DAILY SIGNAL: Former Trump Adviser Warns Against Ravages of Globalism

In the wake of globalization, the industrial base of the country has been hollowed out. Booming towns throughout the Rust Belt began to hemorrhage residents as jobs dried up and were shipped overseas.

Americans are beginning to seriously question whether the decision to send manufacturing overseas was worth it.

Paige Willey, a former adviser to then-President Donald Trump and host of the “This Is Your Country” podcast, joins the show to discuss how globalism has ravaged America, and what can be done to counter it.

We also cover these stories:

  • The Labor Department reports inflation rose to a whopping annual rate of 9.1% in June, the highest rate in nearly 41 years.
  • An Austin, Texas, newspaper releases portions of school surveillance footage showing law enforcement officers retreating from gunfire in the hallways of an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, during a May mass shooting.
  • Louisiana state District Judge Donald Johnson temporary enjoins a state law banning most abortions in the state pending a lawsuit challenging the legislation.
  • Citing safety concerns for staff and customers, Starbucks announces it plans to close 16 of its coffee shops across the country.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Douglas Blair: My guest today is Paige Willey, a former adviser to then-President [Donald] Trump and host of the “This Is Your Country” podcast with American Firebrand. Paige, welcome to the show.

Paige Willey: Thank you. It’s so nice to be here.

Blair: Well, we’re very happy to have you here. And let’s talk about your podcast a little bit. You cover a host of issues relating to America on your podcast. And your most recent issue was how Washington elites and globalists are kind of hurting the American experiment and Americans overall. So what issues are you sort of trying to expose your audience to and what do you sort of hope they take away from your show?

Willey: Yes. Thank you for asking and thank you for plugging “This Is Your Country.” It’s a show that’s a lot of fun to do because I try to bring the listener in on the revelation of what information I’m using to sort of demonstrate these policy viewpoints.

And so on the topic of globalism, the key consideration there that I feel I’ve identified is that this is when leaders of this country prioritize abstractions and high-minded moral crusades over the material welfare of the American people.

And they expand their focus from the questions of economic prosperity, questions of where is the future of this country going, what are Americans wages, job prospects, their family formation prospects. And instead, take on causes the planet over on saying, we have huge waves of migration that we need to expect, that we need to prepare for.

We have the situation in Ukraine that Americans—[Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell called it the most important situation in the world. That type of focus that really broadens out their interest from how are we using Americans resources and the power of the government to fix people’s lives, make things better in this country, and expanding it to a lot of causes that—and as I expose in a recent podcast episode that you mention—sort of causes that are often someone is enriching themselves off of them. There’s foreign lobbyists, there’s a whole host of interlopers and people enriching themselves off of the cause of how is American power and money spent.

Blair: So it seems like globalism is just a bit of an issue overall. I’m getting that vibe from you here. And you apparently do a lecture called “How to be an Anti-Globalist.” You did it recently here in Washington. But I guess, specifically, why is globalism such a bad thing? Is it just it’s being done wrong or is globalism as a concept not working?

Willey: Great question. OK. “How to be an Anti-Globalist”—that’s my pun on the common “How to be an Anti-Racist.” It’s not enough to not be a globalist, you have to actively be an anti-globalist, if you love your country.

No, I’m being a little bit funny there. But the key thing is that, as I say, it is the replacing of the interests of the American people with things that are often not in their interests, they are enriching someone at our expense.

And what I try to explain, especially with issues of things like trade and immigration, if you got the issue of immigration, a lot of times the globalist perspective is, “Well, America is such a wonderful prosperous country. Of course, we want to welcome as many people here that we can.”

And to me that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing when it goes beyond the policy considerations of what are the downsides, what are the costs … if we open up America to enormous waves of immigration? What efforts are we making to assimilate people to make sure that this is the prosperous and unified harmonious country that people want to come to?

And so oftentimes these, as I call them, high-minded abstractions are not accompanied by the practical, pragmatic considerations of how is this affecting the American worker, the American family? So I just try to bring people back to things that rather than making it an ideological conversation, look at the data, look at it quantitatively, right?

It’s like, if you believe in supply and demand at all, and you’ve got a president like Joe Biden, bringing in 3 million people over the border every year, you necessarily have to believe that there’s going to be some wage and economic competition there for people.

Especially as you’re seeing some of this political backlash in places like South Texas, backlash from recent immigrants who are being out-competed by another 3 million people every year for the same jobs, in some cases. Right? Not to overgeneralize, but just to give a sense of how these dynamics are sometimes not totally explored in the common discourse on these issues.

Blair: So how does one then be an anti-globalist? Obviously, it’s not enough to just be anti-globalist, you have to be an anti-globalist.

Willey: You have to be an anti-globalist, exactly. So I guess, as I say, my perspective is, look at some of these issues quantitatively, look at who is affected by them. And rather than speaking in moral crusades, rather than speaking in, “Well, America has always been a nation of welcome,” well, of course we love that. And no one is impugning that, right? But the fact is, look at some of these situations where it is hurting people. And so that’s where I push for.

And where I sort of bring it back to some of these things that President Trump campaigned on in 2015 and 2016, where he was one of the first politicians to really put a finer point on this and say, it’s nice to talk about free trade in the abstract. But if you are not protecting your exports in some way, where if you’re just hoping that other countries will, out of altruism, let you send your exports to their country, etc., etc., be out of, I don’t know, devotion to liberal, the liberal world order, then you are not making good choices on behalf of your country. You’re not operating in the realm of reality.

So, how to be an anti-globalist, to answer your question, it’s important for politicians and policymakers to look at these things seriously and say, “Am I speaking in a way to other countries that indicates that I put my country’s self-interest first? Which is a good thing.

It means that everyone can get closer to what they want in an international community. It means that you are defending your citizen’s interests.

And in the absence of that, when they’re speaking only in philosophical terms, as a lot of Joe Biden’s advisers do—you’ll hear Jake Sullivan, national security adviser; Brian Deese, the National Economic Council director; speaking in these very abstract terms and not speaking specifically about the welfare of our people. That’s where the crux comes in.

Blair: And it seems like we’re starting to see a pushback to this. Obviously, as you mentioned, and we talked a little bit about, you worked in the Trump administration. And Trump’s, it seemed like, victory was almost predicated on this idea that people were kind of tired of a global-based economy. They were looking at the the Rust Belt and they said, “Well, this wasn’t like this in the past. How do we get back to that?” Are we seeing that pushback continue, that Americans are still against globalism as a whole?

Willey: Great question. I think that the pandemic really exposed a lot of the weaknesses and downsides of globalism. You saw the issues with supply chains, people realizing, “Oh my goodness, we make so much medical supplies in China. We make so many medications in China.”

We are in a position of weakness and at a disadvantage because our economy has been offshore to such an extent. We’ve lost knowhow.

Even in some cases, you have situations where companies thought that they were offshoring to China to, I don’t know, to save costs or to access the market in a lot of instances. Right? And the Chinese government, their condition was, “OK. Well, you can have access to our market, build your factory here, etc. But you have to share all of your IP with us.” Right?

And so, but then what they would do is they, after a couple years of learning how to make whatever American product it was, a vaccine, a medication, they would revoke that company’s license to sell it in China and start making it themselves. It was bad business sense.

And what I try to make the connection of with some of these elements of globalism is that when a big powerful corporation or an industry that enjoys a lot of sway in Washington makes such shortsighted decisions with their own business, it’s dangerous when they have so much sway over what happens in Washington with the nation’s business. Right?

Blair: Mm-hmm. OK. So it sounds like we have this issue with globalism that was addressed at least slightly under President Trump. But we are now almost two years into a Biden administration that is bad.

I mean, I think that most Americans are suffering now more than they ever have. Is that a shift back to globalism that we can blame as that cause? I mean, obviously, the Biden administration views the world quite differently than President Trump does.

Willey: That is my argument, that the chief weakness that we are seeing and this devotion in a way to decline under Joe Biden is attributable to globalism. Because as I say, he has broadened his focus from the national interest. Oftentimes, they won’t even justify things in the terms of the national interest.

They will justify it, as you heard Brian Deese say the other day when he was being interviewed about gas prices, which is an issue where so many Americans are suffering right now. They’re worried, “Can I afford to drive to my job?” Right? And he is saying, basically, the suffering will continue until the liberal world order is achieved.

That is I could not have dreamed up a more perfect case study of my sort of diagnosis of this, which is it is the replacement of the material interest of the American people with these sort of baby talk abstractions, right? What does that even mean?

And the further element of this that I try to expose on my podcast is that the Founding Fathers, when they were designing our country, they were protectionists. Their first piece of significant legislation that they passed in the first United States Congress was a tariff.

And you had a lot of deep thinking from Alexander Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers on the value of building up a strong export economy. And that knowing that if we had had weaknesses in that element, that other countries who wanted us to fail, who wanted our very new experimental nation, who wanted us to fail would be delighted to see us have struggle to build up our exports, struggle to build our industry.

And the saddest thing is that that is exactly what the leaders of this country did for close to 30 or 40 years, is dismantle offshore, disassemble our entire industrial power, which was what made us strong in the first place, right? The United States was producing something like 60% of the world [gross domestic product] after World War II. Where has that gone?

Blair: Right. I mean, I think it’s interesting that you mentioned the Founders because obviously the conservative movement tries to trace a lot of its legacy, its thoughts, its political philosophy toward the founding, right?

Looking at the Constitution, the declaration as our baseline, whereas the left is represented by the sort of progressives and Joe Biden does not, do we think that there’s anything in particular that the Founders can offer to the Biden administration that would, say, fix the issues?

Willey: Oh, a huge amount. But the especially important element here is some of these insights, as I say, pertaining to the material prosperity of the nation, the material strength of your nation. And I don’t mean to sound like some type of cold-hearted utilitarian. That’s not what I mean at all.

It’s that they were saying, “If you love your country, you want to build a successful experiment, these are the fundamentals of it.” Right? And so when you drift and stray and even subvert these fundamentals, you are making your country weaker.

So one particular example, Biden and a number of people in Congress, including some GOP senators, lots of Democrats, are looking at repealing the China tariffs that President Trump applied. And to me, that is a horrible misunderstanding of how to make our country strong. And that’s why I invoke some of these viewpoints from the Founders. Their first piece of legislation that was significant, a tariff. Right?

And so it’s almost as if when people, especially Republicans, want to claim the mantle, the noble mantle of the people who are true to the origins of this country, the people are true to the spirit of the founding, they—sometimes I want to send them a letter, “Maybe you need to brush up on your Hamilton a little bit. Maybe you need to brush up on your Federalist Papers a little bit.” Because these were understood, as I say, just to be the true fundamental truths of how to make a country strong.

Blair: Shifting slightly back to President Trump. The current administration has been trying to label anything that is either Trump adjacent or related to Trump as ultra MAGA.

Willey: That’s right.

Blair: Or what was it? … Ultra King Trump or something?

Willey: The MAGA King.

Blair: MAGA King, that was it. That was it. They try to label these policies that they think will be unpopular with the American people as ultra MAGA and ultra king. Why though? It seems like this is something relating to what people generally want.

Willey: Yeah. Imagine that, people wanting their country to be great. Crazy. So, yes. I mean, it’s a dangerous game that they play sometimes because—here’s my viewpoint. The Democrats, they run a very centralized top-down messaging operation. And you see this a lot of times.

… You can tell when the talking points were distributed because they will all start saying the same thing about the same topic, ranging from [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to Biden’s advisers, to people on MSNBC, whatever.

The latest one it feels like is they’re all talking about the gas companies need to get those prices down: “Why won’t you lower prices? You’re gouging consumers.” And everyone knows that it’s transparently false.

But the power of what they do, in a way, I mean, I think they always have a challenge because they are fighting the truth and the truth is a force of nature. And so they necessarily have to invest in this big ecosystem of propaganda and information control and information influence in a way. So the centralized messaging becomes a necessity.

But the key thing there is that the American people are not finding this convincing. The more that you accuse people who want the country to be great of doing something extremist, doing something out of the mainstream, it’s just not comporting with how people are perceiving it. Right?

And when they have stewarded our country to decline to such an extent by every measure, it’s a risk to paint your opponents as wanting to make the country too great for your liking.

Blair: One of the things that’s sort of related to that, and again, focusing on America and making America great, is this push toward allowing global institutions like the [World Health Organization], for example, to have outsized sway in domestic affairs, right?

There were rumors for a long time that the WHO medical board, I can’t remember what it was called, but they were going to have basically the first response toward pandemics and that the U.S. would be beholden to that.

How do we as American citizens counter that if our government seems to be going headlong into wanting that to be the case?

Willey: Excellent question and excellent salient topic. A key thing there is, I just think that the Republican Party can, in its way, return to its roots, return to its mantle as the small government, less spending party by looking at some of those obligations. Look at some of those institutions, audit how much we spend, audit our obligations to them, reform them.

Even defund them in a way, which was something President Trump did at one point because of their horrible performance with the pandemic and lying to us, misleading the world about it. Clearly, working directly with China. In that case, they are collaborating with a foreign adversary on something that was killing our own citizens.

And then the first day that Joe Biden is in office, he’s got that giant stack of executive orders on his desk. And one of them was rejoining, refunding the WHO. To me, that’s something that is worthy when Republicans take Congress back, of examining that relationship, looking at our funding again, and even looking at Joe Biden’s role in that.

Because if this is an entity that—and this was something I heard [Dr.] Tony Fauci say personally in a task force meeting in the White House, that he knew Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus], the head of the WHO, to be compromised by China. He said he has a China problem.

And to me, if our president is advised by someone who knows that this organization is compromised by a foreign adversary, and they give our money to it anyway, and even sublimate our sovereignty to that organization with decision-making power, you’ve got potentially even a criminal question there. Right?

I don’t want to overly speculate, but to me, that is of concern to a lot of Americans. Republicans, if they take back Congress, will have tools to deal with some of this.

Blair: OK. As we begin to wrap-up here, I want to sort of end on a similar note to that question. It seems unlikely that the Biden administration is going to move in a direction that is pro-American. They’re not going to be pursuing policies that are—I mean, we literally just heard that they were selling gas to China. But what can Americans do at the local level to prevent the worst impulses of the Biden administration from coming through?

Willey: Gosh, great question. I think the most important thing is that we not be demoralized out of recognizing the type of leadership we deserve. …

As you say, local activity is a great one. I think people have strayed in a way. And the pandemic was hard and we have a huge amount of polarization in this country, but I do wish that more Americans would do outreach in their communities that doesn’t have anything to do with politics in a way.

And I feel like you can find communities that are dedicated to even—the sad thing is even the Boy Scouts, that’s been subverted in a way by ideology and other things. But I think that so many Americans are not ideologues. Right?

We in Washington, we think of things in terms of ideology because it’s our career and it’s our position, it’s our responsibility in society. But there’s so many Americans who are not ideologues. And so I think that it would be really nice to see a resurgence of sports leagues and these things that people do that have nothing to do with that.

And I know that people want it, and they’re frustrated with the level of ideology in the discourse as well. But honestly, being good citizens in your own community goes a really far way. And it’s in a way, it builds up your credibility as a good person when you have so many people around us doing evil things in the name of being compassionate and virtuous.

Blair: That’s … a great point. And that was Paige Willey, a former adviser to president Trump and host of the “This Is Your Country” podcast with American Firebrand. Paige, very much appreciate your time.

Willey: Thank you so much for having me on. It’s great to be here.

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