News & Politics

Former ‘Anonymous’ Trump Official Says Trump Supporters Are a Bigger Threat Than Al-Qaeda and ISIS

Tim Godbee/Department of Homeland Security via AP

Great news for diehard Never-Trumpers: Miles Taylor has popped up again, this time going on MSNBC to warn people that the “radicalized elements of the Republican Party now represent a bigger threat to our democracy than organizations like al-Qaeda or ISIS ever did.” It’s as ridiculous as it is ominous, and it’s clear from such over-the-top hyperbole and defamation that Miles Taylor and his ilk actually represent a bigger threat to our republic than anything they’re fearmongering about on MSNBC.

In case you’ve already forgotten, as most people have, Miles Taylor shot to a kind of fame in September 2018, when he wrote an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times that was one of the first open acknowledgments that there was a coterie of federal bureaucrats that is determined to thwart Trump’s agenda by any means possible: “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration: I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Taylor followed that up in November 2019 with the ostentatiously anomymous book A Warning, one of the first publications in what became a cottage industry of Trump-is-stupid-and-evil books. A Warning was credited to “A Senior Trump Administration Official”; both the op-ed and the book gave rise to a great deal of speculation as to who the author really was: John Kelly? John Bolton? Mike Pence? The disappointment was palpable when Anonymous turned out not to be a senior Trump administration official at all, but just little Miles Taylor, a thirtysomething former chief of staff to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. That’s right: a nonentity.

But Miles Taylor hates Trump, and that was his ticket. He became a CNN contributor and regular establishment media talking head, ever ready to stoke the fires of Trump derangement whenever called upon to do so. But Miles’ latest MSNBC appearance was so outlandish, so extreme, so utterly insane in its Trump-hatred that it suggests that the glamor of “Anonymous” is wearing off, and Taylor is desperately casting about for a way to remain a media darling. His plan seems to be to throw ever larger rhetorical grenades.

Nicolle Wallace asked Taylor on Wednesday if he thought that “the insurrectionists were domestic terrorists.” If Taylor had had any integrity at all (but of course that ship sailed long ago), he would have responded that not only were the “insurrectionists” not domestic terrorists, but they weren’t even “insurrectionists.” Instead, he claimed that he had discussed the matter with “a very prominent former U.S. commander who said there are elements of the GOP that are starting to look like the jihadists that he used to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, spreading lies and conspiracy theories to radicalize a population.”

In reality, the jihadis in Afghanistan and Iraq are not notably given to “spreading lies and conspiracy theories,” any more than “elements of the GOP” outside of the Romney/Cheney wing are. Rather, they appeal to the public on the basis of Islam’s teachings regarding the necessity to wage jihad against an infidel invader, and the ultimate religious necessity to ensure that society is governed according to Islamic law.

But Taylor needs to claim this in order to tar the GOP as worse than al-Qaeda and ISIS, and he digs even deeper: “I say this as a counterterrorism guy. If you look in time at terrorism movements, they don’t start usually immediately with violence. They usually start with a political grievance that leaders say cannot be solved through peaceful means. And then they move to violence. So after Trump started to propagate the big lie in November, a lot of us in the national security community said what he’s doing is actually tilling the fertile soil for extremists to pop up later on. In fact, we saw it as a ticking time bomb for an increase in domestic terrorism, and I think over the next two years I think you’re going to see that.”

Related: How Trump Derangement Syndrome Makes You Stupid

What Taylor is doing is tilling the fertile soil for the Left to portray all who oppose it as potentially violent extremists, or just outright violent extremists even if they’ve never espoused violence, and accordingly to criminalize dissent from its agenda. Taylor predicted: “You’re going to see that because radicalized elements of the Republican party now represent a bigger threat to our democracy than organizations like al-Qaeda or ISIS ever did.”

This breathtaking exercise in moral equivalence shows that Taylor knows as little about al-Qaeda and ISIS as he likely does about Republicans and conservatives; perhaps sensing how hysterical he sounded, he immediately began walking his statement back: “Not necessarily to human lives, but a bigger threat to our democracy than those terrorist groups ever did, because these are… political institutions that are attacking our democracy, trying to rewrite the rules, and irrevocably breaking our bonds as Americans, and they’re doing it all from the inside. It’s something that our enemies could never have even dreamed of.”

No one seems sure who first said it, maybe Joseph Goebbels, but in any case it’s a tried-and-tested Alinskyite tactic: accuse your enemy of what you’re doing. Miles Taylor has learned the lesson well, and found an eager Leftist audience for his “insurrectionist” red meat. All he lacks is the insurrection. That’s where framing us comes in.