WASHINGTON — A cabal of leftist “deep state” government workers, “globalists,” bankers, adherents to Islamic fundamentalism and establishment Republicans are conspiring to remove President Trump and impose cultural Marxism in the United States, according to a former White House aide whose darkly worded memo detailing the alleged conspiracy got him removed last month from the National Security Council.
The seven-page memo by Rich Higgins, who had been a director for strategic planning at the council, is a manifesto against multiculturalism and political correctness, and a call, using apocalyptic language, for the president to return to the message that animated his campaign.
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While it is not clear the document ever reached Mr. Trump’s desk, its emergence highlights the deep divide within the White House between Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and harder line officials aligned with Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, over the administration’s direction.
With its highly charged language and overtly political tone, the memo, which Mr. Higgins drafted on his White House computer and circulated to colleagues, set off alarm bells inside the West Wing. Most documents emanating from the National Security Council amount to dryly worded policy dissertations and intricate planning documents.
“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” Mr. Higgins wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Foreign Policy and published on Thursday. “Recognizing in candidate Trump an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative, those that benefit recognize the threat he poses and seek his destruction.”
Among those threatened by Mr. Trump is the “hard left,” Mr. Higgins wrote. He said it was “aligned with lslamist organizations,” including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Council on American-Islamic Relations; the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter; and the United Nations.
“Complicating the current situation, many close to the president have pushed him off his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base thereby isolating him in the process,” Mr. Higgins wrote. He was echoing the concerns of some of Mr. Trump’s earliest supporters, who have recently stepped up a public campaign to press for General McMaster’s ouster. “When President Trump is not candidate Trump, he becomes dangerously exposed.”
Mr. Higgins did not respond to messages requesting comment on Friday. A White House spokesman also declined to comment.
But two administration officials with knowledge of the situation said that after Mr. Higgins had circulated the document, which was widely viewed as inappropriate, he was ordered to resign. His resignation was demanded by Maj. Gen. Ricky Waddell, the deputy national security adviser, after consulting with General McMaster, according to the two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.
The episode came to light during what appears to be General McMaster’s slow-rolling purge against hard-line aides on his staff who were close to Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, and shared Mr. Bannon’s antiglobalist views. General McMaster succeeded Mr. Flynn after he resigned in February after the revelation that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about a telephone call with Russia’s ambassador.
Last week, Mr. McMaster dismissed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who ran the council’s intelligence division and whose ouster had been opposed by Mr. Bannon and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Derek Harvey, the top Middle East adviser, and Tera Dahl, the deputy chief of staff and a former writer for Breitbart News, which Mr. Bannon once ran, also resigned last month. The departure of Mr. Higgins as a result of his memo was first reported by The Atlantic.
The housecleaning has inflamed conservatives who have long been wary of General McMaster. Frank Gaffney Jr., the president of the Center for Security Policy and the architect of a public campaign to lobby for the general’s firing, has singled out Mr. Higgins, a former Department of Defense employee, as a cause célèbre and on Friday called his memo “required reading.”
“The document’s alarming depiction of a multidimensional campaign to take down the president of the United States, backed by rigorous analysis, makes clear that the man deserving termination is not Rich Higgins, but the general who punished him — and, thereby, tried to suppress his warning,” Mr. Gaffney said in a statement on Friday.
Paul Nehlen, who is mounting his second Republican primary challenge against Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, posted a message on Twitter last week urging activists to call the White House and tell Mr. Trump “we want #McMaster fired for exiting Rich Higgins and other warriors fighting the Islamists.”
Yet Mr. Trump has appeared to be unmoved by the campaign to remove his national security adviser. On Thursday, the president said he “absolutely” had full confidence in General McMaster, adding: “He’s our friend. He’s my friend. And he’s a very talented man. I like him and I respect him.”
Before arriving at the White House, Mr. Higgins had been outspoken. He appeared on Sean Hannity’s talk radio show and on other conservative news outlets last year to share his views, including that the Muslim Brotherhood had taken over the decision-making in the White House during the Obama administration, and that the concept of Islamophobia had been invented by terrorists to squelch critical thinking in the West.
In a video posted on Friday by the liberal-leaning group Right Wing Watch, Mr. Higgins is seen giving a talk in which he said administrations of both parties were to blame for the failure of the United States to curb terrorism.
“You’d sit in these meetings in the Bush administration, and the Muslim Brotherhood guys — they’d be in the meetings, at the table with you; in the Obama administration, they’re running the meetings,” Mr. Higgins said in the video, which appeared to have been recorded last year. “You don’t have to hate all Muslims — all right, I have Muslim friends — but you have to hate Islam.”