Joshua Treviño

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Joshua Treviño is an American political commentator, formerly a consultant and United States Army officer. He is Vice President for External Relations at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He is a former George W. Bush Administration speech writer but never wrote for President Bush or any members of his cabinet[1] and was listed as a 2006 Lincoln Fellow with the Claremont Institute.[2]

Before joining the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño was founder and president of Treviño Strategies and Media in Sacramento, California, where he worked on national and international media campaigns, and served as communication manager for California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore’s 2010 campaign for the United States Senate. Prior to his current role, Treviño was an associate in Booz Allen Hamilton's international health business. He has held positions in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services as an international communications coordinator and speechwriter.

Treviño blogged for years under the pseudonym Tacitus, a reference to the Roman historian of the same name. He was a co-founder of RedState, a politically conservative weblog modeled on the liberal DailyKos. He holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Furman University.


In August 2012, a controversy arose around statements Treviño had made on Twitter over a year previously, following the Israeli military's May 31, 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara and later in the context of the planned Freedom Flotilla II. In June 2011 he had written: "Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla—well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me."[3] critics accused him of incitement to murder[4] and demanded that The Guardian drop him as a columnist.[5] Others, including conservative author Bruce Bawer, defended Treviño.[6]

Treviño and The Guardian responded by publishing a response in which Treviño stated that "any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record."[7] The Guardian later severed its relationship with Treviño, citing his previously undisclosed partnership with Malaysian business interests.[8]

Malaysian government payment scandal[edit]

Between May 2008 until April 2011, he was paid $389,000 by the "Government of Malaysia, its ruling party, or interests closely aligned with either".[9][10]

His work was to organize a covert opinion campaign against former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. None of those involved with the campaign disclosed that the funds paid were provided by the government of Malaysia. Treviño in turn made payments of up to $36,000 to several conservative American opinion writers who went on to write pro-government pieces on behalf of Malaysia, including his former employer Chuck DeVore, Claire Berlinski, Ben Domenech, Rachel Ehrenfeld and Brad Jackson.[9] Outlets in which their work appeared included the Huffington Post, the San Francisco Examiner, the Washington Times, National Review, and[9] When questioned in 2011 by the Politico website about whether Malaysian interests funded his activities, Mr. Treviño flatly denied it: "I was never on any 'Malaysian entity's payroll,' and I resent your assumption that I was."

In 2013 Treviño filed a statament with the Foreign Regristration office of the Department of Justice—five years after being required to make the information Public. He explained the late filing by stating that he was unaware of the requirement.[9] Britain's The Guardian banned him from writing as a result of having failed to disclose his Malaysian government ties, a lawyer advised him to contact the Justice Department about filing.[11] Treviño stated, "They let me do a retroactive filing and that was that."[12][13] The Wall Street Journal published a "Review and Outlook" column about what came to be known as "Malaysiagate" where they noted that the campaign had as its objective "sowing doubt among other would-be Anwar defenders in the U.S., especially on the right of the U.S. political spectrum. Mr. Treviño paid other writers who know almost nothing about Malaysia but mimicked his propaganda." Among those on the payroll was former California senate candidate Chuck DeVore, Treviño had once handled public relations for DeVore's campaign. The two are colleagues at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.[14]


  1. ^ "Josh Treviño, GOP Consultant: "My Red Hair And Pale Skin IS My Passport"", The Huffington Post; accessed September 21, 2016.
  2. ^ 2006 Biodata,; accessed September 21, 2016.
  3. ^ Twitter/ jstrevino: Dear IDF: If you end up shooting...,; accessed September 21, 2016.
  4. ^ What's gone wrong at The Guardian?,; accessed September 21, 2016.
  5. ^ Letters: Dismay at addition of Joshua Treviño to Guardian US commentary team,; accessed September 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Bruce Bawer, Leftists Move to Crush Conservative Columnist, FrontPageMag,com, August 23, 2012.
  7. ^ My 2011 Gaza flotilla tweet: a clarification,; accessed September 21, 2016.
  8. ^ "Joint statement from The Guardian and Joshua Treviño",; accessed September 21, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d Gray, Rosie (March 1, 2013). "Covert Malaysian Campaign Touched A Wide Range of American Media". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  10. ^ Treviño, Joshua (January 24, 2013). "Registration Statement Pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  11. ^ "The Guardian backtracks from hiring Joshua Treviño",; accessed September 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Lach, Eric (March 1, 2013). "Conservative Pundits Wrote Malaysian Propaganda". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  13. ^ Weinger, Mackenzie (March 1, 2013). "Joshua Trevino's Malay Payday". Politico. Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  14. ^ "Review & Outlook: Malaysia's U.S. Propaganda - WSJ". 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2016-09-24. 

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