s roots are in the U.K., but certainly I think the practicalities of how you campaign for something like that have, I think, not just Brexit roots, by the way, I think they have old English pamphleteering roots, much like the Founding Fathers’ practical populism from the late 1700s. This was, “Hey, we’re going to get in everyone’s face about this.” A lot of people are going to find us quite obnoxious, but we’re going to get the message rammed home.
Absolutely, just like the Revolution. You mentioned DeSantis paying lip service to populism. Let’s talk about the DeSimps. As someone who has remained steadfastly MAGA, I certainly appreciate your punches on Twitter.
The summer soldier and the Sunshine Patriot, right? And we’re seeing who are the summer soldiers, now. They’ve all ducked off to DeSantis camp. The weather is hot and the pool has a slightly nicer temperature. They’ve got a parasol that they can sit under so the sun doesn’t burn them. You know, a lot of these people have been friends of mine for a long time. Matthew Tyrmand, Dave Reaboi, Josh Hammer, Jordan Schachtel, Steve Cortes. I’ve known Jordan since 2014. Same with Tyrmand, and Reaboi. I’ve known Reaboi longer, since 2010. And he just ups and blocks me out of the blue one day, doesn’t even say anything. We don’t have an argument, just blocks me. And I thought to myself, okay, well, maybe he’s blocked me because he wants to retain the friendship after this and he thinks this is the best way to create some space. And I called up Tyrmand and I asked him that. He goes, “No, he just fucking hates you now”. Interesting, because I have no feeling of animosity like that towards them. People are allowed to be wrong, right? They’re allowed to be wrong, like I’m allowed to be wrong too – I’ve just never availed myself of that privilege.
But I will forgive them. I tweeted this morning Tupac’s video “I Ain’t Mad at You” and just wrote “me to Steve Cortez”. You know the lyrics of that song? “We were once two brothers of the same kind, used to holler at a hoochie with the same line.” It’s like we were brothers and we’ll be brothers again. This is why I’m heckling him now with Tupac videos and such, because I know he’s probably sitting there every day going, “I fucked up, I fucked up”. So my message for the fucking DeSimps is do your thing, go out there once more –– because remember they’re old Cruz people, too and they have stayed the same. They have the same thoughts. The failed march of moderate Republicanism is their mantra –– and so just do your thing, you’re always going to be these people, that’s why you never got jobs in the admin, none of you, because everybody knew that about you. So fine.
Look, I’ll also say this. There was a period of time in early 2022 that Trump wasn’t really saying anything. He was just kind of chilling, and I wondered at the time, “Man, maybe he doesn’t even want to run?” Part of me still thinks that there’s a part of him that’s saying, “Why are you doing this, man? You’re this 78 year old guy who’s being put through the wood-chipper, and your whole family, on a daily basis. And I asked him that question actually, on the plane “How do you do it?” Just straight up, “How do you go through all of this?” And he looked at me and went in his typical fashion, “What choice do I have?” (Trump voice). And you know why that was really interesting to me? Because he has choices. So he’s not saying what choice do I, Donald Trump have. He’s saying, what choice do I, former President Donald Trump, have? He’s talking about duty. Right, that’s very different. Because he has no duty for himself personally to run again. If anything, he has a duty to himself to chill, enjoy retirement, spend more time with his family. But he does it out of duty. I could hear that very intently.
And the other thing about that – and I think this will be abundantly obvious to you – is if you let them win here – and their ultimate victory is no Trump on the ballot next time – then it sends a message that echoes through the ages, that dissent will not be tolerated, that America is no longer free. That you don’t actually have political opposition in the 21st century. And I think that’s it. That is Orwell’s boot stamping on the face of human history forever, except it’s the boot of globalism stamping on the American worker’s face forever. That’s what “anybody but Trump” would represent. People ask me why I get so upset about the DeSantis stuff. It’s because that’s what it represents to me, it’s that deep.
Light is the best disinfectant. And it means that the next administration is going to be much tighter.
Yep. I said this in a speech at the Capitol Hill Club for the D.C. Young Republicans the other day. Steve Cortes’ daughter, Kingsley Cortes, was chairing the meeting. So I said, “Listen, I’m sorry, Kingsley, Madam Chairman, but your dad’s fucked because he’s never getting a job.” And the whole room erupts in laughter and applause, you know?
Let’s get back to your story, and how you got into politics.
There’s a wonderful picture of me sitting on a riverside wall on the Thames outside the old London County Hall. I’m sitting behind David Cameron, this is in 2009 or maybe early 2010, as he’s giving the launch speech of the Conservative Party’s election platform. There are all these huge banners that say, “Time for change” and everything’s super optimistic. Remember, the Labour Party at that point had governed for 13 years. Do you remember the ’97 election? Tony Blair used this song by D:Ream called “Things Can Only Get Better”, and it was played every-fucking-where. It was more of a propaganda election than Obama’s was. Every radio station was playing the Labour Party’s anthem, all the time. And it was kind of that moment for the Tories in 2010. Everything felt upbeat and forward-thinking, but not in a lefty way. And there I am, behind Cameron, and I’m running a campaign – an unwinnable campaign – for a friend of mine who’s running for Parliament. Her name is Michelle Donelan. And funnily enough, a few years later I would end up taking Michelle into the West Wing to meet with Steve [Bannon]. She’s now a Cabinet minister. Secretary of Education in England I think. So I ran her original campaign and we got an amazing swing, by the way. About 9% swing in our favor against a national swing of 5.3%, so we almost doubled the national swing in that seat, which is why they gave her a safer seat the next time around, which led to her being in Parliament, which led to her being in government. And the heart of our campaign was populism, but it was an unwinnable seat in northern England. I almost wrote a book after it, titled “Dare to Dream”. A bit cheesy, but it was about why unwinnable campaigns are always worth fighting because you will chip away, chip away, chip away. That’s how the left does it. Just keep chipping away. I didn’t write that book, but I’ve probably still got some of it somewhere. And what a foreshadowing of Brexit that was! Brexit was a 3%, 5% issue back in the early nineties. By 2016 we got it over the line of a majority.
So anyway, while we got a major swing, the Conservative Party didn’t, and they ended up having to go into coalition with the Liberal Democrats to govern. There’s that old photo of David Cameron and Nick Clegg walking into Downing Street together and it was almost immediate for me, maybe it took a year, before I realised I just couldn’t do this. The Tories are giving up too much to the Libs in this governing coalition, and I started to look for a way out. Around 2012, 2013, my buddy Matt Richardson, also involved with UKIP, starts telling me, “Look, man, I think we have to jump, a lot of us have to jump, all at the same time.” I thought, “I’m sick of this government anyway, I’m in.” Turns out it was basically two of us. Very few other people did it, and certainly not many other people who had a profile. Now, I had a small profile. I was just on the young Conservative National Board at the time, right? But it was something.
And then one night, I met Nigel. We were standing outside the Roux on Parliament Square – a Michelin-starred restaurant that had just opened and broadcaster Joanne Hilditch from the BBC Daily Politics was having her birthday there. So all the politicos are there. And I see Nigel smoking outside and we’ve never really had much of a conversation together, but I lit up a cigarette – even pinched one off him I think – and said, “Enjoying the UKIP stuff. Really on board with it, thinking of jumping over.” And as we’re talking, this girl Donata Huggins – she used to date a friend of mine, Harry Cole, who’s now the political editor of The Sun, and who was on the same panel that Steve and I first ever met on in Cambridge in England, small world – anyway, Donata comes up to me and Nigel, starts talking and tells Nigel, “Can you believe it? Raheem took me out for dinner last night, we had two dozen oysters, and he didn’t even try and fuck me.” And Nigel turns to me and goes, “What is your bloody problem?” And I knew at that moment that we’d be great friends.
That was the first time you guys met?
That was our very first conversation. We had seen each other in rooms and waved at each other and nodded as you do. But yeah, that was the first proper conversation we had ever had. I mean, it’s bizarre to me the way all of that happened to Raheem Kassam, from an Ismaili Muslim family, Uxbridge, West London. Went to a shitty state school and if you speak to any of my teachers or my professors at university, they would absolutely disavow, disavow, disavow, the way I went off the rails, because they were all lefties, right? And apparently Franz Patterson – who is the international affairs professor at the University of Westminster – uses me as a warning story, where you should not allow your politics to go, according to students who go there now and who message me sometimes. To summarise how I did it and where I came from, I just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
In America they have these Tuesday meetings – if you ever heard of them – in England they’re on Wednesdays, and it’s just a room full of RINOs, grass tops, think-tank heads, activist groups, some senators, some congressmen. And I remember there was one occasion where I was sitting around the table and it’s my turn to talk. I must have been in my early twenties. I can’t remember what I said, but it was something innocuous about blogging, because I had a blog back then called Keep Right Online – that was my writing origin story by the way. And this guy just says to me, “Oh, thank you for your contribution. But I think I speak for a lot of people around this table when I say your ideas are nice, but you should just wait your turn in the future”, and I just went, “The fuck are you talking about? I’m sitting here now, like, I’m going to say my piece.”
So the guy says, “Wait your turn”. Meaning when?
Right, like until you were 30. His implication was “You’re too young to be sitting around this table telling us how to be right wing on the Internet.” And I was like, “No, you guys are fucking cringe and I’m telling you how to do it properly.” Things like that would happen to me all the time. Once I was in Parliament –– we used to go drinking in Parliament all the time. Usually there was always a friend who worked for an MP, and we’d show up to the Sports and Social at 4:30 in the afternoon. It was a very Labour-heavy bar, but we used to go there to infiltrate and we’d just drink, drink, drink. It was raucous. There were fights. I got pictures of this one guy, a newspaper seller in parliament, who’d been punched by an MP in the nose. So I took a picture of him all bloody and immediately got on the phone to The Daily Mail and sold them the picture for £4,000. Wonderful bit of change for a guy in his early twenties (laughs). Most nights in Parliament were raucous out on the terrace, fucking champagne glasses getting thrown into the Thames. That’s what the Tory party was like. And there’s me, a little brown boy from Uxbridge, thinking “What the fuck is going on here?” But also I’m loving it – fear and loathing in Westminster.
And tell me, when did your interest in politics first kick in? University?
I didn’t pick a political allegiance until after university, actually. In 1997, at 11 years old, I was already really interested in politics, watching it all on television. Even before that, I was watching the first Gulf War, at about six or seven years old. Obsessed. My mother would always joke whenever Saddam Hussein was on television, she would say “Raheem, Raheem, your friend’s on TV.” Because she knew I was obsessed with what was going on. He wasn’t my friend just to make that clear!
From ’97 to about 2003, maybe even 2005, I was very New Labour, Tony Blair “Things can only get better”. Because Blair described himself as kind of a Thatcherite, and that was the only world I grew up in, the post-Fukuyama, end-of-history world. And so a slightly right-leaning Labour prime minister sounded like a fairly good compromise at the time. And remember, it wasn’t the Labour Party who did any of this woke shit. It was the Tories who legalised gay marriage. The Labour Party were offering a referendum on membership of the European Community in the 1970s. It took the Conservative Party until 2015 to offer that referendum to the public! So you can see how it was a rational conclusion. Labour was far more in touch with the common working everyman. Obviously that’s not the case anymore, but they were for a while. I changed when Gordon Brown came in and started implementing hardline socialist budgets, raising taxes, discouraging inward investment in that sense, discouraging people like my father, who was a business owner and entrepreneur. He owned a fast-food chain. My animosity towards Soros, by the way, comes from the fact that when Soros shorted the Pound in 1992 and Britain dropped out of the exchange rate mechanism, my family went bankrupt as a result. You know, immigrant, working-class family, the people that the Soros’s claimed to care about. So my animosity to Soros is personal, and he exacted something on my father that I intend to exact on his son. But if I can’t bankrupt them financially, I will bankrupt them politically.
And so when I left university I wrote to my member of Parliament, John Randall. Sir John Randall now. He owned a local department store called Randalls that I used to go past every day and where my father used to shop. He had been the MP for 20 plus years. I reached out and he said, “We’d love more young people getting involved. Come see me in my office.” This was in 2008. He then told me “Why don’t you come out next week with us. We’re going to do some doorknocking and we’ll show you how it’s done.” And that’s where it all started, and how I joined the Conservative Party.
You’re 22 years old at that point.
Yeah. So I start attending conferences every year. Networking. Going to the pubs in Parliament. I didn’t know anybody. I just showed up and started talking to people. In a £70 off-the-rack suit from Next. Just showing up in Parliament. Didn’t even know how to tie a tie properly. My shoes were probably black school shoes from Clarks.
As a child, you’re watching the Gulf War on television. When do you start reading and learning so much about politics, also in terms of history?
Oh, not for a long time. Well, I studied politics at university, so I did a lot of French Enlightenment, Revolution stuff. I knew the basics, but really, especially in terms of American politics, that process didn’t start for me until about 2009 when I first went to CPAC and well… I mean, if you want the God’s honest truth about it, it’s the hot Libertarian American girls. They were talking to me about Thomas Woods, Robert Nozick, Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul, and I’d just barely heard of Ron Paul at the time. So I’m thinking, “Okay, I’m going to go read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and impress these hot libertarian girls with all my hot libertarian knowledge.” And that led me on to other things.
That’s how I learned about and became obsessed with Barry Goldwater. You know, I’ve got so much paraphernalia here. Obviously the MAGA hats. I’ve got this incredible book called Suite 3505, which is about the Goldwater election campaign, an original signed picture of Barry Goldwater, a signed Enoch Powell letter and a signed Barry Goldwater letter. Then I got really lucky a few years ago, I was on a plane with Steve [Bannon] and there was a guy sitting opposite me and I said to him, “Dude, you look a lot like Barry Goldwater.” He replied, “Well, I should hope so. I’m his son.” We had a long conversation and he asked for my address as we’re getting off the plane. Two weeks later I get this picture book of Senator Goldwater’s photography from the Arizona desert in the mail. Amazing photographs of Indian tribesmen and things like that. Signed it for me and everything. This is what comes of hitting on hot chicks at CPAC back in 2009, it always leads somewhere good, right?
So girls were your motivation?
Yeah! There was a girl called Rachel, from Arkansas. We just hit it off, and she introduced me to all of that. She used to work for some congressional member, I forget, and she took me into Congress and that was my first ever time there. We were in our early twenties roaming the corridors, everything was really exciting and cool. We would go the Union Pub here in my neighborhood. I still go there. It’s where me and the great turncoat Alyssa Farah, who’s now at CNN, The View… She used to work for Trump, and we would go drinking there all the time together. I know all of these people very well, maybe too well in some cases.
You really are the Waldo of politics!
Yeah, historians will look back and they’ll actually start spotting me in all these weird locations, like a fucking time traveler or something. I was also at the big Nice rally that Marine Le Pen gave when the party became the largest party in the European Parliament, and that was her real ascent moment. If you look at the photographs of her sitting down, you can see me one row behind her, just like, “Hey, what’s up?” I’ve been everywhere man. You can also see me by the side of the stage when Giorgia Meloni is talking in 2018 at the Atreju.
Now she’s bringing in 1400 new migrants a day into Italy.
Yeah, and the Ukraine stuff…
The Ukraine stuff, and her recent fawning all over Elon Musk. What a fake. So what is she? Controlled opposition?
Did you see, we criticized her last week, right? I tweeted “Hey, I remember when Meloni was actually a populist nationalist and not just pretending to be one.” I think she’s like MTG, you know: she tries to play both sides. In a lot of ways she is their MTG. Somebody should write the article, “What if Marjorie Taylor Greene became president?” And you can just point to Italy.
I love that Laura [Loomer] is calling her out on all this BS. This is a characteristic that I admire in Laura, which you seem to have as well. You don’t make any concessions and won’t compromise your principles to go along.
Yeah, but look, I will also correct when I’m wrong, right? Like, I left the Labour Party, I had a mea culpa moment on the COVID stuff. You know, we very much went along with the early 30-days-to-slow-the-spread stuff. And, you know, there have to be mea culpa moments like that. Not everybody is going to be right all the time. You may always make a strategic or tactical error. Everybody does that, right? The greatest generals in human history have made strategic and tactical errors. But where you can be morally assured in your position, coherent in the long term and where you can be morally uncompromised is where you should live, right? That’s what you wake up in the morning thinking about.
Right. This mindset is no doubt integral in navigating the cut-throat political world you’re in, I’d imagine.
They’re all pussies! It’s fucking child’s play, You know, I work a lot, but I don’t work very hard. I sit around, write the articles I want to write. I’m not in the coal mine, right? This is why I don’t like the woke stuff. This is why I’ve said on a few podcasts that the idea of congratulating somebody for being anti-woke is like saying, “Yay, you’re not a communist and a satanist. Well done!” And so Ron can run on “I’m not woke and I’m anti-woke”, and I’m like, “Yay Ron you’re not a satanist! Good job!” By the way, that’s why his campaign is not connecting because he’s trying to appeal to the lowest bar that they expect of anybody on the political right. It’s not a high bar to jump. You can link that back to what we were talking about in terms of practical populism – that isn’t practical populism, that’s your lowest bar, entry-level conservative position.
And look, you may have seen some of the graphics that have gone up that show the more Ron spends, the lower he goes in the polls. I actually don’t think that’s the correlation. The correlation is every time he says “woke” in a speech, he goes down because people are like, “Yeah, we get it, like chicks don’t have dicks, tell me something else. So I reject this idea that it’s a cut-throat industry because standing up for civilisation should be the basic thing that all of us are able to do all the time. And people do that differently, by the way. Some people stand up for civilisation by having ten kids, and that’s their contribution to that fight. And that’s honestly far more of a positive contribution to human civilisation than me sitting here tweeting from Capitol Hill in my bathtub.
Considering the economic constraints we have today in our society, it’s certainly much more of a challenge to sustain ten young children let alone one or two.
To sustain myself! Granted I’m buying foie gras to eat at home. But I think the other part of the reason I don’t like to talk about how cut-throat and difficult politics might be is because I don’t want to discourage anybody from getting involved. And I don’t want fear to be a factor that reduces motivation that way, because I think everybody who can should be practically putting their shoulders to the political wheel. And it literally could be as much as, you know, the Christian conservative talking point of like, hey, maybe you get home from work and you can’t go door knocking or whatever, but maybe you could call your representative’s office and not hang up until they answer your call, right? Because they’ll try and keep you on hold for 45 minutes so you give up, but just put your headphones on, cook dinner while you’re waiting to talk to these people. Because when you lose $300 on a flight cancellation from American Airlines, most people are spending the 40 minutes on the phone to get that 300 bucks back. But you’re losing your country to these politicians, and a lot of people won’t spend the 40 minutes on the phone to get the country back. It’s outrageous.
Right. One thing we have in common is that we’re not American but we both love America. What makes you an Americanophile?
America is what England should have been. It’s old England, right? If you look at Walter Bagehot and the English Constitution, that is effectively the governing philosophy they implemented in America. Had I been one of the Founding Fathers, would I have changed a thing or two? Certainly. I wouldn’t have changed the Senate voting system. Senators used to be elected through the state legislatures, not directly elected by the public. And it was to create this House of Commons / House of Lords type of balance, and they got rid of it – I think it was the 17th Amendment. So now the whole of Congress is democratically elected. It’s majoritarian mob rule effectively. Which sounds funny to be opposed to necessarily as a populist. But populism isn’t democracy, right? Democracy can be a part of an overall, overarching populist philosophy. But the two things are not the same. And you have to have checks and balances in government. And right now in the Congress, you don’t have checks and balances. You may as well go unicameral at this point. You may as well go unicameral in the UK Parliament at this point, because the Lords are not landowners who have a different stake in the future of the nation. It’s just political appointees. The same way that being a member of Parliament is now a political appointee job. It’s just a veneer of democracy. And this is what the left is protecting, by the way: the veneer. It’s not real.
The question about Americaphilia, probably also stems from some environment, some culture that Donald Trump himself actually embodied. Which was hard men who work hard, who play hard. Like tough guys who have a smile on their face. I put an old Coors Light advert on my Instagram reels, with a song about playing touch football, drinking too much and hot cheerleaders played over this heavy rock song and it’s all like “America”… At the end it’s just two cans of beer being smashed together. Fuckin’ drink beer, Right? That is, I think, the America that people miss. The Simpsons, Homer Simpson actually as a character, probably did the most damage to that archetype of the American suburban beer swilling male than anybody else would do. And listen, I understand REN will tell you beer guts and drinking sugar and all of that is a bad thing. Fine, swap it out for whatever you want. But the idea that there was a masculine environment where camaraderie was always the sole currency is something that has been terribly lost. So my Americaphilia is probably not contemporaneous, it’s historic and nostalgic.
I remember as a child – four, five, six years old – I felt like I was in the land of the free whenever I would step off the plane onto US soil. Even at that age, I could feel the energy was so different from Europe. And the infrastructure was more advanced. Trump campaigned on this also, on the country’s crumbling infrastructure. You go to an airport in the U.S. today and you’d think you’re in a third-world country. Meanwhile, airports have been completely modernised in Europe.
And then you go to Asia, you know? Yeah, it’s crazy. We used to come to America a lot as kids because we have family in Florida. And I certainly share those impressions. But as an adult, I have a similar thing as well. I used to decamp at Dulles and as soon as I got off the plane – I used to smoke these Davidoffs – and I would get out a Davidoff, I’d stand outside and just look across Reston, Virginia. The airport is surrounded –– or used to be, I don’t think it’s as many now – on all sides by American flags on different buildings in the distance. And I would always think, “Wow, that’s cool”. You don’t get that level in England where the Union flag is flying from eight, nine buildings. But you’ll have a Gregg’s on any high street.
We experienced this shift between the USA of our childhood where it was normal to be a patriot and to love your country, and today where children are taught to hate their own country and flag.
And further, I would say that it was it was not just normal, it was abnormal to be unpatriotic, you know.
Completely. Even more twisted, they weaponized American patriotism to wage these wars abroad, turn the natsec apparatus inwards, etc… It’s really so sick and evil what these people have done to the country.
Sick, evil – and genius though, right? I always say to people, let’s be smarter. Let’s weaponize everything ourselves. I’m not interested in the people who say “Oh, we’re going to dismantle this and dismantle that”. Fuck that. Let’s weaponize it ourselves. If I were Donald Trump, I would give a speech tomorrow where I say, “Okay, so let’s talk about that last budget deal. You got 93% of funding for the 87,000 IRS officers, right? That means you got 81,000 IRS officers. Yeah, well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do with those 81,000 IRS officers when I’m back in the White House — I’m going to weaponize them against political left and explicitly go through all of your funding, your think tanks, your globalist groups and corporate networks. That’s what we’re going to do. Yeah. How about it?” Suddenly, you’d get someone like Adam Schiff to defund part of it. Like, “Oh, they’re going to use it against us? We don’t need it”. But we’re stupid. We’ll go, “Oh, we’ll fire them on day one”. No, I don’t want to fire them but use them to go through the fucking Left’s garbage cans. How else are you going to get to grips with it now? I don’t think Tom Fitton or James O’Keefe have the operational depth to go through all of that. I don’t know.
Speaking about exposing all these abuses, how did you become involved with the National Pulse?
The Pulse actually used to be the American Principles Project’s in-house campaign blog. I first negotiated the sale of Human Events from Salem, Regnery, took that over and ran it for about a year. That was right after Breitbart. I said to Terry Schilling, “Hey, I want to make something of the Pulse, let’s turn it into a real news site”, because at Human Events I wasn’t in control, and that’s what I needed. As you can probably tell from my website now, everything, all the headlines are written by me, the picture choices are mine, the final copy edit is mine. At Human Events, it became a process by committee, and I don’t do well in committees. So we started the Pulse in early 2020 and did some investigative work, some analysis, published other people, external writers, op-eds.
Then Amanda Milius reaches out to me and she’s like, “Hey, I’ve got a friend from California and she’s young, but she wants to do writing in DC”. And that friend was Natalie [Winters], and Natalie originally wanted to write about the border. In fact, funny story. She couldn’t get a meeting with me because I was just running around being obnoxiously busy. And one day I guess I’m getting in an Uber somewhere and she was at the place I was getting an Uber from, and she goes, “Hey, look, if this is the only chance I can get to talk to you, can I just get in this Uber with you and I’ll, like, find my way back?” I was like, “Yeah, sure, whatever”. So she gets in, starts talking to me. I’m doing the Steve [Bannon] thing where I’m buried in my phone. And she goes, “Oh, I really want to be a writer. I really want to do the news”. She’s 18 at this point in time. I’m thinking, this girl is going to go off to college, I’m never going to hear from her again so what’s the point in entertaining this job interview? And I said, “all right, what’s your beat?” You know, as in what do you want to cover? “The border”. I said, “Yeah, do some border stuff. But to be a border reporter, you really need to be down at the border. And I’m not sending your 18-year-old ass down to the border.” So she went, “Okay, well, what about the China stuff?” I was like, “Now you’re onto something.” And then we spent the next two years owning the China beat. Nathalie was incredible at research and connecting the dots. She was kind of autistic in the way she learned to use government databases and figure out how to find information that they were trying to hide. And it just grew from there.
Three years in, you decide to relaunch the National Pulse. How come?
I had this epiphany over Christmas. People are sick of reading 750, 800 words of dirge copy that’s packed with filler and sub clauses and is trying to keep you on the page as long as possible because those websites place a premium on what they call “time on site”. Because then they can serve you more ads and then they can show their advertisers that their audience spends 15 minutes on average on the site. Yeah, they spend 15 minutes on average on the site because two of your articles take 7 minutes to read each! People don’t want that. They want a 30, 45 seconds, one minute read tops — and get out. And for the people who want more, we have a little button at the bottom of every article now – which I’m going to rename “Go Deeper” – linking to a deeper version of that story. Because guess what? I respect my audience and I’m not going to waste their time. So me and Harlan [Hill] – formerly Trump 2016 and 2020 Advisory Committee, previously a Democrat to that, he was a Bernie bro – we built this new site, and it’s all reader-funded. $9 a month sustains us.
You don’t have any financiers at all?
No finances, no advertising, nothing. No corporate backers, no donors. It’s all reader-funded. That’s why we call ourselves “radically independent”. If people don’t want us to exist, we won’t exist because they will have voted with their wallets. It’s been incredibly successful since we launched it six weeks ago, and we’re almost breaking even already. But I need people to understand this as well. I was doing the calculation today. Between the time spent, staffing, the technology, the support staff… once you factor all of that and then divide it by how many stories we do every month – approximatively 200 – it costs us over $250 to produce one article. So if you like the site and you value the work, which millions of people do because they keep coming back to the site every month, you have to sign up. Otherwise, it’s going to go bankrupt because it’s expensive to produce. The New York Times and the CNN’s of the world can do it because they’re underwritten by advertising from Pfizer and all of this shit. I’m entirely reliant on ordinary, run-of-the-mill patriots. And I don’t want investors because even if you retain control legally, they still text you and call you every day. “Hey, I didn’t like this headline.” “So? So fucking what?” And they’ve invested, you know, a quarter of million dollars or whatever into your product. Yeah I never told them that came with headline-change rights… I once had a donor who called me up and asked me to change the image on an article, because the image implicated another firm on whose board he sat. Well that’s compromise. And I don’t want those compromises.
Conviction over compromise. One last question for our MAN’S WORLD readers before I let you go –– what is masculinity to you?
I would have offered a totally different answer to that question just a few years ago. And I think it’s a testament to the “macho blogosphere” that my answer has changed, because they have helped me reinterpret what masculinity is. I used to think that masculinity was however you felt comfortable as a man, that masculinity can exude through a tailored suit as much as it can exude through looking and being like Liver King. I’ve started to change my view on that, though I still have the most wonderful tailored suits on Capitol Hill. But that’s not what makes the man. The suit is simply a reflection of who you already are. It won’t make you any better. So now I think it comes from the inside out, something I wish I had known earlier in my life. I also wish I had read Marcus Aurelius earlier in my life. I don’t know if you saw one of my tweets last night. I came home drunk and just wrote this long tweet about how I’ve lost five close friends in the last two years. Alcoholism, couple of car accidents, COVID… So I wrote this thing and somebody replied to my tweet and said, “Are you drunk?” And I tweeted back, “Yes. Are you?” There’s a difference between being “drunk” and being “drunk-drunk”, you know? Because Nigel was in the pub multiple times a day, the press would ask him, “Are you an alcoholic?” And he would say, “No, I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a boozer.” Two different things.
Just like I’m not I’m not a stoner. I don’t smoke weed and mong on the couch. I smoke a very specific Afghani strain of Kush that is creative, uplifting, chatty. It’s a stimulant, and I have jars and jars full of this Afghan kush. And if there’s anybody out there who thinks, “Oh, I really like him and I really like his work, I just wish he didn’t smoke weed” – the work wouldn’t exist without the weed. The whole process, everything in it, the weed, the workout, the wine, the women, it’s all part of the same thing. And now I understand that in order to exert influence over all of those things – rather than allow all of those things to exert influence over you – the strength comes from within. The strength comes from physicality, which is why am deadlifting and squatting. Now, I’m not in the best shape by any stretch of the imagination, but you compare a picture of me now to a picture of me five years ago, I’m 40 pounds lighter. You can actually start to see some fucking definition in my arms and my shoulders. And I’m not a little weakling who, if I’m out on a date with a girl and somebody starts a fight, I’m not going to be that little wimp hiding in the corner. But there was a point in my life where I probably would have been. At this point, we need selfless warriors. You can be a little selfish on your own time and your own terms, but when it comes to the work – and I do actually mean it to sound this lofty – of saving Western civilisation from itself and its creations – its demons – you have to be selfless about it. You have to ask yourself what other choice you have, like Trump told me. It’s just no use being on the sidelines, being a cheerleader, or being on the bench. Get on the field. Get on the pitch. And give it everything you have. If a boy from Uxbridge can contribute, in some small way, in some small part, to all that has taken place in global politics in the last decade, then I dare say you have some readers who can do way, way more. Just… do it.