Just returned from a trip to Europe, journalist Matthew Tyrmand sat down for an interview with Chronicles to discuss his work and thoughts about the future of America after the 2020 election. He was informed by officials on re-entry to the U.S. that the Department of Homeland Security had revoked his “Global Entry” status, which speeds the way through customs. Tyrmand believes  he’s one of many people, including conservative journalists and former Trump administration officials, who have had that privilege revoked now under the new administration.
Tyrmand, who is the son of Chronicles Founding Editor Leopold Tyrmand—the anti-Communist, Polish ex-patriot writer, critic, and jazz musician—is a board member of Project Veritas, deputy director-at-large of the government transparency nonprofit Open the Books, and an investigative journalist who reported on alleged pay-for-play corruption by Hunter Biden and his associates.
Tyrmand: Yeah, turns out the Department of Homeland Security has been revoking global entry permits to Trump admin people and other conservatives, just out of pure spite. Wouldn’t give me a reason, but they hassled me at the customs kiosk about who I was and who I was with, what I was doing, all that rigamarole. So, welcome to America in 2021!
Q. That’s pretty scary… Tell us about how you got your start as a writer. You hadn’t intended to follow your father’s footsteps and actually spent your twenties working in finance in New York.
Tyrmand: Steve Bannon recruited me to write for Breitbart about what was going on in Poland and Central Europe, about the Euroskeptic movement that grew out of Nigel Farage’s UKIP movement pushing for Brexit. So we were trying to push our ideas past the mainstream gatekeepers, which the silent majority embraced, since they had seen what Bannon calls “the Party of Davos” taking over—those who don’t believe in borders or sovereignty, and who believe that technocratic elites should rule the world.
This topic appealed to me and I know it would have appealed to my father, so that’s what got me off the sidelines to start writing about Poland. Poland, like Hungary, was an early country to start pushing back against the globalists toward sovereignty, and of course it’s the countries that had recent memories of being under Communism that were fighting most vociferously for sovereignty.
The technocratic elites are people with multiple passports and no real national allegiance, but allegiance to capital flow and those multinational organizations with no accountability. I mean, nobody’s elected these people and yet they control so much. So this lack of true representative democracy that has unfortunately spread over the last two-to-three generations, it’s having a pendulum shift back—they went too far. If you look at the U.S., with the outsourcing of jobs to China in the name of reducing labor costs so that everybody benefits, well, go to Youngstown, Ohio, and you’ll see that not everybody benefits. Tucker Carlson made a great point when he asked, “Are we a country with an economy, or an economy with a country?”
I believe we are a country, a society, a culture, and we have a tie that binds us patriotically around the flag, which is a symbol, but it’s more than that. America as an idea is more than just a bunch of words on paper and the Pledge of Allegiance, it’s something bigger: it’s the total apotheosis of freedom delivered to humanity and codified in government. And that was weakening, and people started fighting back, first in Europe with Brexit, which paved the way for Trump—all these things are interrelated—and what happened in central Europe was a canary in the coal mine. People are not willing to let the George Soroses of the world build institutions which subvert their democracies.
So, writing about Poland opened a lot of doors for me, as did working with Project Veritas…
Q. So was there a natural progression for you to move from writing about European pro-sovereignty nationalist movements to tackle similar topics in the U.S.?
Well I’d already been starting to report on and investigate U.S. affairs with Project Veritas. All these things are so connected ideologically that it’s sort of a natural evolution between the pro-sovereignty movements in Europe and the rising populism in America.
Populism is not the dirty word that the leftist, globalist elites want to make it out to be, populism is the will of the people. Like Buckley said, “I’d rather be ruled by the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty.” I’m a huge proponent of that idea, because the ossified, barnacle elites are cloistered in ivory towers: academia, think tanks, and government. So they are incredibly disconnected from those blue-collar workers who have seen their wages stagnate for decades, and suffered from bad globalist trade deals where Americans get the short end of the stick because the progressivist elites want to move the world to a unified governance. Something like an Orwellian globe, or even a dichotomy like in H.G. Wells’ book The Time Machine, in which the Morlocks prey upon the Eloi—and I think that is ugly, unhealthy, and ultimately evil.
The people on the ground know it’s happening, because they can see it in society. They can see it in the bank bailouts in 2009. Wall Street levered up the national balance sheet and they did it in housing, which is the largest asset class, which touches everybody. And when it was time to pay the price for that, they got bailed out and the man on the ground got screwed. And so I’ve always viewed that global populist revolution was the direct result of what happened in 2009.
Q. Tell us about the work you do with Project Veritas.
I joined the board there in 2013. I’d known Veritas’s founder, James O’Keefe, and our relationship developed and I joined the board to sort of oversee and sign my name to what they’re doing, as well as advise him and participate in some of the investigations.
Some of my favorite and our most significant investigations in my opinion include the 2016 Democracy Partners investigation into voter fraud, which involved Bob Creamer and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the left-wing House member representing the northside of Chicago. It was another Obama-style community organizing operation from Chicago, which was organizing for Hillary Clinton’s campaign by busing people in to Wisconsin from Chicago and trying to start fights at Trump rallies to then create an optic that Trump inculcates and catalyzes violence, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
And we just did another big investigation into voter fraud during the 2020 election in the Minnesota Somali community. I was deeply involved with that; I’ve always been interested in Minnesota politics, as the birthplace of progressivism and the capital of progressive politics in the U.S. for the better part of a century. Watching what happened with the suspicious election results in the contest between Sen. [Al] Franken and Sen. [Norm] Coleman in 2008 got me interested in the history of Minnesota politics, so I was really happy we went in there to do a deep voter-fraud dive and uncover what we always knew was going on there for generations. To capture it as we did, showing how it was going on so openly and so brazenly, and then to watch the media spin that it was all fake…but we got the smoking gun—we have the proof.
Q. You also broke significant news during the 2020 election related to Hunter Biden’s mysterious relationship with the Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina, in which it appears that Hunter and his associates were peddling access to his father, Vice President Biden, to foreign nationals. One thing that struck me is the utter indifference and scorn that the mainstream media treated this story with, and yet they gushed over so-called bombshells about Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia that were thinly sourced and ultimately revealed to be fraudulent. Do you get discouraged at this, or feel that your efforts are futile?
Well, it’s never futile. As Ed Feulner said, “There are no permanent victories and no permanent defeats.” The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, no matter how futile it feels. Of course, any mention of fraud, which was widespread in the 2020 election, will get you cancelled. My view is that more than half the country knows that there was fraud, and that is why they need to go through these widespread, Stalinist-style purges in the information distribution mechanisms of social media and news. If only 10 percent of society believed there was fraud, those people could just be laughed at and marginalized. But because that belief is so widespread, they need to undertake more dramatic tactical operations in order to reinforce the “Big Lie,” and to try to create a personal risk to anyone who questions their narrative.
So, it’s an ugly moment, but as futile as it may seem, we have to do it. With the Hunter Biden stuff, there were three big stories that pointed toward corruption, and one of them was put out by the New York Post, and look what happened to them. The fourth-largest newspaper in the country and the oldest [daily] paper in the country, founded by Alexander Hamilton, and one of the only big ones that doesn’t hew closely to the leftist orthodoxy, and they provided well-sourced, well-proven facts about Hunter Biden’s dealings, and yet they were totally blackballed, blacklisted, and silenced during the election cycle.
I’m sure that people see it, but I’m not sure the Right will ever win an election cycle again if [the Left] can perpetrate such brazen fraud and get away with it. I believe the same irregularities that happened in the presidential election happened in the Georgia Senate runoff.
Q. Are there any political solutions left for the Right going forward? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
I’m pessimistic. We have to continue to fight, and to organize better. The populist right has to be harnessed, and Trump was really good at doing that—that’s why they were so scared of him. Here was the guy who invented celebrity reality television, who knew how to break through by the force of personality. He was a classic American figure who was larger than life, like a P. T. Barnum.
The knock on Trump is that he was given everything, but in reality he was self-made, he took a small empire and made it a big empire. Sure, it’s easier to do that with a good start, but he still had to do it, and in the toughest market in the world, New York real estate, where there are so many institutional forces arrayed against getting anything done. But he was able to succeed anyhow.
And that’s why he’s such a scary figure to the Left, and why they tried to turn the first U.S. president with a Jewish family, who moved the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, into a neo-Nazi, which is cartoonish.
The nation is indoctrinated by a public education system that cares nothing about making better citizens. Education has the same goal that opening the borders does: making a bigger Democratic Party rank-and-file. It’s just like when the Irish immigrants used to get off the boats in Boston, they would get a guarantee if they would vote for the machine they would get a job. It is about creating a mob rule through Cicero-style trade-offs from the public treasury.
Q. What can people do? What positive steps can they take?
Well, the populists have to start building their own institutions. And Big Tech needs to have anti-trust legislation enacted against them, because they clearly colluded in the election, through banning Trump and through the censorship, deplatforming, and cancelling of people. They have immunity liability through Section 230, but they are really editors and publishers who have tremendous control over what information sees the light of day. That’s a violation of the legal precept that they are a platform and should have their liability waived.
Trump’s biggest mistakes were to talk big about Big Tech censorship and election integrity, but to do nothing about it while he was in office. I mean, we saw this coming as a result of COVID from the get-go. COVID spikes in March and April, and by May the Left is pushing the idea of absentee ballots and breaking down the separation of powers on the state level to oversee elections. The executive branches through the offices of the governors and the secretaries of state unilaterally usurped the power of the legislatures over elections on an emergency basis. It tells me that COVID was used to do what they wanted to do: get Trump out.
Q. Your father founded Chronicles in 1977 to provide an alternative to the cultural and literary journals that were dominated by the left, such as The New Yorker, where he’d formerly worked. Book reviews and recommendations have always been a part of the magazine—what books would you recommend to Chronicles readers?
My father wrote two books that are very relevant today. One is his de Tocqueville-style travelogue through the U.S., written during his visit on a lecture tour before he claimed asylum and emigrated, Notebooks of a Dilettante (1970). The other is The Rosa Luxemburg Contraceptives Cooperative: A Primer on Communist Civilization (1972), which is a cradle-to-grave description of what life under Communism is like.
And, although I’m not a Randian or an anarcho-capitalist, I still think Atlas Shrugged is an important book to understand the Left-Right divide in America.
Q. What is the best way for people to follow your work?
I’m still on Twitter at @MatthewTyrmand. I honestly want to reduce my social media use as much as possible. But I write here and there, and you’ll see me pop up as I work on projects for Veritas and appear on Fox News. I can be found if someone wants to find me!