HERZLIYA, Israel — Key members of Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory are now focused on influencing the president from outside of the White House, recently departed White House aide Sebastian Gorka said Monday, predicting further staff shake-ups to come.
“The people most clearly associated with the president’s victory, with what we call the ‘Make America Great Again Agenda,’ were slowly being isolated, were sometimes being fired or pushed out of policy roles,” Gorka told NBC News in an interview. “We decided that we could best support the president outside as private citizens.”
Gorka was in Israel attending a conference at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism outside Tel Aviv, where he gave a keynote speech.
Trump’s controversial former national security aide also predicted a major staff shakeup before Christmas when Trump realizes his current senior aides “are giving him the wrong advice.”
Gorka’s departure last month came one week after Trump’s controversial chief strategist, Steve Bannon, left the administration and was seen as an attempt by the president and his new chief of staff John Kelly to stabilize a White House plagued by infighting.
But Gorka, who was an outspoken campaign surrogate during Trump’s 2016 run, said former advisers continue to have access to the president long after they have left official roles, pointing to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as one example. He said before he departed the White House, “I’d walk into the office and find Corey talking to the president, regularly.”
“You don’t have to pick up a government paycheck to be in discussion with the president or helping him. And one thing about the president, if you’re loyal to him, he’s loyal to you,” Gorka said.
Gorka also left the door open to both him and Bannon returning to the administration.
“I predict, a lot of the changes… almost all the changes in personnel, the significant changes, were not made by the president, they were made by people below him. I predict that soon, perhaps before Christmas, the president will be removing high-ranking individuals from inside his administration because he will realize who he’s surrounded with,” he said.