Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, schooled a pair of MSNBC hosts Tuesday during a tense back-and-forth about radical Islamic terrorism.
Gorka and the MSNBC hosts were discussing the recent aggression from North Korea and terrorism in general. The hosts, Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle, asked Gorka how the Trump administration plans to deal with the growing threat of less-organized attacks from radical militants, which have plagued Western Europe for the last two years.
Gorka said that first and foremost, the Trump administration will combat the growing threat by correctly diagnosing the problem and calling it what it is: radical Islamic terrorism.
“[Our policy] jettisons the political correctness of the last eight years, and we call the enemy for what it is. We don’t say that they’re unemployed people that just need more jobs—“ Gorka said before Velshi interrupted him.
“How does that actually stop an attack?” Velshi asked.
Gorka was referring to comments a State Department spokeswoman made in 2015 about Islamic State militants, which led to widespread criticism. Marie Harf, who at the time was the State Department spokesperson, said on MSNBC that in order to defeat the Islamic State, the U.S. must "go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups” before suggesting that a "lack of opportunity for jobs” was a root cause of Islamic terrorism.
“You cannot solve a problem unless you are allowed to talk truthfully about it. So we call it 'radical Islamic terrorism,’ we will target the ideology and we will call them out for being evil,” Gorka explained.
But Velshi just wasn’t getting on board. He followed up by asking Gorka how properly naming terrorism actually helps combat it.
"So if you, God forbid, got cancer and the hospital was forbidden from calling it cancer and said, ‘You have the flu, go home and hydrate and take some aspirins,' would you actually have the right treatment?” Gorka asked.
"No, but there's still no cure for cancer,” Ruhle shot back.
"Sorry, but have you not heard of chemo?” Gorka responded.
"I have heard of chemo, and cancer can still kill you. So it doesn't matter what you call it,” Ruhle said.
"It doesn't matter what you call it? Really?” Gorka questioned. "So if I call it the flu and say, ‘Go home and take some aspirin,' what's going to happen to you?"
Velshi then chimed in to tell Gorka that he should have a better response to his “very straightforward question."
"I gave you a very simple answer. If you misdiagnose anything, whether it's a serious disease or an international geopolitical threat, you will never solve it,” Gorka said. "For the last eight years, we've had an administration that would say, ‘Oh, it's economic, all these people are disenfranchised.’
“No, it’s not about economics, it’s not about being disenfranchised. It’s about people who have an ideology that is evil and has to be destroyed,” he added as Velshi attempted to talk over him.
The MSNBC hosts went on to reiterate their original question: What will the Trump administration do about combating “lone wolf” attackers?
Gorka responded with an answer that left the MSNBC anchors speechless.
"There's no such thing as a lone wolf. You do know that? That was a phrase invented by the last administration to make Americans stupid,” Gorka said. "There has never been a serious attack or a serious plot that was unconnected from ISIS or Al-Qaeda, at least through the ideology and the TTPs, the tactics, the training, the techniques, and the procedures that they supply through the internet. Never happened. It's bogus. This is an international global threat.
"What we have to do now is not only destroy organizations like ISIS, which we are doing — they will be annihilated — but also delegitimize the ideology so it will become as heinous and as rejected as fascism and nazism is today. That black flag of ISIS has to be globally rejected like the swastika, and we will work with our Muslim partners to overtly and covertly delegitimize their message,” he said. "That’s the definition of victory. When people don't want to become jihadis, that's when we will have won."