April 23, 2024

An Addict’s Shot at Redemption on the Trump Campaign

Tim Murtaugh grew to become a well-known face to many Americans as President Donald Trump’s communications director for his 2020 reelection marketing campaign. As considered one of Trump’s most seen spokesmen, Murtaugh had a front-row seat to the most-watched marketing campaign in historical past.

But only a mere 4 years earlier, Murtaugh discovered himself in a a lot completely different spot. After combating alcoholism for years, he was jailed in 2015 for public drunkenness and uncertain of his destiny. That’s when he determined to surrender alcohol and focus on turning his life round.

Murtaugh would go on to work for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue earlier than becoming a member of Trump’s reelection marketing campaign. Today, he’s operating his personal communications agency. He joined “The Daily Signal Podcast” to speak about his new guide—out at the moment—known as “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It: My Escape from Addiction and Shot at Redemption on the Trump Campaign.”

Listen to the interview, watch the video, or learn an abridged and edited transcript under.

Rob Bluey: Tim Murtaugh, you’re the creator of a brand new guide, “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It.” You’re any person who our Daily Signal viewers will most likely keep in mind as a return visitor to this present. You’re the founder and principal at Line Drive Public Affairs and the former communications director for the Trump 2020 marketing campaign.

Tim Murtaugh: Good to see you, Rob. Thanks very a lot. And there was a time the place I used to be a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation as properly.

Bluey: We respect your contributions throughout that point. And I’m grateful to you for telling this story. Take us again to in 2015. You are in a Fairfax County jail. It illustrates a lot how far you will have are available just some brief years.

Murtaugh: On May 16, 2015, I went out and as I appreciated to do at the time, acquired drunk. And at that point, I used to be charged with drunken public intoxication, one thing alongside these traces. I ended up in the Fairfax County Adult Correctional Center and that’s the place I got here to.

That day was completely different from lots of the different instances that I had been consuming an excessive amount of as a result of I used to be on probation for the second of my two DUIs, and I had 80 days of suspended jail time hanging above my head. And if I had gotten convicted of that public intoxication cost, I used to be going to should go serve practically three months in jail, and it might have been just about the finish of every little thing. I’d have misplaced my job on Capitol Hill. I’d have misplaced my profession.

My household was about at the finish of their rope. My new spouse didn’t know what to do with me, and so it actually might have been the finish of every little thing. And that’s the day I took my final drink, and I’ve by no means regarded again.

I wrote this guide for 2 causes. One, as a result of once I was in rehab—and I went to rehab 5 instances—once I was there, I spent plenty of time in the bookstore shopping for titles and simply devouring them. They have been extra autobiographical in nature, folks writing about their very own tales and the way they made it by their battles with dependancy. I needed to put in writing a guide that helped folks like me who’re in rehab.

The different purpose was, I had some opposition researchers coming after us on the Trump marketing campaign. Back in 2020, they have been making an attempt to get reporters to put in writing tales about me and my background. And I assumed, if I simply write a guide about it myself, they’ll by no means have the ability to assault me with it once more.

Bluey: Was it troublesome so that you can put all of it on the market?

Murtaugh: Writing it, truly, was cathartic. I’m unsure that there’s any single one who is aware of every little thing that I went by. My spouse definitely is aware of quite a bit about it. My dad and mom and my brother, my shut buddies and shut family, know massive elements of it. But I don’t know that anyone, apart from me, is aware of every little thing else that I went by.

I’m developing on 9 years now since I took my final drink. And I do know that any day I might slip and choose one up. If I had that first one, it might be a downward spiral from that second. Writing the guide was an train that helped me keep sober for that time period.

When you will have been an addict—and also you’ve managed to defeat it—there’s all the time that lingering concern that if I’m not cautious this might come again and get me.

Bluey: What have you ever discovered to be efficient by way of resisting that urge?

Murtaugh: This is actually only a story of how I did it. It’s not solely about this. It’s half a political guide, half about my life in the Trump 2020 marketing campaign, which at the time, till this subsequent one, was the most-watched political marketing campaign in world historical past. There are plenty of tales from behind the scenes from that marketing campaign.

But the different half of the guide, it’s about my struggles with alcoholism and my entire story. It isn’t a how-to guide—it’s only a story of how I acquired by it.

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People would possibly discover some elements of it that they will relate to or at least snicker about as a result of not each phrase of it’s lethal severe. There are some ridiculous issues that individuals like me do once they’re in the throes of all that. It shouldn’t be regarded at as a how-to fix-it kind of handbook—simply how one man acquired by it. That’s all it’s.

Bluey: You work in a high-stress setting, political communications, and I’d think about being proper there in the forefront on the Trump marketing campaign was at the pinnacle of that. What have been a few of the methods you discovered to be efficient by way of retaining your thoughts on your work and never getting distracted by alcohol?

Murtaugh: There’s plenty of strain in politics. It doesn’t matter when you’re on the presidential marketing campaign, which I used to be, or on decrease campaigns, which I’ve additionally achieved. Whether they’re races on the state degree, congressional, Senate, governor’s races—it doesn’t matter. There’s various quantities of strain. It all looks as if the most necessary factor in the world whenever you’re going by it.

It helps to remain busy for positive. I broke the day up into little chunks. Could I get off the bed and dress and prepare to go to work with out having to cease for a drink? Could I get from dwelling to the workplace with out stopping to purchase a drink? Could I make it by the day and never sneak out someplace at midday? And then at the finish of the day, can I make all of it the manner dwelling with out stopping someplace to choose up a bottle or to cease and get a drink?

I relied quite a bit on Alcoholics Anonymous, going to conferences like that. I discovered utilizing the Serenity Prayer, simply helped me if I had somewhat storm going on in my mind and I used to be nervous that possibly I used to be going to veer off to the aspect and do one thing that I shouldn’t do. Stopping for 15 to twenty seconds to say the Serenity Prayer actually helped me kind of refocus and get again on the rails.

Bluey: Family performed an enormous half in your restoration. You come from a proud household. Your grandfather is Danny Murtaugh, the legendary supervisor of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a two-time World Series champion. What function does household play for others who could be combating alcoholism?

Murtaugh: It’s a extremely massive, crucial a part of it. My spouse is a really non-public individual and she or he doesn’t relish plenty of these particulars getting out—or any of them actually. But in actual fact, just a few years again, it was her concept to put in writing this guide. And if she had not been on board with it, I wouldn’t have achieved it. And the incontrovertible fact that she is on board, is an illustration of how necessary she has been to me all through my whole restoration.

Without her, I believe there’s no query that I’d both nonetheless be in jail or I’d be useless. I don’t assume there’s any two methods about it. And my dad and mom have been very instrumental in guiding me to rehab and serving to me.

Bluey: In 2015, you discovered your self at a low level. Then, inside a span of 4 years, you might be the communications director for the most-watched presidential marketing campaign in historical past. Did President Trump learn about your circumstances and did others on the marketing campaign learn about what you have been going by?

Murtaugh: I felt prefer it was my accountability to inform them. I began on the Trump marketing campaign in February 2019. It was about 4 years after I had already taken my final drink. However, I did have fairly checkered previous and I did have a historical past with legislation enforcement. I had two DUIs, served 5 days in jail with some suspended time for the first one, served 10 days in jail with 80 days suspended for the second one. I additionally had a wide range of completely different drunk in public and completely different public intoxication costs.

Opposition researchers, and anyone who regarded into it, would discover all that stuff in about 10 minutes. So there wasn’t any level in hiding it.

When I went to work in the Trump administration for Secretary Sonny Perdue—I used to be his communications director for 2 years earlier than I went to the Trump marketing campaign—I instructed Secretary Perdue up entrance as I used to be interviewing. And then once I was being thought-about for the Trump marketing campaign, I instructed Brad Parscale, the marketing campaign supervisor, that exact same factor. I stated, “You should look into this because this is what I’ve got in my past and the president needs to know this.”

At the time, Sonny Perdue stated, “Listen, as long as you’re not drinking now, I really appreciate you telling me, you’re going to be fine.” And then Brad Parscale went and ran it previous the president and got here again and he stated, “Look, the president likes a good redemption story. He likes a good comeback story.” He himself doesn’t drink as a result of he blames alcohol for the demise of his brother, however the president was conscious of it. And Brad stated, “You know what? You’ve conquered it, let’s move on. And if anybody comes after you, I’ll stand by you.”

And he did as a result of plenty of reporters known as us as a result of that they had gotten the materials from the opposition researchers, they usually have been threatening to put in writing tales. Brad stood by me, and the marketing campaign stood by me, and the president stood by me.

None of these tales ever acquired written. We managed to speak them out of it and discuss them into agreeing with us that that was in the previous.

Bluey: Are there any sources that you’d advocate to people who could also be combating dependancy proper now?

Murtaugh: There is all the time going to be an Alcoholics Anonymous assembly that yow will discover and get to. And they really are welcoming. Anyone can stroll in off the avenue and discover individuals who perceive what you’re going by. That helped me an terrible lot.

If you want greater than that, then discover a method to test your self right into a 28-day program. An inpatient rehab program can do wonders for folks. As for me, I went to rehab 5 instances. So generally it doesn’t take immediately.

I’d hope that individuals choose up the guide. It’s known as “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It,” out there on Amazon.com proper now, or different retailers as properly. I hope that they will discover some humor in it, and likewise possibly discover some method to look at it and say that I can relate to it.

Bluey: Tim Murtaugh, thanks a lot for having the braveness to share your story. We’re pleased with all that you just’ve completed.

Murtaugh: Rob, thanks very a lot. I respect it.