Unexpected Role Minorities Might Play in California 2020 Electorate: Shawn Steel

June 27, 2019 Updated: July 15, 2019

Just how will ethnic minorities in California factor into the 2020 election, perhaps in ways we don’t expect?

What’s unique about President Trump’s response to Iran’s recent attack on a U.S. surveillance drone?

And how might issues surrounding free speech on college campuses be related to persecutions seen on the other side of the world, in places like communist China?

In this episode of American Thought Leaders, Jan Jekielek sits down with Shawn Steel, Republican National Committeeman for California, who has had a legal practice in Orange County for 30 years.

They discuss Trump’s 2020 campaign, why Steel became a Trump supporter, and Steel’s views on the current state of conservatism in California.

And on the heels of the recent state department Report on International Religious Freedom, they explore the importance of freedom of belief, in America and beyond.

Jan Jekielek: Shawn Steel, wonderful to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Shawn Steel: Thank you. This is exciting.

Mr. Jekielek: It is exciting. President Trump just launched his official 2020 campaign in Florida, and you are the California RNC committeeman. Were you there?

Mr. Steel: I wasn’t there, but I think, me and millions and millions of others were watching it on TV. It was the biggest campaign reelection start in American history. People were waiting for 40 hours outside for the opportunity to get inside. Tens of thousands were outside, and it was a great, great, robust opening compared to the Democrats, where they could get maybe 10 in a room or maybe a thousand in a room—usually people being forced by the unions to show up. It’s a much different contrast. It was a joyous occasion, being at a Trump rally, something that a lot of people really look forward to.

Mr. Jekielek: So you’ve actually been involved in conservative politics in California for a while.

Mr. Steel: Yes.

Mr. Jekielek: You were working on Barry Goldwater’s campaign back in ’64. That’s incredible.

Mr. Steel: I was a child, and I loved it.

Mr. Jekielek: And then Reagan as a governor.

Mr. Steel: Yes.

Mr. Jekielek: And so you’ve seen all sorts of changes.

Mr. Steel: Well, we’ve gone through eras, epochs where conservatives were out of fashion, Democrats were running the roost, liberal Republicans dominated the Republican Party. There were some very scary times. the ’70s was very depressing because the communists were winning everywhere, and the Soviet empire was expanding. And they were sending troops throughout Central America. The Vietnam War was going very badly. Conservatives were losing, Richard Nixon was nearly impeached. And then it came back with Ronald Reagan. So I’ve seen the really bad times and the really good times.

And then we went through another major period. And again, a very depressing time with Obama where America was definitely in decline. The Midwest though, was completely ignored. Working class people were considered rubes, and the elites were reigning powerful on the coast. The intellectuals and the transactionals were running the White House. Obama was apologizing for American culture, American history, American military power. He devalued it. He really hurt our economy. And then he set up a surveillance state to spy on his political enemies. I mean, it was a poisonous administration. It was very depressing. What was even more depressing [was] that Hillary Clinton looked like she was going to be his successor.

Mr. Jekielek: OK.

Mr. Steel: And she is like Obama but without the style and the grace. She’s just a plain angry woman. And then a miracle happened. Americans saw that Trump was a better choice.

Mr. Jekielek: So you played a bit of a role in this miracle. You came out pretty early and supported candidate Trump.

Mr. Steel: That’s true. I came early because he was the presumptive Republican victor in 2016. So earlier than some, but I wasn’t for him initially, and I want to make it really clear.

Mr. Jekielek: Yeah.

Mr. Steel: At first when he came down that elevator, I said, what is a 70 year old man doing in my party? We’ve got all these young governors and senators, some of them speak Spanish, we’ve got some females. They’re accomplished. They’re new generation. And I didn’t understand what Trump was doing. And other than [that], I thought, maybe it’s just sheer opportunism.

But I watched him demolish one Republican after another doing it the old fashioned way, getting more votes. Then I saw him bring in Michael Pence, and I was Sergeant at Arms at the National Republican Convention. And I saw what a well-run convention that was, but I still thought it was going to be against us. I thought it was going to be tough. Hillary had over a billion dollars, and Trump wasn’t raising that much money. We were hoping that it was going to happen. And then Trump started doing these rallies, and that seems to have been the trick. And then he started focusing, and the RNC as well started focusing on key battleground states. So while Hillary’s spending times with billionaires in California—she already had California—she ignored Michigan, which Democrats always have, ignored Wisconsin, ignored Pennsylvania. And that’s what made the difference.

Mr. Jekielek: So what’s really big in the news the last few days is actually President Trump’s approach to Iran.

Mr. Steel: Two things.

Mr. Jekielek: Yeah.

Mr. Steel: We had this giant rally for Trump in Florida, crucial state, which Trump’s going to carry, but you have to start in a base of a swing state. Twenty-nine electoral votes is a big deal.

Mr. Jekielek: Right.

Mr. Steel: Then within 48 hours the Iranians use a very sophisticated surface-to-air missile system in blowing out a million-and-a half-dollar sophisticated drone that’s in international waters, American property. It was a defensive act. It was a military act. It was almost a call to arms. And so Trump does what all presidents should do: Let’s look at our options, including our military options. So the Pentagon and some of his advisers suggested, well, we need to go in and punish them and have some strategic strikes. We’ve done this before—Obama did it numerous times. Trump did it in Syria. Strategic strikes would take a couple of stations, military installations, and just blow them up.

And so Trump asked Democrats and Republicans like a President should. And then he apparently set the motion in action: Let’s go forward and have a strike. He rethought about it, got more information, and then he canceled it. Now he said, basically, we could have killed maybe 150 Iranians who are involved in that strike. But it isn’t worth it. It would be what he called disproportional. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

Now that takes a great deal of courage and fortitude, but also thought to understand, well, we lost an expensive piece of equipment. It was illegal. It was combative. But it didn’t cost any American lives. So Trump doesn’t like adventurism. He doesn’t like war-making. He doesn’t like intervening in other nations. That was his campaign pledge, which has been different from the Republican message in the past.

This action of his has substantially helped his reelection. Because there is about 20 percent in the middle that don’t like Trump’s rhetoric but like his actions, don’t like Trump maybe personally, but they love his economy. The stock market has hit an all-time record and is worth twice as much as it was when he became president. The tax reform has really exploded beautifully. Our economy, lower middle-class workers are getting more pay raises than they have in 50 years. It’s a fabulous economy that’s taking place. But on military, on warmaking, he really showed serious restraint. And among those in the center left, they are impressed, and several of them are saying that publicly. And it’s really confusing most of the Democrats.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s really fascinating, isn’t it?

Mr. Steel: Well, it shows his mind at work. And he probably has a better instinct for understanding Americans than most presidents we’ve seen in the last 50 years. He’s kind of Reaganesque. He understands intuitively what a majority of Americans are thinking and are wanting. And that’s pretty remarkable. Obama was aloof. He never had a clue. He had his agenda, he had his grace, and he had his style. And he had [a] hard, ideological, narrow army of thinkers that was pushing his agenda, a very soft socialistic agenda. This was different. Trump likes making decisions, but he likes listening. And he likes being in the hinterland. He spends a lot more time out of the White House than he does in the White House.

Mr. Jekielek: Shawn, you’ve been based here in Orange County for quite some time. And in fact, in the midterms, Republicans didn’t do very well here. I think lost all four seats they had in Orange County.

Mr. Steel: California had 14 Republican congressional representatives. Now it’s down to seven. That’s out of 53.

Mr. Jekielek: Right.

Mr. Steel: California is one of the bluest states in the union. Lots of reasons for that. Pretty easy to understand. Basically, if you squeeze the middle class, we have freedom of movement in America, and we’ve been losing populations. We’re going to lose another congressional seat like we did 10 years ago. California is not growing anymore. It stopped about 20 years ago. That means my base of Republican supporters are physically getting up and leaving and moving to Texas, Florida, Oklahoma.

Mr. Jekielek: Places where they feel more at home, I guess.

Mr. Steel: Well, not only at home, but they get good jobs with housing a third as much, with better schools. We have terrible schools in California. And the homeless problem with the criminality increasing throughout California in our bigger cities, they don’t find that in Texas or Florida. So there’s a dramatic quality of living. Americans are free to come for 150 years. When we became a state, people wanted to come to California. They wanted to live in the Golden State.

But sadly, it’s run by basically kind of cutthroat union people that really are concerned more about pensions and paying public employees than most anything else. And then you have a coalition of rich gazillionaires from Silicon Valley that are green extremists. Then you have identity politics. So now we have the largest concentration of poor people percentage-wise in America. It’s not Alabama. It’s not Louisiana. It’s not Mississippi anymore, it’s California, it’s growing. So you have a dependent class that want Democrats because they like the free stuff and the support. And then you have the super wealthy that don’t care about the taxes, they just like the lifestyle. And they are actually working together, but they never talk to each other.

The middle class is our party, and they’re leaving at the rate—according to the Sacramento Bee, just a week ago published—130,000 last year. That’s 2,500 a week are leaving California. More are leaving than coming to California. We’ve lost 4 million. We are the leading out migration state in America. Consequently, [it] hurts my party. Because going back to Abraham Lincoln, we were farmers and merchants and ranchers and small business folks. That same model is still alive. Democrats get the poor and the super wealthy. Republicans have what’s in the middle. So there’s one bit of good news out of this for your viewers. We’re exporting Republicans. I expect you to give them a red carpet and send me a thank you note.

Mr. Jekielek: That said, you have your job cut out for you as RNC committeeman.

Mr. Steel: Yeah. Well, in Orange County up until 2018, we were the largest metropolitan area in America that’s Republican-dominated. And then we ran into what’s called—remember the blue wave? You heard about [it]? They got Nancy Pelosi. It’s a green wave. Now think about this. What’s a green wave? Nancy Pelosi raised $200 million in California alone to take out seven congressman. What kind of money is that? That could actually influence and take over political parties. I think in France, in Germany, and Italy, I mean 200 million is staggering. That used to be a presidential campaign, but for seven congressional seats. Now, the Republicans also raised $65 million, but we’re talking about a three-to-one disparity. We’re talking about major mainstream TV, tens of thousands of people in the field that were hired and paid to knock on doors. And then we get into this nefarious thing called ballot harvesting.

Mr. Jekielek: Right.

Mr. Steel: And the Democrats created a new law that was effective for this election, they manufactured it beautifully. So they registered lots of people that have never voted before. That’s OK. And then they would instruct those people. We’re going to be back a year from now. We’re going to be collecting your ballot. Oh, great, thank you. Because many of the new voters have never voted ever. So they didn’t even know what going to the precinct is, what standing in line is, what punching a ballot is. So they were told: We’re going to be by your house. We’re going to knock on your door, and we’ll help you fill out the ballot. You know? And that’s kind of dangerous stuff. Because now you’re getting into the area of–

Mr. Jekielek: It’s obviously highly selective.

Mr. Steel: Well, it’s not only highly selective. It can be thoroughly dishonest. And you could have, literally, and I’m not exaggerating, it doesn’t have to be a human being who picks up the ballot. Under the law in California anybody—it could be an alien, it could be a Mafioso from Italy, it could be a space alien. But people are giving up their ballots because they’re asked: Hey, we’re here from the Democrat Party to help you out. Give me your ballot. I’ll take it down to the voter register for you. Who does that? But it’s a strange phenomenon. Ballot harvesting is a perfect description. They’re out going to strangers, getting ballots, and giving it to strangers, and it really disrupts the democratic process.

Mr. Jekielek: So are we expecting this practice in 2020 as well?

Mr. Steel: Well, ballot harvesting has many, many approaches. One is going door to door, and the Democrats were very successful in doing that. But also, the idea is that if you have a church and you invite everybody—bring your ballots, let’s talk about the issues. That could be legitimate. And now Republicans are figuring out that’s what we need to do with our churches and our synagogues. Because we have a lot more Jewish conservatives than we ever had before because Trump’s pro-Israel, adamantly pro-Israel, and the best friend for Israel, and a lot of Jewish-Americans get it. And at the same time there’s retirement communities, very conservative, gated. And again, we’re asking for community gatherings to come together. Let’s bring your ballots, and we’ll have a strong box. So there’s no question where you’re, you know, we’ll have a security guard there. So we’re experimenting with that too, with retirement communities. We’re going to have a big public meeting. People will vote privately, you know, without looking at each other’s ballot, and they have to seal it and sign it themselves. That’s how it should be done. So we have to learn how to adapt.

Mr. Jekielek: And that’s taking advantage of this law as well.

Mr. Steel: That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek: Just in your own way. Very interesting. You’re just a bit slow at the wheel. I got it. So you think this will even the playing field?

Mr. Steel: Well, it’s going to be more than that. If you have $200 million, and you had a billionaire called Tom Steyer. Steyer made his money by producing coal manufacturing plants throughout Southeast Asia. The classic, dirty cold man. Then after he made his billions, fortunately he had an epiphany. He realized he is making dirty money. So now he’s dedicated to cleaning up the world by supporting left-wing extremist politics. So he literally hired 50 people for each of those four districts, 200 people on his personal payroll two years before the election, just to start getting the left-wing Democrat groups coordinated, start ballot registering, start the process for ballot harvesting. It was a massive operation.

And then Bloomberg at the end—another Bolshevik billionaire, as I call them—puts on ads on TV, $4.5 million dollars against one congressman, $4 million against another congressman, 10 days before the election. That’s what I call a kill shot. Considering Bloomberg’s against guns, I thought kill shot would be a perfect description. The bet worked. So the millions of dollars that went against these Republican incumbent was something we’ve never seen in American politics. Those people won’t be around in 2020. Why is that? They’re going to be in the Midwest fighting it out with Trump. But I got some bad news for the Bolshevik billionaires. Trump’s ready. Trump raised more money in 24 hours than any president in history.

Mr. Jekielek: Is it $25 million dollars? I just find that to be astounding.

Mr. Steel: Yeah, Biden raise $6 million, and everybody got excited about that. Trump has ground troops all ready, headquarters, operations, social media—the likes of which those battleground states have never seen. So, yes, Ted Steyer’s got hundreds of people he’s putting in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio. The Trump operation and Republican party, conservative groups, Christian groups, pro-life groups are there by the thousands. So it’s going to be quite a titanic struggle. But Trump seems to have more energy than any single Democrat that I know of.

Back in California, we’re not going to face that wall of money. We have credible candidates.

Personal, take advantage of you, in a sense—my wife’s running for the most Republican seat in Newport beach in California, plus eight Republicans. That means there’s more Republicans than Democrats. She’s a supervisor that represents two-thirds of that area. She’s an immigrant, so she’s got a great story. Her family fled from the communists in North Korea, so she’s got that story. She’s trilingual. And she’s popular. She’s been reelected there four times in the last 13 years. So she’s got a basis support. The Democrat, nobody knows who he is. We have another powerful immigrant candidate, Young Kim in the Tustin area, North Orange County.

Mr. Jekielek: We thought she won last time, actually.

Mr. Steel: Actually, she did. She won by 14 points on election night. Three weeks later she lost by half a point. With the late vote coming in, with ballot harvesting, lots of magic going on—

Mr. Jekielek: Did you think there was something nefarious going on?

Mr. Steel: No, no, I think the Democrats ginned up the system. They changed the rules. And they got out votes that we’ve never seen before. They had a massive ground operation. I won’t say it was any dishonest voting, but they really manipulated the election law in a way we’ve never seen. They’ve changed that election law a hundred times in the last 10 years to make it easy.

Mr. Jekielek: Literally?

Mr. Steel: Oh yeah. And I’m not saying it’s evil. I like to have more people voting. But when you have people that don’t know what they’re doing when they’re voting and having somebody else vote for them, that’s a violation of federal law.

And there’s lawsuits against the Secretary of State now, because under federal law you’re supposed to clean the rolls of dead people. Believe it or not, [in] Chicago and California, where you have people that are deceased that they seem to be active voters, or people that have moved. What about somebody that’s moved that hasn’t voted in maybe 10 years? Why is that person still on the ballot? He might’ve registered to vote elsewhere or in another state. So we have lawsuits. We just won a big one in LA County. Guess what the numbers are? LA County agreed to remove one-and-a-half million people from one county. Most counties don’t have a one-and-a-half million people, period. So they admitted that they had one-and-a-half million unqualified people as voters in Los Angeles County. That’s where you get into the frauds.

Mr. Jekielek: Staggering.

Mr. Steel: Who’s voting for those people? And that’s a metric situation. It’s very dangerous.

Mr. Jekielek: So this is actually quite interesting because, you know, I’ve certainly talked to a number of people who really see the future for Republicans or conservatism in general in California as quite bleak.

Mr. Steel: I don’t see it that way. We had a Republican county meeting last Monday. And we had a number of candidates on the stage. And out of the 11 candidates that were nominated and endorsed by the party officially very early to give them a clean run, six were Asian Americans. We have four assemblymen elected in Orange County. We have most of the assemblymen in Orange County. Of the four, three are Asian, we have a Vietnamese, Tyler Diep. We have Chinese, Philip Chen, and we have a Korean, Steven Choi, in different parts of Orange County. Now that’s the future model. In Orange County we also have three senators. We have a Vietnamese senator and a Chinese senator, Ling Ling Chang, my favorite name, and Pat Bates. So two-thirds of the senators are Asian American. We lost in 2018 that Senate seat, we won it on election night. Two weeks later we lost by a couple of thousand votes, Janet Nguyen, who was in central Orange County. What that means is that they put up an old white Democrat to go against Janet Nguyen and beat her by the narrowest of margins. Of these six Asian candidates that are standing for election, every one of them is opposed by an old white male Democrat.

Isn’t that interesting? The Democrats have figured out, well, we can’t beat the Asians with an Asian or with the Latinos, so we’re going to get an old white guy, give him all the money the unions can produce to go and knock out the Asian who’s got an office in California. That’s a remarkable reverse discrimination. But that’s the reality.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s fascinating.

Mr. Steel: And it’s cynical.

Mr. Jekielek: It seems to turn a lot of common narratives on their head. So the role of Asian Americans, this is actually quite interesting, it’s becoming quite significant here.

Mr. Steel: They’re the fastest growing group in California voting-wise. Just a few years ago, they were 10 percent, now it’s 15 percent of all voters of California are Asian. What’s nice about Asian Americans from a political point of view, political science point of view, besides their fast growth, there are now nearly three times as many Asian voters as there are African American voters in California. They are growing faster than the Latino population. California is the great magnet for Asians to come to California. And I welcome that because they bring talent, they bring ingenuity, they bring a work ethic. That’s fantastic.

And yet we find that the first generation, not that involved in politics, they don’t trust politics. They come from communist China where if you’re involved in politics, you could disappear one day. They come from Korea where bribery was massive. They come from Vietnam War, you have communist and bribery as a huge problem. So politics was bad for business for many first-generation Americans. But now they’re seeing the landscape.

What do we know about Asian Americans? They’re generally more successful than native-born Caucasians. They generally have stronger families. They generally have longer marriages. They generally have better homes, better lifestyle, and the kids are better educated. These are pretty much Republican values. The question is, they don’t want to get involved in politics. They hear from the—it’s a Democrat majority state. And they’re saying [don’t] get involved with those Republicans, they’re racist. So most Asians in America are declining the state, they don’t align with either party. That is Republican opportunity.

You get fundamental baseline conservatives. You get Asian Americans and a majority of those. And then you have a new majority plus the middle-class Latino, the religious middle-class Latino. Give me a Latino who is Catholic, goes to church at least once a week. Or a Latino evangelical are almost overwhelmingly conservative. And if they’re middle class, second, third generation, they own a home. That’s a great opportunity for Republicans. That’s why Trump gets 30 percent of the Latino support in California. [And that’s] Trump; a generic Republican does better. So you give me a good chunk of the Latino support. You bring in a majority of Asian Americans. You have the native-born conservatives. You have a very spirited contest. So it’s not complete Democrat control.

Mr. Jekielek: It sounds like you’re just laying out your strategy here for our viewers.

Mr. Steel: I’m telling everybody who wants to know.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s excellent. Well, we appreciate it. Now, you’re actually, you have this legal practice in Orange County for 30 years.

Mr. Steel: Yes.

Mr. Jekielek: And you’ve actually been involved in a number of pretty high-profile lawsuits, and I know you have some going right now. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about this.

Mr. Steel: It was kind of unexpected. I’m a libertarian as a Republican. I really believe in free speech. I believe in the Bill of Rights. Every one of them. I don’t trust central government. I don’t trust strong central governments anywhere in the world, they’re usually bad. So I’m very much a decentralist and believer in individual liberty. So a couple of cases I could talk about that did get a lot of notoriety, after Trump was elected, I had some colleagues, Republican friends of mine, students, because I’m a Republican National Committeeman. So I go to colleges all the time. And they reported back to me that there was a teacher who teaches sex education, and what 18-year-old wouldn’t want to take a class on sex education that’s a hard leftist. And she says, don’t worry about Trump being elected. You’re safe here. Nobody’s going to hurt you. This is a safe space. But for those of you students in this audience who voted for Trump, I want you to stand right now so we can see who you are. That’s a firing offense.

Mr. Jekielek: This happened? This is amazing.

Mr. Steel: Yes, yes. The best part was, it was on video. It was on video surreptitiously by one of our college Republicans. And so they said, we’ve got a video of this going on. I said, that’s great. So I arrange a meeting with the president of the school and then the five college Republican leaders. And I couldn’t design this better myself. So we had it on an iPad, the whole presentation where the teacher is scolding the Trump supporters and asking Trump supporters to stand up and identify themselves. And I show this to the president of the college. And the five students come in. And the first one is Joshua Recalde-Martinez, obviously, a Latino kid. Very good young conservative, who’s a good friend of mine today. The second one that comes in as Vincent, a gay guy, which I didn’t expect, but a gay Republican. The third guy that comes in is a female who’s from El Salvador, who’s with a thick accent. The fourth one that comes in was Armenian from Armenia, Russia. And the fifth one is just a regular straight guy. And it’s like, this is like Hollywood casting. I got a multi-diversity crowd here, and it was natural.

Mr. Jekielek: Breaking the typical stereotypes, basically.

Mr. Steel: Yeah. Yeah. I mean this is true in college Republicans throughout California. This is just, it’s normal. It’s really quite exciting. Get Jewish kids, Vietnamese kids, Chinese American kids, the whole deal. So we showed them the video. We said, so what are you going to do about this? Well, I’m going to get to the bottom of it, which is code. I know administrators are weak. They’re bad. They go along. They say I got to—what he’s thinking is—I’ve got to deal with the faculty forever, and you guys are only here for two years. So you students aren’t important.

So I give him a deadline. He failed it. They put it on Facebook and a million views later Tucker Carlson picks it up. We go on the show, and then the Orange County Register gets excited, and he put out editorials everyday. And then the school said, we’re going to suspend the student for letting this video go, for broadcasting. And so they had it backwards.

So later on the teacher gets the teacher-of-the-year award. She’s the victim because she got a lot of emails saying, what are you doing to these students? The students are told that they’re going to be thrown off campus, including one of their rowing stars who took the actual video. They had investigations of the students—who gave it to you, who told you to do this? So I brought in six lawyers at the last minute, and I said, I need lawyers to help. I need a [representative], I need a lawyer for each of these kids. They’re having hearings next Tuesday. So I had a bunch of lawyers show up on their own time. Different lawyers, a murder prosecutor, a corporate guy, a First Amendment guy from San Diego drove up. It was very exciting.

And finally the pressure in Orange County got so much against Orange Coast College and their leadership, and they got terrible worldwide publicity because they were doing an evil thing, that the Orange County Register says, we’re going to put out an editorial everyday until you change. By the third day of the editorial, they put out the phone numbers of each of the members of the board of trustees. Board of trustees had an emergency meeting because of the pressure is overwhelming, and they dropped all charges. They didn’t apologize, but they dropped all the charges.

And all of our kids have done well. But it taught the school an important lesson. If you’re going to go after conservative students, you don’t get to do it for free anymore.

My favorite cases against Berkeley, now what good conservative lawyer doesn’t want to sue Berkeley at some time in their life. Now I don’t make money at this, and this is pro bono work, but I enjoy it immensely. Because you know, you want your vocation to support your advocation, and as a Republican National Committeeman I’m grateful to my law practice and my clients for allowing me to work to make money so I can actually translate that into my advocation for personal liberty.

So Berkeley, there’s a rally, these four students are beat up mercilessly. One is stomped down, was wearing a MAGA hat, knocked unconscious, straddling an overturned—

Mr. Jekielek: Yeah I remember this.

Mr. Steel: —bicycle guard. And this Antifa is taking pictures of him, putting it on Twitter, six of them, saying I got the fascist on the ground, I’m going to kick him again. I got the fascist, and now these liberals tell me to quit kicking him. So I’m going to give him one more kick. And he’s unconscious, and it’s really sad. You see the guys staring, and he’s clearly unconscious. And he signed it Eugene V. Debs, and that was a socialist candidate for president in 1900, 1904, 1908, and a loser. But somehow this Antifa guy identified with the socialist candidate for president a hundred years earlier.

One of our clients worked for bitcoin, cybersecurity specialist. She did a three-generation analysis and found that it’s Ian Miller in Berkeley. He works at Berkeley. We’ve discovered who he is. We’re suing him. And we’re suing the chancellor. We’re suing the police department because they ordered the police to stand down. We’re suing the city council, we’re suing the mayor. And I got a team of lawyers with me on that and, we’ll be doing depositions soon, and we’ll be maybe offering tickets for the deposition. That would be a lot of fun.

Mr. Jekielek: Wow. That sounds like incredibly important work.

Mr. Steel: Well, there’s many cases that have been filed against Berkeley. And my National Committeewoman counterpart Harmeet Dhillon, an Indian American Sikh, devout Sikh believers, she got Berkeley to agree to new terms of inviting conservative speakers on campus to make sure they have a right to speak on campus.

Imagine that. Berkeley, the free speech movement, there’s a problem about having free speech at Berkeley because the intolerance of the left, they don’t want a conversation. They don’t want to hear what you have to say. They just know you’re evil, and your information shouldn’t be publicly broadcast. Well, this is totalitarian thinking. It’s what you get in China. That’s what you have in Russia. This is what totalitarians always do.

Mr. Jekielek: So speaking of China, actually, I just was thinking about this recently. You were recently in a Fox News piece. The piece was basically about a film that’s going to be coming out where footage was smuggled out, I think for the first time ever, from labor camps in China. And you say some pretty stunning things. Can you tell me a little bit more about this?

Mr. Steel: This is one of the great unknown stories. Most educated people know something about the gulags in North Korea. Not much, but a lot of information has come out, a lot of witnesses have come out. But what we don’t know are about the gulags in China, which are much more vast and much more. We do know that 1 million Muslim Uyghurs are literally in concentration camps. A million. Such a large number, but also Christians are under attack, and their churches are being destroyed, and they’re being surveilled and harassed.

But the greatest group of all that’s virtually being murdered on a regular basis for over 20 years now is Falun Gong, that has an inherit Chinese Buddhist natural tradition of 5,000 years. No threat to anybody. Very peaceful. But they were seen by the Party as being a threat to their hegemony, to their control, to their surveillance. And, of course, they’re cowardice. They’re afraid to death of any form of dissent.

So now we have hard evidence, tens of thousands of believers are in these concentration camps. But here’s the sinister part. Sometimes they disappear. What do we mean by that? Well, in these concentration camps, and there’s fantastic pictures of this where they’re sitting and in front of the prison guards in nice, neat rows, one after another, several hundred of them. You’re not allowed to really talk to each other or to get contact information if you ever get out. Because once in a while, somebody that you knew, you sort of knew, you’ve been in jail with him for a year, just because you had different political or religious beliefs. That was it. No violence, no criminal action at all. The Party didn’t like what you said. The Party didn’t like that you went to a meeting. The Party didn’t like that you made a phone call to somebody because they’re surveilling all the telephone calls. The Party didn’t like what you wrote online. And so the Party comes in with no notice, takes you away. No trial, you’re in jail. And that’s just what Stalin did, precisely the kind of things that Stalin did. It’s much more sophisticated now. But people would disappear. And it turns out that we now know that China has the shortest waiting list for vital organs in the world. As you know—

Mr. Jekielek: Two weeks, right?

Mr. Steel: Yeah. As you know, Steven Jobs, one of the world’s richest, most powerful people, his liver failed. As such, he had a wait a long time to get a new liver to save his life. He died ultimately. If one of the most powerful, richest people has to wait a period of time… And, of course, organ harvesting is a very serious subject. It does save lives. If you’ve got somebody that’s sadly in a motorcycle accident and dies, and their brain is hurt, but the heart is in good shape, and they agreed to it before they die….And I’m a donor. I’m a donor right now. I don’t think anybody wants my body, but I’m a donor. And millions are voluntary donors. It could save a life.

But when you take a political prisoner, and you kill them by putting a bullet in their brain, so you can take their liver and their heart, that is Hitlerian. And I gotta be very careful with that terminology Hitlerian, Nazi-like, but that’s exactly [inaudible]. That is the kind of evil deeds that extremely sick and demented people do.

So you don’t even have to be a high official in China. You need a new heart, you got one in two weeks from a 22-year-old person, good healthy heart that matches beautifully. We’ve reached a new nadir, a new low level in civilization.

And now the evidence is coming out, and there’s widespread acknowledgment from credible sources that this is ongoing and has been going for maybe 20 years, particularly the last 15. And now we’ve got more and more information coming out. It’s such a scandal and such an outrage. I wonder how Apple can really be happy to have their manufacturing plants in China in such a despicable political environment. How do American businesses thrive and happily work with this kind of a nation state that is doing flagrant, disgusting, anti-humane type of actions on a regular basis, let alone getting their stolen technology at the same time, let alone being monitored themselves at the same time? I don’t get it. And I’m very glad that Trump has a robust effort to change the Chinese behavior when it comes to American businesses. No other president has even gotten close to that. Most of our presidents in the past, Republicans and Democrats, have been basically collaborators for the Chinese government.

Mr. Jekielek: No, I just, again, for full disclosure, The Epoch Times broke this story back in 2006. I remember when I first saw the evidence of the short wait times, that was kind of what pulled me into realizing, wow, this isn’t just a crazy theory.

Mr. Steel: Did you believe it the first time?

Mr. Jekielek: The first time I heard it, I didn’t believe it.

Mr. Steel: Yeah. I didn’t believe it.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s just so outlandish.

Mr. Steel: Right. I had a little more sensitivity than you because I have a lot of family and relatives in Korea. And this kind of stuff, now the North Koreans aren’t smart enough to even do—

Mr. Jekielek: But you understood it was possible.

Mr. Steel: Yeah, I understood the mentality of a communist dictator with all power. They can do anything to you. They prefer torture. But the Chinese are taking it on a higher level. They’re just using these healthy young specimens to make sure that the Party elders can live longer and better. And it’s diabolical. It’s something that wouldn’t even make a good science fiction plot because people just wouldn’t believe it. But now I think we’ve passed a threshold of, they’re really doing this, aren’t they? And I think they’re having conferences throughout the world. And, of course, the Chinese officials, they deny everything. Totalitarians always do.

But I think the word is getting out, and it needs to be. I think there’s going to be a lot more revealed. Right now, I suspect there are tens of thousands of videos that will be getting out of China, surfacing so we can see the evidence. And the Chinese [communist regime] are petrified of this. But there’s a billion people.

Mr. Jekielek: And it’s also a billion dollar business, these organs. They started with the officials, and then they went to basically whoever’s willing to pay 100K for a heart and so forth. And actually this tribunal, just about a week ago, this tribunal, which was led by the guy who prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic, actually found very, very clearly, this expert panel that this is very much a real thing. And they were just debating should it be called genocidal, or is it just a crime against humanity? I’m very thankful to hear that this is really now getting out into the open.

Mr. Steel: Well, I got a further question. How many people from outside of China are going to China for an organ transplant? Now, that would be fascinating. Let’s get it out there. Are we having elderly or just sick people going to Beijing for a hospital excursion, for an organ transplant? That would be demonic. People would have to realize you’re getting a body part from a live human being that was killed just so you can have their heart. Now, who does that? I mean, that’s a form of cannibalism. And I will ask my Democrat friends, where do you stand with this? Are you opposed to it? If there’s anything decent about human liberty, if there’s anything fundamental about the value of an individual life, where’s the morality of killing a political prisoner to harvest their heart to give it to some guy that’s got money. And I would hope that every Democrat that I know, including the socialists Democrats, would be violently opposed to this. I just haven’t heard anything from them. I hope there’s one.

Mr. Jekielek: I think most people simply went with the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda, which is simply that this is untrue. It’s just a horrible smear campaign against us and so forth. But I think with this recent evidence and these findings, I think it’s going to be very hard for people to keep that position.

Mr. Steel: Well, I doubt Nancy Pelosi is going to have hearings, but I suspect there will be in the Republican Senate. It’s got to be open and discussed and with witnesses, and it needs to go to the Hague. It’s got to be elevated.

Mr. Jekielek: You were going to take it—in the video if I recall—you mentioned you were going to take it up the chain.

Mr. Steel: Yeah, we have an RNC meeting coming up in Charlotte at the end of July. And I have a resolution to put the RNC on record on this.

Mr. Jekielek: Interesting. And it was also, I noticed that Mike Pompeo recently talking about the religious freedom report, recent religious freedom report was also referencing this.

Mr. Steel: Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, was in the RNC. I got to know him there. Brilliant man. We’ve never seen this brave of a secretary of state actually call out the Chinese on organ harvesting, and that is enormously credible. I cannot recall any secretary of state that would even mention that, it would be almost impolite. But these massive human atrocities, it just can’t be ignored. So in the meanwhile, so Pompeo’s put it on the table.

I think Republicans have talked about religious liberty, and Democrats are not sure—what do you mean religious liberty? It means if you have a religion, you shouldn’t be discriminated against in building your church or your temple. You shouldn’t be discriminated against in a workplace. You shouldn’t be discriminated against anywhere in society. If you want to have a cross, that’s up to you. And that includes Muslims. Eighty percent of our Muslims are loyal pro-Americans. They’re not part of the Jihad. That includes Buddhists, that includes Sikhs. America’s been the most tolerant nation on earth. There is no other nation even close to our level of tolerance.

And the Democrats don’t get it. They don’t understand. They think religious liberty has something to do with just Christians. It’s not true. So when Pompeo comes in on that, that’s another great majoritarian point of view that puts the Democrats outside of the mainstream.

Mr. Jekielek: What occurred to me after I saw him speak, actually some years ago, maybe 20, maybe a bit longer, years ago, there was this decoupling of the issue of human rights and, let’s say, economic engagement, right? With China? When I heard this, I thought, my goodness, maybe there’s a possibility here that there will be a recoupling. Do you know anything about this?

Mr. Steel: Well, sadly it started with Nixon. Nixon was pretty cold-blooded. Obviously, I’m not a big Nixon supporter. He never was my favorite hero at all. He had terrible economic policies in America, gave us wage and price controls, he gave us the EPA, he gave us affirmative action, terrible stuff that the liberals have gone way down streamline. So he didn’t really have a good economic theory or wasn’t a free-market kind of guy. He looked at China as a buffer against Russia. So he cut a deal. And even though the Chinese have vast prison camps and vast control, it’s a one-party dictatorship, he cut a deal. And the deal was, look, let’s work together politically. You do what you want on the economics and forget about the human rights. I’m not going to bother you with that. And then he cuts off Taiwan, which again, I think there’s a terrible price to pay. That really emboldened the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party to get stronger and more ruthless and get wealthier and marginalize Taiwan. And Nixon’s short-term view, well, it’s going to push back the Russians. And it did to a certain extent, but that’s the origins of it, sadly, with a Republican.

Every administration has followed that point of view. You do what you want to your own people. It’s none of our business. As long as it’s not an American citizen. So we’ve seen all kinds of political prisoners. Tiananmen Square is a great example. What happened in 1999 in Tiananmen Square again [with the persecution of Falun Gong], when there’s mass slaughter against people of faith, now we’re seeing what’s going on with different religious communities in China. It’s gotta be brought out and focused.

Most leftists in the world like to attack America when we treat our people better than any other country in the world, have due process and rights more than anyone else. They’ll find a bad police shooting and say, well, that’s America. And that’s not true. You look at the rest of the world, they don’t have anything comparable to our civil liberties. And so the hate-America crowd, that oftentimes the Democrats are part of, don’t see the bigger picture. You go ahead and hate America all you want, but you might want to take a peek at what the Chinese are doing to their own people, what the Russians are doing to their own people, what other nation states are doing. You’ll find out in contrast, America is the land of freedom and opportunity. And that’s why we had this huge worldwide effort of people wanting to come to America legally or illegally.

Mr. Jekielek: Well, Shawn, I think we have to finish up. This is actually a very powerful place to end, I think.

Mr. Steel: Well, I love this country. I think our faith, our traditions, and our history is going to keep us going for another hundred years, but you can’t take it for granted. Every 20 years America has to recreate itself. After Ronald Reagan I thought, we’re not going to get another Reagan. And we get a Trump. I never dreamed that Trump would be an action Reaganesque in a way that we haven’t seen since Reagan. And I’m just grateful that Trump is our president. I’m grateful that he has more energy. And I hope and trust the Americans will reelect him.

Mr. Jekielek: Shawn Steele, pleasure to have you.

Mr. Steel: Thank you. Thank you.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

American Thought Leaders is a new Epoch Times show available on Facebook and YouTube.

Follow Jan on Twitter: @JanJekielek
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