J. D. Gordon

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J.D. Gordon
J.D. Gordon by Gage Skidmore.jpg
EducationPennsylvania State University, University Park (BA)
Norwich University (MA)
Known forPentagon spokesman, national security advisor

Jeffrey D. "J.D." Gordon is an American communications and foreign policy advisor, who served as a Pentagon spokesman during the Bush Administration and later a National Security Advisor to Donald Trump. Gordon is a retired United States Navy Commander who advised three Republican presidential candidates and one vice presidential candidate. Gordon has also been a television commentator and columnist with various media outlets including One America News Network, Fox News, Sky News, The Daily Caller, USA Today, The Hill, The Washington Times and others. Gordon founded Protect America Today, a national security-themed Super PAC in February 2012.

Gordon served a 20-year military career, first in amphibious warfare, and then as a spokesman for the Navy and Department of Defense.[1][2] He managed communications and press relations in a wide variety of locations including posts in Europe, Latin America and Asia. His final assignment was at the Pentagon, serving under Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates from 2005-2009. In March 2016, he joined the Trump campaign as the Director of National Security, managing the National Security Advisory Committee under its chairman, Senator Jeff Sessions (R. - Ala.).

Early life and education[edit]

Gordon was born in New York City, grew up in central New Jersey and graduated from Wall High School, located in Wall Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Gordon received his undergraduate and graduate education from Penn State University and Norwich University. He attended two executive courses at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation.[3]

Naval career[edit]

Senator Jeff Sessions (far left), J.D. Gordon (second from left) at March 31, 2016 Meeting of Foreign Policy Team at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., with George Papadopolous (third from left) and Donald Trump (far top right)

After graduating college, Gordon entered the Navy, where he was commissioned as an officer after training. He was initially assigned to the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia. He had additional professional training at the Air Command and Staff College.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Gordon served as a Navy spokesman in various assignments and geographical locations, to include the Pacific Fleet Headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Naval Forces Southern Command in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; Naval Support Activity, Naples, Italy; Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet based in Okinawa, Japan; and Atlantic Fleet headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1994, Gordon served at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as the spokesman for the Haitian and Cuban refugee crises. Later that year, he deployed to Haiti with the Multi-National Force for the restoration of President Jean Bertrand Aristide to power.

While based in Puerto Rico from 1999 to 2001, Gordon served as a spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet during controversy associated with its training range on Vieques Island. It had been occupied by protesters who were trying to force the Navy to leave. The Navy had used the range for major fleet exercises for decades. Gordon also served in Navy Office of Information (CHINFO) as the director of public affairs plans.

Pentagon spokesman[edit]

In 2005, Gordon transferred to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he served as a Pentagon spokesman, first under Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and later Secretary Robert Gates. In this period, notable issues were related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the extrajudicial detention of captives in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba. Other issues were increasing U.S. tensions with Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, and increasing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico against drug cartels.[1][4][5][6][7][8][9] Gordon contributed to developing Defense Department policies related to the use of social networking services and sites such as YouTube by military personnel, which DoD prohibits.[10]

On October 2, 2007, Gordon explained why the Defense Department continued to hold certain detainees at Guantanamo, although they had been cleared for release. He touched on the need to ensure that receiving countries treated them properly, saying "All detainees at Guantanamo are considered a threat to the United States — to include those transferred yesterday. As a condition of repatriation, nations accepting detainees must take steps to prevent the return to terrorism, as well as providing credible assurances of humane treatment."[11] On July 21, 2009, Gordon told CNN's Peter Bergen that one in seven detainees are confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism.[citation needed]

Gordon retired from the Navy as a Commander.

Complaint with The Miami Herald[edit]

In his position as Pentagon spokesman, on July 25, 2009 Gordon wrote to a senior editor at The Miami Herald, reporting what he characterized as sexual harassment by its reporter Carol Rosenberg, whose beat is the Guantanamo detention camp.[12] He said that Rosenberg had made crude jokes at his expense. The Miami Herald conducted an internal investigation, and reported on August 3, 2009 that it had concluded that, while Rosenberg had used profanity, she had not carried out sexual harassment.

Gordon returned to the issue a year later in a column written for Fox News on August 9, 2010. In discussing the Pentagon having banned four reporters from Guantanamo, including Rosenberg, he said that Rosenberg was "notorious for clashes" and claimed she used language to him "... that would make even Helen Thomas blush",[13] referring to a prominent reporter at the White House.

Political career[edit]

Since leaving the Pentagon, Gordon has worked as a senior advisor to national Republican political figures, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, business leaders Donald Trump, Herman Cain, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the latter three during their respective presidential campaigns.

2010 and 2012 election cycles[edit]

In 2010, he organized public speaking events by Governor Palin in Florida and California during the Congressional campaign cycle. At the time, Palin's speaking tour was the focus of intense national media attention.[citation needed]

In 2011, Gordon became Vice President of Communications and Chief Foreign Policy and Security Advisor for the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.[14] Grace Wiler of Business Insider described Gordon's dual role as both campaign spokesman and foreign policy advisor as evidence that Cain had "completely thrown out the conventional campaign playbook."[15] From its analysis of Gordon's columns and television appearances prior to the campaign, The Nation magazine wrote, "it would appear that Cain is getting the same national security advice he would from Dick Cheney."[16]

After the Cain campaign ended, Gordon returned to his role as an advisor to Washington-based think tanks,[citation needed] as well as conservative columnist and television commentator.

Protect America Today PAC[edit]

In February 2012, Gordon founded a national security-themed Super PAC, Protect America Today (PAT). During the 2012 presidential campaign, Gordon ran political ads in eight states for 16 federal candidates to "Save 1 million jobs," a reference to stopping further cuts to defense spending, including sequestration. Winning candidates backed by Gordon included Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Representative Steve Daines (R-MT).

During the 2014 mid-term elections, 13 of 16 candidates for whom Gordon ran ads won their races, as Republicans took control of both the Senate and House of Representatives. PAT-endorsed candidates who won their elections include Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Representative Steve King (R-IA), Representative French Hill (R-AR), Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA).

In 2016, Protect America Today backed successful Senate and House candidates including Senator Pat Toomey, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania; Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Jim Jordan in Ohio; Sen. Todd Young in Indiana; Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in Wisconsin; Sen. Johnny Isakson, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland in Georgia and Rep. Darrell Issa in California.

2016 US presidential campaign[edit]

During the 2016 Presidential Election cycle, Gordon initially supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. In 2015, Gordon became Huckabee's Chief Foreign Policy Advisor. He appeared on behalf of Huckabee at various events, to include speaking at a White House rally against the Iran Deal in July 2015, alongside Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

In February 2016, Gordon endorsed Donald Trump for president.[17]

In March 2016, he joined the Trump campaign as the Director of National Security, managing the National Security Advisory Committee under its chairman, Senator Jeff Sessions.

RNC Platform controversy[edit]

In July 2016, just prior to the Republicans' 2016 Convention in Cleveland, Gordon successfully advocated with elected delegates to soften a proposed amendment to the Republican National Committee's policy platform that called for providing "lethal defensive weapons" to the government of Ukraine.[18] At the time, many Republican foreign policy leaders favored stronger support of Ukraine than the Obama administration had offered.[19] In January 2017, Gordon told Business Insider that he had "never left" his "assigned side table, nor spoke publicly at the meeting of delegates during the platform meeting,"[20] but in March 2017 he acknowledged to CNN that, in CNN's words, "Gordon had advocated for language in the GOP platform that the Ukrainians not be armed in their battle against pro-Russian separatists."[21][18] Gordon has said of his advice to soften the proposed amendment on Ukraine that "this was the language Donald Trump himself wanted," though he has denied that Trump was aware at the time of the "details."[18][21]

After the election, media outlets reported that Gordon had encountered Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak on July 20, a week after the platform amendment controversy, while serving as a guest speaker to over 50 ambassadors to the United States as part of the U.S. State Department's Global Partners in Diplomacy Program (GPD).[22] Previously, the Trump campaign had denied any contacts with Russian diplomats. In August 2018 the Washington Post reported that Gordon had socialized with Mariia Butina in the weeks before the 2016 Presidential Election. Butina, who presented herself for years as a Russian gun rights advocate and graduate student at American University, was arrested and charged in July 2018 for failing to register with the Department of Justice for her pro-Russia activities.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Pentagon Told to Release Gitmo Transcripts". Washington Post. February 24, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Washington Post, "Evidence Of Innocence Rejected at Guantanamo", December 5, 2007
  3. ^ "J.D. Gordon Communications Bio". Jdgordoncommunications.com.
  4. ^ David Morgan (May 14, 2007). "U.S. divulges new details on released Gitmo inmates". Reuters. Retrieved May 15, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ David Rose (June 18, 2006). "How US Hid the Suicide Secrets of Guantanamo". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 2, 2007. Retrieved May 15, 2007.
  6. ^ Michael Melia (April 25, 2007). "Murder Charge for Detainee". Associated Press. Retrieved May 15, 2007.
  7. ^ "U.S. Military Busy Delivering Relief Aid to Disaster Victims". US Embassy, London, United Kingdom. October 18, 2005. Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2007.
  8. ^ "Media access to Guantanamo blocked altogether". USA Today. June 6, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2007.
  9. ^ "Defense seeks to move Guantanamo trials to U.S., citing lack of access to base". USA Today. June 14, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2007.
  10. ^ "Access denied: Pentagon blocks websites". Brisbane Times. May 15, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
  11. ^ "Eight detainees transferred from Guantanamo Bay". The China Post. October 2, 2007. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Howard Kurtz (July 25, 2009). "Military and Media Clash In Complaint: Navy Spokesman Alleges Abuse by Miami Reporter". Washington Post. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  13. ^ J.D. Gordon (August 9, 2010). "Did the Pentagon cave on Four Banned Reporters at Gitmo". Fox News. Archived from the original on October 31, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2011. Once the 'big media' were brought in to the legal picture on the banning issue, it was all but over for the Pentagon.
  14. ^ Don Surber (October 1, 2011). "Cain taps Rumsfeld spokesman". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  15. ^ Grace Wiler, "Meet the Brains Behind Herman Cain's Brilliant Post-Modern Presidential Campaign," Business Insider, November 1, 2011
  16. ^ "Clues to Herman Cain's Foreign Policy," The Nation, November 3, 2011
  17. ^ "Former Huckabee foreign policy adviser backs Trump". The Hill. February 29, 2016.
  18. ^ a b c Bertrand, Natasha (March 3, 2017). "It looks like another Trump adviser has significantly changed his story about the GOP's dramatic shift on Ukraine". Business Insider. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  19. ^ Rogin, Josh (July 18, 2016). "Trump campaign guts GOP's anti-Russia stance on Ukraine". Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  20. ^ Bertrand, Natasha (January 15, 2017). "Explosive memos suggest that a Trump-Russia quid pro quo was at the heart of the GOP's dramatic shift on Ukraine". Business Insider. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Murray, Sara; Acosta, Jim; Schleifer, Theodore (March 4, 2017). "More Trump advisers disclose meetings with Russia's ambassador". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  22. ^ Reilly, Steve (March 2, 2017). "Exclusive: Two other Trump advisers also spoke with Russian envoy during GOP convention". USA Today. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  23. ^ https://www.facebook.com/PostRoz. "Trump associate socialized with alleged Russian agent Maria Butina in final weeks of 2016 campaign". Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2018.