Sebastian Gorka at Restoration Weekend

The vital ingredients of a true freedom fight.

Editor's note: Below are the video and transcript of remarks given by Sebastian Gorka at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2018 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 15th-18th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.


An introduction my father would’ve been proud of and my mother would’ve believed. Thank you, Mark. Think about it. Okay, David, I’m not coming to speak here again, ever, if I have to go after Milo in drag, okay? Not happening. That is a tough act to follow, but thank you, and it links very nicely to what I have to say, but I second everything he said about you, David. What you have done for the cause of liberty is not calculable by human mind, so David, thank you for everything you’ve done. Now I was going to come here and talk about my book, Why We Fight, to sell that book to you, but then some guy called Michael Finch said you’re all going to get free copies. So I don’t know what to talk about. So thank you, Michael, and thank you, David. So I’ve been noodling on what I should talk about today, and I wasn’t here for the previous panels, but as I’ve been floating around the hotel, there’s a theme. 

People come up to me, and Mary was the last person at our reception to say what everybody else is saying, and what I understand has been happening, is that everybody’s really pumped. I always find this an event, and I heard this phrase three times tonight, I find this is an event to recharge my batteries as a conservative with my fellow conservatives, and that’s absolutely right. And people want to fight is what I heard, but they don’t know what to do. This is what I heard again and again. What do we do as people who care for the republic? So I’m not going to try and preach to the choir. I’m just going to do a couple of things and then leave a little bit of time for your questions, which are always the most important.

So first things first, let me give you Seb Gorka’s take on the midterms – thank you. Because I was in a studio doing live commentary for the whole night, and at about, when did Brett call it? Brett called it at 10:30, right, Brian? So Brett calls it at 10:30, and then my phone starts to literally melt. All my friends are going what, what’s going to happen for the next two years? All my conservatives were in a panic and I thought about, hang on a second, this is America, okay. We’ve survived this far. And so immediately, as soon as there was the next break, I got on Twitter, and I said, Guys, Brett may have called it statistically. I’m going to call it strategically. There’s only three things you need to know about the midterms. Number one, there was no blue wave. Number two, we still have the Senate and we’re even stronger. Oh, and number three, a man called Donald Trump is still the President. So count to ten and take a deep breath. I worked for the man as Candidate Trump and I worked for him as strategist in the White House. Donald J. Trump is an unstoppable force of nature. He has already, already, in less than 24 months, achieved more than most Presidents achieve in eight years. As my friend Hugh Hewitt says, the two dispositive pieces of evidence that this man is a true conservative are Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. After that, just go home, right? He’s saved the Republic for at least 30 years with those two decisions. After ISIS, 401(k), immigration reform, unemployment, and it’s just icing on the cake. And don’t worry. We will have six more years of Donald Trump. Relax, relax.

It’s quite remarkable to me. I just turned 48. If I had a quarter of that 72‑year-old man’s energy, I would be a happy man. I’ve never seen him yawn in the afternoon, say, “Guys, I’m going to take a nap now.” It’s quite remarkable, quite remarkable, and as long as he’s there, we have to help him, but here’s just how deep his commitment is. When he came to the question of Jerusalem, a cabinet member told me, I can’t tell you who, but a cabinet member told me that when it came to the last decision point, only three people in the cabinet supported the President. Three. Everybody else, including some people who have rather serious reputations as tough individuals, said “Mr. President, don’t do it. You will ignite World War III, and every embassy in the region will be set ablaze after your decision.” What did Donald Trump say? He said, “I promised the American people that I’m going to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the eternal Jewish state. I promised our closest friends in the Middle East, Israel, and by the way, it’s the right thing to do.” That, that, ladies and gentlemen, that is Donald Trump.

So I’m trying to be an optimist, because I’m an American now, and it’s our default setting, right. We’re optimists, and I’m proud to be American, but I also have Hungarian blood running in my veins, and you know what they say about Hungarians and pessimism. So here comes the reality check about the next, not two years, the next 20 years. Two days ago, we were at the Victims of Communism Memorial Fund Gala and they just released the new YouGov poll.

Welcome, Milo. Thank you for your kind words.

So the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has just released their annual poll. Fifty-two percent of millennials in America wish to live in a Socialist or Communist state. No, no boo. Boo is not a serious response, okay? I want to be deadly serious here. The majority of America’s children wish to live in a system that tortured my father, that executed people in their millions. So we have work to do. So what is the work we’re going to do? Let’s get back to the good news. Milo is proof of something very interesting happening in American culture, and it’s the fact that we conservatives are the cool kids. It’s really weird. American counterculture is now conservative.

Think about that sentence. American counterculture, which spans everything from Milo to Ben Shapiro, belongs to us. And that’s very important, but it’s not enough. And here I’m going to get personal, and I’m going to put a plea out to all of you, because you have fought in the trenches with people like David and myself by making it possible that we can do our work, and David didn’t know I was going to make this appeal, like I didn’t know Milo was going to upstage me before I spoke, which I will not forget, Mr. Finch, wherever you are. And Hungarians have long memories, anyway. But we have to get smarter about how we win. If 52 percent of America’s kids want to live in Venezuela, we have a heavy, heavy lift in front of us. 

So here’s my request to you. We have to take what David has done for us over decades and move it into the environment of the counterculture and the 20-somethings. We have to see a genetic engineering. We have to see a DNA level recombination of split genes between David Horowitz and the likes of Milo and Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, because otherwise, that number is going to increase. So what does this entail? It entails spending your money more intelligently. Your money has to be spent not on another full-page ad in the Washington Times. You know what I mean. It makes no difference. We’ve got to stop preaching to the choir, and we’ve got to tell the truth, and I’ll just give away the crown jewels from Breitbart. When I came on as national security editor for Breitbart, I was there to do quality control on all our coverage, and I was given just one rule by Steve and by Alex Marlowe. They said, whatever we do, whatever is published through our web site must meet some very simple criteria. Number one, it’s go to push the mission forward. It’s got to contribute to the republic and to freedom. Number two, it’s got to be interesting, and then lastly, it’s got to be about villains and heroes. 

My last book, which became a New York Times bestseller, was about defeating jihadists, and I sat down to write it as, as an absolute wonk. I was going to write a book of counterterrorism for counterterrorism wonks, and then my wife looks at me and says, “Do you want people to buy your book? Or do you just want it to be on the library shelf?” And she’s a genius. She says you’ve got to connect. You’ve got to connect with your audience. What did I do? The first chapter, the prologue of Defeating Jihad is about a 15‑year-old boy walking through the ruins of Budapest after the Nazi occupation and almost the total destruction of his beloved country who has hope for the future, but then at the age of 18, sees his country taken over, not by the fascists now, but by the communists, and he decides to resist quietly. He creates a secret underground organization at college to undermine the communist dictatorship. 

Unfortunately, this effort is betrayed by none other than Kim Philby, and Kim Philby betrayed this man, who at the age of 20, with nine of his fellow patriots, was put on a show trial, tortured, and arrested, and given a life sentence. One of them was executed, but the rest ended up in prison, and that man was, of course, my father, who was liberated by the Hungarian revolutionaries in 1956, and with the 17‑year-old daughter of a fellow prison mate, literally crawled across a minefield to freedom and were married, and those were my parents. And whenever I meet anybody who’s read Defeating Jihad, do they want to talk to me about Sayyid Qutb, the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda? No. They want to talk about my father’s story. They want to talk about how my father’s story shaped my understanding of the totalitarian threat today, whether it’s posed by Communists, fascists, or jihadists. So we as a movement must reconnect with the American people. The average American, I guarantee you, I guarantee you, 360 million Americans, have no idea who Matt Drudge is, no idea. We live in a bubble. We have to connect with these people.

So I don’t have a concrete programmatic recommendation for you. These are the thoughts I bring to you as fresh as the reception before dinner, but we have to take it back. We have to teach people through experience what it means to live under socialism, what it means to live under Communism, what it does to the human soul, and why Reagan was so right that the loss of liberty is always but one generation away. Is that heavy enough? Okay. Oh, and the last thing, what that man just did is priceless, humor. Humor hurts totalitarians. So my cri de coeur to you is to take this event, this incredible event we have, the Restoration Weekend, not as a chance simply to meet the people who are in the fight again and to recharge your batteries, but to reassess how you’re going to be part of the fight, whether with your money, supporting the conservative counterculture, or whether – where’s Linda, where’s my raven-haired friend Linda? Or be like this woman who actually doesn’t just sit on Facebook and Twitter, but gets out there in the face of the Democrats at the polling stations as they’re cheating, okay, that is part of the recount that keeps her eye on the cheaters as they’re trying to steal elections here in Florida. There’s lots of ways to be part of it and everything counts from your vote, to local volunteering, to that check you write, to Turning Point USA with David Horowitz. These are all part of a true freedom fight.