May 21, 2024

How Faith Guided This Trump Aide’s Time in Government

Cliff Sims had a front-row seat in the White House to a few of President Donald Trump’s largest selections and helped craft the administration’s message to the American folks.

As a particular assistant to the president, Sims served as a key staffer in the White House communications workplace earlier than later transferring to a distinct function as deputy director of nationwide intelligence for technique and communications.

Along the best way, Sims wrote a bestselling ebook, “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House.” And this month, he’s now out with a brand new ebook, “The Darkness Has Not Overcome: Lessons on Faith and Politics from Inside the Halls of Power.”

Sims writes from the angle of a Baptist minister’s son whose personal Christian faith guided him throughout his time in the Trump administration. He spoke to The Daily Signal in regards to the classes he realized and his recommendation for Americans as they put together to select for our nation’s future.

Rob Bluey: What impressed you to jot down “The Darkness Has Not Overcome”?

Cliff Sims: When I left the federal government, a number of it was me wrestling with what that point interval of my life meant for me, like, what had been a number of the issues I might have realized from that have, and I journaled quite a bit about it and was considering quite a bit about it.

I spotted by that course of that a number of the issues that I might have realized I used to be studying, the takeaways that I had might apply to anyone’s life. No matter what they’re doing, they needed to serve in authorities to have some takeaways from it.

I spotted that there was a chance to jot down a ebook that instructed a bunch of cool tales from behind the scenes in the White House and CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Air Force One and all these various things, however use these to leap into biblical takeaways, religion takeaways that might apply to anyone’s life. So that was actually what impressed me to jot down the ebook.

Bluey: Can you converse to your upbringing because the son of a Baptist minister and the way that formed your method to religion and significantly politics throughout your time serving a authorities?

Sims: The subtitle for the ebook is “Lessons on Faith and Politics From Inside the Halls of Power.” But the very first thing that folks would want to find out about me is that I come from about as distant from these halls of powers you might presumably think about—lived in, grew up in a working-class household, working-class neighborhood. My dad was a Baptist minister and religion was an integral a part of our lives. We’re in the church each time the doorways had been open.

But actually my private religion journey, I had a information of the Bible that was greater than a number of my associates rising up. There’s little doubt about that, nevertheless it actually had not had a coronary heart change in me till later in life.

Plenty of that sort of grit and willpower from rising up in a working-class household I feel I’ve utilized to a number of issues I’ve executed professionally. And actually the second in my life when—properly, I assume there wasn’t a second in my life that I might level to that’s like that’s when God modified my coronary heart. Even although I actually keep in mind the second that I accepted Christ, my savior, and issues like that.

I realized quite a bit about the best way that God adjustments folks and it’s not the best way that we give it some thought. We focus quite a bit on our actions. Any self-help podcast that you simply take heed to, it focuses on actions. If you might simply work out a little bit bit extra. If you might simply stand up a little bit bit earlier. If you might simply spend extra time with your loved ones. If you had been a greater networker, all this stuff and actions.

What I’ve realized in my very own life is the best way that God adjustments folks is, like, I might name it like concentric circles. And on the heart of that concentric circle is worship. I discovered in my life, I’ve worshiped my profession, I’ve worshiped energy, I’ve worshiped fame, I’ve worshiped cash. I imply, go down the checklist of this stuff.

What you worship turns into what you consider. What you consider turns into your needs, and your needs change into your actions. And what God did was he modified what I worshiped or who I worshiped. Once he was on the heart of that Venn diagram, it modified the issues that I take into consideration and adjusted my needs and, finally, that modified my actions.

And the best way that that manifested itself in serving in authorities is, I feel, in retrospect, I struggled with a number of issues that I didn’t know that I might, akin to just like the attraction of energy.

When you don’t have energy, how are you aware that you simply’re going to be vulnerable to the attraction of energy? But with the ability to lean again on my religion and look to Scripture for brand new challenges, issues that I used to be battling that I by no means had to consider earlier than, that biblical basis helped me not lose myself in the method.

Bluey: I wished to return to one thing you mentioned earlier, and that was that you simply discovered your self rising up removed from the halls of energy. So did you ever think about as a youthful man that you’d be serving probably the most highly effective man in the world?

Sims: No, undoubtedly not. I imply, that’s the factor about life in normal is, like, all of us solely know the universe that we’ve been uncovered to. I imply, I had by no means met anyone who had cash. How might I do know what somebody with cash would do with cash? I’d by no means met somebody who’d served in the federal government. How would I do know what individuals who stroll the halls of energy, so to talk, what they do, how they lived their lives?

I’d by no means in 1,000,000 years would have imagined that. But I do keep in mind the second once I realized, in retrospect, that God was ordering my steps, that sort of the best way that the trajectory of my life has gone on, that he was organizing all of that.

I used to be enjoying school basketball at a college in Mississippi, a buddy of mine was enjoying at a junior school in South Alabama, and I used to be fascinated with eager to switch. My household was residing in Florida on the time. I’m going and go to this tiny city referred to as Enterprise, Alabama, which is most well-known for having a monument to a bug in its downtown, to a boll weevil. It’s the one metropolis in the nation with a monument to a bug. It’s all I knew about it.

So, I’m going and go to and I actually appreciated it. The workforce was good. I believed, “You know what,? I’m going to transfer here.” And the very last thing I wanted to do was name my dad and say, “Hey, I’m going to transfer.” And once more, they had been residing in Florida on the time and I referred to as my dad and mentioned, “I’m going to transfer to this tiny school in Enterprise, Alabama.” And it was an ungainly silence on the cellphone, and I mentioned, “Well, is that OK?” And my dad mentioned, “I was going to call you today and tell you that our family is moving to Enterprise, Alabama.”

My dad was a Baptist minister. His pal had change into a pastor of a church in Enterprise and referred to as him to be the manager pastor there. And so, my pal was a pastor of a church in Enterprise and referred to as him to be the manager, was sort of reunited on coming from two separate tracks, and it’s like a second in time the place even probably the most fervent atheist would have a tough time chalking that as much as mere coincidence.

I keep in mind it as a result of at a time in my life the place I didn’t care what God’s plan was for my life, he was already ordering his steps. And my Sunday college trainer, the day that I walked into Sunday college, the primary day at our new city, was a man named Barry Moore. Moore, who was a small enterprise proprietor, however now he’s Congressman Barry Moore.

So, the very first thing I did in politics in the 2010 election cycle was assist to run Barry’s marketing campaign. And six years later, I had an workplace in the West Wing. Plenty of stuff occurred in between there, however that’s sort of my journey in politics. Well, God’s plan for every of us is actually wonderful.

Bluey: Thank you a lot for sharing that, that story. Wow. Speaking of the West Wing, are you able to share a particular instance out of your time working there the place you felt challenged in sustaining your Christian ideas in this political setting in which we dwell?

Sims: There aren’t a number of examples from the West Wing the place there’s like a dramatic second the place it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m being requested to do one thing that’s towards my sincerely held beliefs.

I labored in the Trump White House and, fortuitously, from a coverage perspective, I used to be a fervent believer in a number of issues that we’re doing, what President Trump did from a coverage perspective for the religion neighborhood—issues like ending the “Mexico City policy,” funding with taxpayer sources abortions in overseas nations, or placing pro-life justices on the Supreme Court, or instructing the Department of Justice to now not … go after the nonprofit standing of faith-based nonprofits that talk into divisive political points. I feel you possibly can go down the checklist of this stuff.

I feel the wrestling with what serving in authorities meant for my religion or how my religion utilized to that have or the place it was examined actually has come extra in retrospect. And I feel probably the most direct instance that I might give is the day that Joe Biden was inaugurated president, Jan. 20, 2021.

I used to be deputy director of nationwide intelligence on the time, and I used to be standing alone in the practically empty hallways of the CIA. And I used to be wandering these empty halls on my own as a result of it was not only a transition second for the nation. I knew it was a transition second for me, that this was going to be the final alternative that I needed to stroll these halls, not less than in the quick time period.

And I used to be wrestling with this nagging feeling that nothing that I’ll ever do in life shall be this essential. It’ll by no means be this large of a deal once more. How might I ever discover worth in the work that I’m doing when it’s by no means going to be like this once more? And, after all, that’s ego speaking, nevertheless it’s additionally simply fallacious as a result of what I realized by that course of about work is that who we’re working for is extra essential than what we’re doing.

The Bible says no matter you do, do it as unto the Lord. And whenever you put work in its correct context—that whether or not I’m in the White House or in a espresso home I’m performing with excellence and there’s which means to it as a result of I’m serving God in my work—your work turns into an overflow of worship. And that’s a very totally different manner of taking a look at work.

So, I feel the best way to reply your query that my religion was examined was, I used to be in what C.S. Lewis would name the interior ring. I had entry to energy and affect and issues that check your character. Only in retrospect was I in a position to come to phrases with that’s not what defines me. I’m not outlined by the title that I’ve. The incontrovertible fact that my cellphone give up ringing once I left as a result of folks didn’t like me, they had been calling me due to the title that I had. I needed to come to phrases with that.

Going by that and wrestling with that, I’ve been in a position to put my work, my profession, in a significantly better, extra biblical context.

Bluey: There’s a lot in our tradition that occurs exterior of presidency and politics, however clearly, 2024 is an enormous yr. There’s a number of concentrate on elections, not solely on the nationwide stage, however native stage. How a lot is at stake relating to the way forward for our nation and the path we go relating to electing leaders?

Sims: Every single election cycle, it looks like we are saying, “Well, this is the most important election of our lifetimes.” And it’s like, properly, in retrospect, a few of these elections weren’t as essential as others. Let’s simply be trustworthy about them.

But that is one other second the place I feel we’re at an actual crossroads as a rustic and deciding sort of what to do, what path we’re going to go. Are we going to go the trail of restricted authorities, extra human freedom and flourishing? Are we going to go the trail of larger authorities, extra intervention in our each day lives the place the federal government does play a significant function in our each day lives right here? Which I don’t wish to occur.

On each single difficulty from overseas affairs—proper now you’re seeing simply mayhem in each nook of the world. From the Middle East to Eastern Europe to China’s respiration down Taiwan’s neck in Southeast Asia, overseas affairs to economics, the place you’re going to have a call and folks aren’t fascinated with early subsequent yr. We’re going to must re-up the tax cuts that got here for from the Trump presidency. Are we going to try this or we’re going to must be extra taxed and extra regulated? All these totally different points.

So, I do consider that is a type of elections that we’ll look again on and say that that was a extremely, actually essential election.

Bluey: What is likely one of the issues that you simply hope readers take away from the ebook, particularly those that could also be feeling discouraged or disillusioned by the present state of politics and society at the moment?

Sims: Thank you for asking that. I imply, I’ll return to the title of the ebook, “The Darkness Has Not Overcome.”

It comes from the Gospel of John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” This is a promise from Scripture that we will lean on, even in the darkest of instances, that Scripture makes it clear the nice guys win. Again, we will skip to the tip. End of the ebook: The good guys win.

It’s laborious to not be discouraged in the intervening time. We have work to do, and we have to do every part that we will to unfold the Gospel and battle for insurance policies that we consider in authorities.

All these various things are crucial. But even in the darkest instances, we will lean on that promise that the darkness is not going to overcome this, that we’ve a hope that’s greater than our politics and it’s discovered in our relationship with God.

Bluey: I’m so glad the ebook is doing properly. I encourage our Daily Signal listeners to select up a replica wherever books are bought or on-line. Thank you a lot for writing it and sharing your experiences and recommendation with us at the moment.

Sims: Rob, thanks for having me. I really like The Heritage Foundation, love The Daily Signal. Love every part that you simply guys do. It’s an honor to be on with you.

Photo courtesy of Cliff Sims.