Understand, the Colonel, has been a staunch and loyal Trump supporter from the day Donald Trump first announced in June 2015. Involved in local state politics since 2011, he is considered by many Republican leaders and political insiders across Florida as one of the most powerful county chairman in Florida -- and his power and influence continues to expand. His close ties to and ardent ally of Joe Gruters, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) and Trump’s State Chairman for his 2016 campaign, as well as RPOF Vice Chair Christian Zeigler matters. Waurishuk was at his side since Trump first launched his campaigned in Florida in 2015. Since then, he was tapped to serve as a key note speaker for Trump during the campaign, and was the host and MC at Trump’s Tampa Rally in July 2018. He was also the first retired senior military officer in Florida to endorse Trump for President.
Waurishuk is best known as a strategically aggressive, behind the scenes operator, who’s unorthodox and unconventional, and sometimes ruthless approach makes him a savvy political strategist. Likewise, applying his military, intelligence expertise and experience, and effective strategic influence to politics and campaign, allows for his complex understanding of the political landscape and the tactics, techniques and procedures.
Still 15-months out from November 2020, two-weeks ago, he called on the Trump 2020 Florida leadership -- the Florida Regional Director and Florida State Director, to come to Tampa for a day-long huddle and strategy session. During the meeting he used the opportunity to present both his and his Board’s ideas on how to organize the county effort, exercising centralizing command and control, and using Party membership, Party sanctioned Republican Clubs, and Trump supporting political clubs and volunteers in Hillsborough to coordinate, corroborate, and implement what Waurishuk’s senior strategist Gregg Prentice calls a phenomenal “ground game” -- supported by what he calls a 10,000+ “Army of Volunteers” for the county. This was followed by his in-depth corroboration and coordination with the Florida Trump Campaign to bring the national Women for Trump to Tampa this week on August 22nd at the Tampa Convention Center to celebrate Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Also this week will be a major joint voter registration event with the Pasco GOP and the RPOF at the Tampa Gun Show. And in September the Party’s second MAGA Meet-up scheduled for September in Tampa. All the while, the Colonel spent this past weekend huddled in Destine, FL with the state party leaders for the RPOF Summer Quarterly to strategize for 2020.
On another note, one of Colonel Waurishuk’s other known trade crafts is that of his study and analysis of the President’s decision-making process to which he has spoken and regularly writes about, and is probably one of, if not the best. In the summer of 2015 he first defined the term characterizing the President’s approach to national security as “the Trump Doctrine.” He has since defined the President’s overall decision-making approach to all policy as the same. He noted, “one common theme is the extraordinary way the President practices operational security, aka OPSEC, that being exceptional well” -- going on to say, “the President keeps things close to the vest…he’s a master at this and it serves him well, enough said.”
The Colonel further noted that Mr. Trump’s strategy has been well utilized in how he executes and conducts the nation’s business of domestic policy, foreign policy, and national security, and of course how he strategizes and battles internal Washington, DC politics. Waurishuk said most political analysts even the most seasoned pundits don’t understand, or misread the President because they continue to try to apply the standard Washington, DC, or the typical Democrat-Republican “conventional wisdom,” which he said doesn’t fit President Trump’s character, his methodology, rationale, or most of all how he thinks. The Colonel said it frustrates and confuses a lot of people and political pundits and analysts. He finds himself on a regular basis being called to explain and asked why did Trump do that, or what is Trump up to?
Getting back to Hillsborough, as we noted, Waurishuk said we’re gearing-up early for the 2020 General and Presidential Elections. The Hillsborough Chairman’s position on critical issues and his political insight are deliberate and laser-focused with Conservative principles always in the backdrop and being the anchor of his foundational requirements for the Party. While some of the more establishment-minded members of the local party have balked at his stance, he said there’s no going back, we must be in-sync with the Governor and the President. He has been unwavering, offering the option of either, joining and working with the Party, or be run-over and left in the dust by the Democrats and the political-left on their road to Socialism.
“Just as it’s a challenge both nationally and statewide, right now, we need to do our part in the unification of the party, bring the people together.” Waurishuk told The Florida Report. “We’re Republicans -- this is now the Party of Trump and everyone needs to be onboard."
“Both the President’s and Governor Ron DeSantis are both governing under very Conservative agendas, and we need to ensure that agenda is supported and reflected within the Hillsborough County Republican Party," he went on to say.
Again, being a career military officer, has hardened his stance and positions and his approach on politics – he’s hardcore and passionate. Coupled with the fact that the Colonel’s experiences as a senior career combat, special mission, and strategic intelligence officer has put him into the world’s worst places -- he gets it.
“Right now, we are dealing with the consequences of political corruption and Socialist and Progressive globalist agenda politics – we need to pay attention as a nation and as a Party," he said. "Likewise, we have to protect our flanks from those who want to make us susceptible to the tenants of more Progressive thinking that will only erode our way of life in this county.”
Colonel Waurishuk noted, “after the Cold War, thinking Marxist-Socialism (Communism) was dead … we got complacent allowing more Progressive-left and Socialist ideological mind-set take hold, as a result that has unfortunately had a softening influence on some in the Republican camp in the years that followed, which blemished our Constitutional and Conservative values and thinking.” With that, the Colonel has been steadfast and missioned-focused on the direction we must now be heading to best to protect the Republic, and President Trump’s “America First” agenda.
Over the course of his tenure in the Party, as both the county party’s State Committeeman, and following his election, and re-election as Chairman, he has sought to build on and capitalize on the Party’s Conservatives to do the heavy- lifting. He has been resolute in this effort to establish and implement policies and strategies to compliment and support the Governor DeSantis’ Conservative stance, that actually been highly favorable to both Republicans and Democrats. At the same time, he sees the opportunity for the county’s more Conservative supporters and political leaders to serve as force-multipliers to increase support for President Trump’s 2020 re-election, which of course will be critical in changing the political landscape of a longtime predominately Blue county. But he believes it and is optimistic it can be done. Solid party unity will be key. He noted as he and RPOF Chairman Gruters are corroborating with the RNC, Trump Campaign, the RPOF and the Hillsborough County GOP are doing.
To capitalize on this in Hillsborough, he has gathered the seasoned experience and additional Conservative thinking, to assist in the across the board effort to “Get Out The Vote” for 2020. This month he implemented and established a coordination and corroboration group known as the “President’s Forum.” The forum is a hybrid organization made up of not only the officially chartered county Republican Club Presidents, but also those from the independent, non-chartered Republican, Conservative political organizations and clubs which include; Florida Federated Women, Florida Federated College Republicans, Tampa Bay Young Republicans, 9/12, Tea Party, and Trump Clubs, as well as others that are willing to come forward to support the President – all are welcome. A number of them bring together years of experience, a wealth of leadership, and enthusiastic volunteers. The forum has oversight of the County Party’s Vice Chairman, Frank Giorgio, a career U.S. Navy CAPT and Vietnam Combat Veteran.
Also this month, the Hillsborough County Republican Party will launch its new and improved 2019 Candidate Development Program (CDP) to better inform, educate, train, and prepare new potential Republican candidates for the 2020 election cycle. The program is led by two Party stalwarts, Party Third Vice Chair and former County Commission candidate Chris Paradise, an attorney who lost his 2018 race, and is a West Point graduate and Veteran a staunch Constitution Conservative. Also, former Party Vice Chair and Chairman Art Wood and also a Veteran. The program will bring a breath and wealth of experience focusing on experts from the finance and compliance side of politics, the media, elected officials and members of the U.S. House, State House and Senate, County Commission, Campaign managers, consultants and strategists, IT and Digital, social media, and members of the Party leadership.
As an organization, the Colonel has structurally set-up and re-organized the Party operationally over the past 16, or so months as Chairman. He and his Board established its strategic priorities -- the foundational requirements for the Party to function; known within the organization as the “Three Pillars” which are; Money, Manpower, and Messaging. All three are critically dependent and interdependent on each other.
The underpinnings of the overt political effort are what is seen by most people involved in politics, the media, and the general public. One of the key strategic imperatives as the Colonel explains is understanding the importance and power of strategic influence and communications -- having worked that heavily while serving on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon during and immediately after 9/11, he was pivotal in developing the strategic information and influence campaign to take America to war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, implementing and coordinating that effort between the Pentagon, the Department of State, and the White House, as well as our allies.
Strategically, he see’s politics and political campaigns as being no different than any type of conflict -- employing strategy, tactics, and planning – politics is political warfare. To help support this effort, he has incorporated the military strategy and planning capability know as prepping or preparation of the battlefield. An effort he said that is being brought to bear early-on with the intent to ensure all Republican candidates will be presented, introduced, and become household names by November 2020.
Bring to bear and backing up that effort will be digital and social media capabilities, together with strategic communications strategies supporting individual candidate and Party election efforts. The strategic messaging effort will be choreographed by his StratComms Director and strategic advisor, an advertising and marketing professional, who is a dynamo and brilliant expert in culture, social issues, the political ideologies, and the internecine conflict of political warfare within and between the political parties -- the Colonel stressed the Party is taking bold steps. The Colonel’s emphasis on Strategic Comms and targeted messaging is so critical that his Strat Comms Director grew the Party’s Facebook followers from barely 1,500 in January 2019 to over 10,000 followers this weekend.
Politically, one of Waurishuk’s efforts is to ensure the “viability and relevance” of the Republican Party within the county. He pointed out that Party senior strategist Gregg Prentice always says there’s a question that always must be asked to define effective and relevance of any county political party, sort of a litmus test of past performance, that question is; “Tell me the races we won that if the Hillsborough County GOP hadn't existed, we would have otherwise lost?”
Relevance and purpose are the key factors that will bring more people into the Party Chairman Waurishuk said. He further emphasized that this about creating life-cycle that will help us prepare new members to participate in the election process, along with our party’s seasoned campaign veterans and stalwarts.
The Colonel likened the Party to a veteran combat team, led by a Board and strategic advisors with well over 100-years of political, campaign, and Republican Party experience. He highlighted the organizations big guns to include; Executive Director and Party Secretary Jeanne Webb, another Army Veteran, who serves in virtually every capacity in the Party from Chief of Staff to field organizer. State Committeeman Tom Gaitens a Party ambassador, diplomat, and Constitutional expert and academic. State Committeewoman Clarice Henderson, who along with the Chairman Waurishuk, serves on the RPOF Executive Board, and known for the Hillsborough GOP as having the best training program in Florida. Party Treasurer Kathy Brown, an expert on compliance, and a Constitutional Conservative with years of experience with the 9/12 movement and Tea Party. 2nd Vice Chair Michael Henderson and consummate IT professional, as well as Strategic Advisor Gregg Prentice, and also well-known Election Integrity expert in Florida and the Southeast. There is also Fundraising Director John Melendez, Party Procedures Chair Don Henderson, and legal and parliamentarian team of Brian Griffin and Genesis Quintana.
Chairman Waurishuk was resolute in saying that having such a deep bench will certainly serve us as well for 2020, but acknowledged our Party will no doubt be in the battle for the heart and soul of the county, Florida and America. Critically speaking he noted, “Every Republican vote contributes to the overall effort.” The Colonel noted, “Let’s be realistic, this is not a six-month, or a one year battle, the campaign is in effect as we speak -- this is why we are doing what we are doing now, it will be non-stop. We are going to do all we can to make sure we are ready and prepared for whoever and whatever the Democrats throw at us, with who they nominate.” He further said, “we will be working closely in our county, with the state Republican races, working closely with the RPOF state party, and the Trump 2020 Victory Campaign as part of Florida’s overall effort to ensure we help secure a second term for our President Trump."