J. D. Gordon

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J. D. Gordon
J.D. Gordon by Gage Skidmore.jpg
J.D. Gordon, speaking at CPAC
Born New York, New York, United States
Nationality American
Known for Pentagon spokesman

Jeffrey D. "J.D." Gordon is an American communications and foreign policy advisor, who served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005–2009. Gordon is a retired United States Navy officer who has served as a senior advisor to Republican political figures and at conservative Washington, DC-based think tanks. Gordon is also a contributing columnist to Fox News, The Daily Caller, The Hill, The Washington Times and other media outlets. Gordon founded Protect America Today, a national security-themed Super PAC in February 2012.

Previously, he served as a spokesman for the Navy and Department of Defense, retiring as a Commander.[1][2] He managed communications and press relations in a wide variety of locations over a 20-year career, including posts in Europe, Latin America and Asia. His final assignment in the military was at the Pentagon, serving under Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates.

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 at the Jersey Shore. 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]

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 the Pentagon spokesman for the Western Hemisphere, first under Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and later Secretary Robert Gates. In this period, notable issues were related to 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. He served as the spokesman to explain DoD's position on these issues.[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 election cycle[edit]

In 2015, Gordon became the Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas. 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, 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.). In July, during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Gordon encountered Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and dozens of other foreign ambassadors at the U.S. State Dept. sponsored Global Partners in Diplomacy (GPD) Program. Gordon acknowledged that fact in March 2017, despite repeated denials by Trump officials that there had been any contact between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.[18] According to Gordon, during the encounter he expressed to Kislyak a wish for improved relations between the US and Russia,[19] and indeed, the week prior to convention during RNC Platform Week, Gordon personally advocated for softening a delegate proposed plank to the Republican party platform which had called for providing "lethal defensive weapons" to the government of Ukraine, where Russia was sponsoring separatist fighters.[20] This represented a continuation of Obama Administration policies towards Ukraine. Gordon later said of his advice to soften the delegate's proposed amendment on Ukraine that "this was the language Donald Trump himself wanted," though he denied that Trump had been aware of the "details."[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pentagon Told to Release Gitmo Transcripts". Washington Post. February 24, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-15. [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 2007-05-15. [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 2007-05-15. 
  6. ^ Michael Melia (April 25, 2007). "Murder Charge for Detainee". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Military Busy Delivering Relief Aid to Disaster Victims". US Embassy, London, United Kingdom. 18 October 2005. Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  8. ^ "Media access to Guantanamo blocked altogether". USA Today. June 6, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  9. ^ "Defense seeks to move Guantanamo trials to U.S., citing lack of access to base". USA Today. June 14, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  10. ^ "Access denied: Pentagon blocks websites". Brisbane Times. May 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  11. ^ "Eight detainees transferred from Guantanamo Bay". The China Post. 2007-10-02. Archived from the original on 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  12. ^ Howard Kurtz (2009-07-25). "Military and Media Clash In Complaint: Navy Spokesman Alleges Abuse by Miami Reporter". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  13. ^ J.D. Gordon (2010-08-09). "Did the Pentagon cave on Four Banned Reporters at Gitmo". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 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 2011-10-02. 
  15. ^ Grace Wiler, "Meet the Brains Behind Herman Cain's Brilliant Post-Modern Presidential Campaign," Business Insider, 1 November 2011
  16. ^ "Clues to Herman Cain's Foreign Policy," The Nation, 3 November 2011
  17. ^ "Former Huckabee foreign policy adviser backs Trump". The Hill. 2016-02-29. 
  18. ^ Reilly, Steve (March 2, 2017). "Exclusive: Two other Trump advisers also spoke with Russian envoy during GOP convention". USA Today. Retrieved June 23, 2017. 
  19. ^ Murray, Sara; Acosta, Jim; Schleifer, Theodore (March 4, 2017). "More Trump advisers disclose meetings with Russia's ambassador". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b Bernard, 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 June 23, 2017.