Michael Anton

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Michael Anton
Michael Anton Headshot.png
Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications
In office
February 8, 2017 – April 8, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byBen Rhodes
Succeeded byGarrett Marquis[1][2]
Sarah Tinsley[1][2]
Personal details
Born1969 (age 52–53)
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
St. John's College, Annapolis (MALA)
Claremont Graduate University (MA)

Michael Anton (born 1969) is an American conservative essayist, speechwriter and former private-equity executive who was a senior national security official in the Trump administration. Under a pseudonym he wrote "The Flight 93 Election", an influential essay in support of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.[3][4]

Anton was Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications on the National Security Council under Trump.[5] He is a former speechwriter for Rupert Murdoch,[6] Rudy Giuliani, and Condoleezza Rice, and worked as director of communications at the investment bank Citigroup and as managing director of investing firm BlackRock.[7][3]

Life and career[edit]

Anton is of Italian and Lebanese descent. He grew up in Loomis, California. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned advanced degrees from St. John's College and the Claremont Graduate University.[8][6]

Under the pseudonym "Nicholas Antongiavanni", Anton wrote The Suit, a 2006 men's fashion guide book, which is a parody of Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince.[9]

Anton joined the U.S. National Security Council as deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications in February 2017. He resigned on April 8, 2018, the evening before John R. Bolton became Trump's National Security Advisor.[10][11][12][13][14]

Anton joined Hillsdale College's Kirby Center Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., after leaving the Trump administration.[15]

Nils Gilman, an employee at the Berggruen Institute and co-founder of the Transition Integrity Project, compared Anton in a 2020 tweet to Robert Brasillach and said he "deserves the same fate" as Brasillach, who was executed by a firing squad.[16] The Claremont Institute, which manages the publication where Anton published his essay, condemned the comments.[17][non-primary source needed]

In December 2020, Trump appointed Anton to a four-year term on the National Board for Education Sciences, which advises the Department of Education on scientific research and investments.[18][19]


Anton is considered to be a notable West Coast Straussian, as a student of Leo Strauss by way of tutor Harry V. Jaffa,[20] and he specializes in the study of Niccolò Machiavelli.[21]

Anton has derided American diversity in his writing, arguing in a pseudonymous March 2016 essay that "'Diversity' is not 'our strength'; it's a source of weakness, tension and disunion."[22]

In the same essay, written under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus (after the ancient Roman consul), Anton defended Donald Trump's use of the slogan "America First" by arguing that the America First Committee (which included prominent antisemites and opposed the United States entering World War II) had been "unfairly maligned."[23] He also argued that Islam "is a militant faith", and that "only an insane society" would take in Muslim immigrants after the 9/11 attacks.[24]

His pseudonymous September 2016 editorial "The Flight 93 Election", published in the Claremont Review of Books, compared the prospect of conservatives letting Hillary Clinton win the 2016 United States presidential election with passengers not charging the cockpit of the United Airlines aircraft hijacked by Al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.[25][4][26][27][28][29][22][30] In the essay, Anton criticized conservatives who were skeptical of Donald Trump,[31] and he also decried the "ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners," called for "no more importing poverty, crime, and alien cultures", called the idea of Islamophobia and the Black Lives Matter movement "inanities", and argued that the American left was waging "wars on 'cis-genderism'".[31][32] Rush Limbaugh devoted the bulk of a radio show in September 2016 to a reading of the editorial.[33]

In Anton's 2019 book After the Flight 93 Election: The Vote that Saved America and What We Still Have to Lose, Anton argued that Trump constituted "the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation."[31] Trump praised the book.[31]

According to Carlos Lozada, book critic for The Washington Post, Anton's book primarily reprints text from his 2016 editorial, but with a newly added rumination of how dangerous the American left is.[31] Lozada wrote, "Anton spends virtually no time detailing or defending particular policies of the Trump administration; all that matters is the enemy. For Anton, Hillary Clinton is no longer the chief nemesis—the entire left is, along with sellout conservatives and any other forces countering the president. They contribute to a 'spiritual sickness' and 'existential despair' pervading not just the United States but all the West ... Apparently, Flight 93 did not end with the 2016 vote; we are forever on the plane, endlessly in danger, no matter who has seized the controls."[31]

Anton is also known as a critic of birthright citizenship in the United States, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not mandate jus soli ("right of the soil") citizenship, and that the Amendment's use of the provision "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" excludes children born of illegal aliens.[34][non-primary source needed]

In September 2020, Anton wrote a conspiratorial essay titled "The Coming Coup?" in The American Mind; in the essay, Anton suggested that Democrats, aided by George Soros, were planning a coup d'etat to take over the United States[23][35] by way of a domestic color revolution coordinated by the so-called Deep State and influential operatives of the Democratic Party.[36] The widely shared article was called a tipping point in spreading the unfounded claim, which was further popularized by The Federalist, DJHJ Media and Dan Bongino.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Anton is a classically trained chef. After resigning from the National Security Council in 2018, he came back to the White House for a day to work as a line cook in the kitchen, helping prepare a state dinner for President Emmanuel Macron of France.[37] He is also an aesthete with a penchant for classical men's tailoring and fashion, having authored a short book and over 40,000 posts on internet bulletin board Styleforum.net on the subject.[38][39]


  • Antongiavanni, Nicholas (2006). The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men's Style. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060891862.
  • After the Flight 93 Election: The Vote that Saved America and What We Still Have to Lose. Encounter Books. 2019. ISBN 9781641770606.
  • The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return. Regnery Publishing. 2020. ISBN 9781684510610.


  1. ^ a b Vogel, Kenneth P. (May 21, 2018). "Meet the Members of the 'Shadow N.S.C.' Advising John Bolton". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Collins, Kaitlan (May 29, 2018). "Bolton adds two loyalists to the National Security Council". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Nguyen, Tina (February 23, 2017). "Machiavelli in the White House: Is This the Most Powerful Man in Trump's Administration?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Chait, Jonathan (February 2, 2017). "America's Leading Authoritarian Is Working for Trump". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  5. ^ "Michael Anton | C-SPAN.org". C-SPAN. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Maas, Peter (February 12, 2017). "Dark Essays by White House Staffer Are the Intellectual Source Code of Trumpism". The Intercept. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2017. In the beginning, Anton attended Claremont Graduate University, an incubator for conservative thinkers. He became a speechwriter and press secretary for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, then took a mid-level job at the NSC in the George W. Bush administration. As the Weekly Standard reported, he was part of the team that pushed for the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Anton left the government in 2005 and became a speechwriter for Rupert Murdoch at News Corp., followed by several years in the communications shop at Citigroup, then a year and a half as a managing director at BlackRock, the asset management firm.
  7. ^ Johnson, Eliana; Stokols, Eli (February 7, 2017). "What Steve Bannon Wants You to Read". Politico.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Machiavelli in the White House: Is This the Most Powerful Man in Trump's Administration?".
  9. ^ "The Dandy". Humanities: The Magazine for the National Endowment for the Humanities. March–April 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  10. ^ Anton, Michael (April 20, 2019). "The Trump Doctrine". Foreign Policy. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  11. ^ Landler, Mark (April 25, 2018). "A National Security Aide's Departing Wish: Cooking for the State Dinner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  12. ^ Cerbin, Carolyn (April 8, 2018). "National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton to leave White House". USA Today. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  13. ^ Borger, Julian (April 9, 2018). "Syria provides John Bolton with first test as Trump's national security adviser". The Guardian. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Dawsey, Josh; Jaffe, Greg (April 10, 2018). "White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert resigns". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  15. ^ "Michael Anton". dc.hillsdale.edu. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Hinderaker, John (September 23, 2020). "Are Liberals Responsible For the Consequences of Their Death Threats?". Power Line. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  17. ^ "Dear Berggruen Institute: Renounce Death Threats Now". The American Mind. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  18. ^ Sparks, Sarah D. (December 14, 2020). "Researchers Balk at Trump's Last-Minute Picks for Ed. Science Board". Education Week. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  19. ^ Mervis, Jeffrey (December 11, 2020). "Researchers decry Trump picks for education sciences advisory board". Science | AAAS. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  20. ^ MacDougald, Park (February 5, 2020). "The Battle on the New Right for the Soul of Trump's America". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved July 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ Patterson, Troy (February 28, 2017). "Trump Official Once Wrote Book About Suits in the Voice of Machiavelli". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved July 23, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b Gray, Rosie (February 10, 2017). "The Anti-Democracy Movement Influencing the Right". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Boigon, Molly (September 18, 2020). "A former Trump official dreamed up a George Soros-funded 'coup' and QAnon believes it". The Forward. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  24. ^ Schulberg, Jessica (February 8, 2017), "Trump Aide Derided Islam, Immigration and Diversity, Embraced an Anti-Semitic Past", The Huffington Post, retrieved June 10, 2021.
  25. ^ "The Anonymous Pro-Trump 'Decius' Now Works Inside The White House". February 2, 2017.
  26. ^ Schulberg 2017.
  27. ^ Celeste, Katz (February 3, 2017). "Bannon isn't the only shadowy far-right figure in the White House - meet Michael Anton". Mic. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  28. ^ Leonhardt, David (February 3, 2017). "The Unmasking of a Trumpist". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  29. ^ Cooper, Ryan (February 3, 2017). "Republicans: You must impeach President Trump". The Week. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  30. ^ Maas 2017.
  31. ^ a b c d e f Lozada, Carlos (March 15, 2019). "Thinking for Trump: Other presidents had a brain trust. But the intellectuals backing this White House are a bust". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  32. ^ Anton, Michael (September 5, 2016). "The Flight 93 Election". Claremont Review of Books. Upland, California, US: Claremont Institute. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  33. ^ Linker, Damon (February 19, 2021). "The chilling tributes to Rush Limbaugh". The Week. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  34. ^ Anton, Michael (July 22, 2018). "Birthright Citizenship: A Response to My Critics". Claremont Review of Books. Claremont Institute. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  35. ^ a b Alba, Davey (October 13, 2020). "Riled Up: Misinformation Stokes Calls for Violence on Election Day". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  36. ^ Anton, Michael. "The Coming Coup?". The American Mind. Retrieved July 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. ^ Landler, Mark (April 25, 2018). "A National Security Aide's Departing Wish: Cooking for the State Dinner". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  38. ^ Maass, Peter (February 16, 2017). "Trump Official Obsessed Over Nuclear Apocalypse, Men's Style, Fine Wines in 40,000 Posts on Fashion Site". The Intercept. Retrieved July 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  39. ^ Backman, Melvin (March 22, 2018). "How a Menswear Troll Became a Trump Administration Insider". Garage. Retrieved July 3, 2021.

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