When asked this week about how he would approach foreign policy, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told MSNBC, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain, and I’ve said a lot of things.” He also announced his lineup of little-known foreign policy advisers, including Joseph Schmitz, a former Pentagon inspector general with ties to the Center for Security Policy, who was forced out of his job amid accusations that he protected high-level officials in the George W. Bush administration who were suspected of wrongdoing. We get reaction from The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, who notes Schmitz is a radical Christian supremacist with an “insane worldview” who was a former executive with Blackwater.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, I wanted to ask about Donald Trump. He originally said on MSNBC, when asked about who his foreign policy advisers were, “I’m speaking with myself, number one,” he said, “because I have a very good brain.” But then, with The Washington Post, he talked about his top foreign policy advisers and named Joseph Schmitz as one of them. Talk about who Joseph Schmitz is.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, Joseph Schmitz was the Pentagon inspector general under Donald Rumsfeld, and he didn’t really inspect much of anything. He was a big cheerleader, actually, for many of the most kind of excessive policies of Rumsfeld and the Pentagon in the post-9/11 world. And when Schmitz left the DOD, he became an executive at Blackwater. And Joseph Schmitz is a — you know, is a radical Christian supremacist. He is a member of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta and really is sort of a — you know, has a neo-crusader worldview. And I’m choosing those words carefully. I mean, that’s — he is definitely a radical Christian supremacist.
And he was an enthusiastic fan of Erik Prince and Blackwater, and he goes and he joins that company. And, you know, this is a guy, though, who — when I was researching him for the Blackwater book, he wrote a series of letters to the editor of conservative newspapers — Washington Times and others — in the ’90s. He was a fanatical opponent of abortion. And in one of the letters, he — I actually want to quote this correctly, because Joseph Schmitz threatened to sue me once — and, of course, he couldn’t, because everything I said was true. But he said, “As a former fetus the plight of aborted innocent human life is as real to me as rape is to most women.”
This is Donald Trump’s, you know, top foreign policy adviser right now. And, you know, I mean, Joseph Schmitz is, in many ways, in Washington a total clown and a joke because of his insane worldview that has no bearing in the modern world, and yet he continues to get government contracts. He was — he was getting paid by the inspector general on Afghanistan under the Obama administration. And, you know, so he’s part of — I wouldn’t even put him in the category of neoconservatives. I mean, it’s really more the neo-crusader crowd that Joseph Schmitz is a part of.