Sebastian Gorka, an aide to President Trump who advises on national security matters, volleyed back a question from an NPR correspondent over whether or not the president considers Islam as a “religion.” In an interview, Gorka responded to a question about Trump’s beliefs, saying “This is not a theological seminary. This is the White House, and we’re not going to get into theological debates.”
Gorka explained Trump’s focus: “If the president has a certain attitude to a certain religion, that’s something you can ask him. But we’re talking about national security and the totalitarian ideologies that drive the groups that threaten America.”
When Gorka was asked if Islam is the enemy, he responded that "of course" it is not. "That would be asinine," he said. “As I've written in my book, this isn’t a war with Islam. This is a war in Islam, as the king of Jordan, King Abdullah, as the president of the most populous Arab nation in the world ... has stated.”
Regarding Trump’s use in his address to Congress of the term "radical Islamic terrorism," Gorka said, "We're not wavering on this one."
"Those are the clearest three words of his speech. The enemy is radical Islamic terrorism and that has not changed and it will not change."
Regarding the radicalization of residents of the United States, Gorka said that the Trump administration will not not "listen to so-called terrorism experts who are linked in any way to the last eight years of disastrous counterterrorism."
“We’re going to take a new approach," Gorka said. "We have a new president.”
The Obama administration came in for criticism because of its ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- an organization that according to the FBI that was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. An FBI study
of 2013 found that some FBI field offices had improperly contacted CAIR to provide consultation regarding community relations.
During the 2016 election and since President Trump’s inauguration, CAIR and affiliates have been prominent in criticizing the administration’s policies regarding immigration and the Middle East.