Michael Anton (left) and Tom Wolfe at a Man­hattan Institute event. Anton, who began teaching at the Alan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies earlier this year, spoke on political hos­tility at Hillsdale this week. LinkedIn

While working as the director of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the National Security Council during the George W. Bush admin­is­tration, Michael Anton had a rule: He wouldn’t leave the office until he had returned every call he had received that day.

He quickly aban­doned that rule when he joined the Trump admin­is­tration in Feb­ruary 2017 as the Deputy Assistant to the Pres­ident for Strategic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the National Security Council. He was getting between 200 and 300 calls a day.

“There was less media during the Bush admin­is­tration, the internet was not really a thing,” Anton said. “It was just a much slower, calmer, less complex envi­ronment.”

Anton, who delivered a campus lecture on the current political land­scape Tuesday evening, joined the staff at the Allan P. Kirby Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship in Wash­ington, D.C. earlier this year as a lec­turer in pol­itics and research fellow. He is cur­rently teaching a course on national security for stu­dents on the Wash­ington-Hillsdale Internship Program, a course he calls a mix of theory and practice. He spends the rest of his time writing or lec­turing.

“The first class has been great,” said Matthew Spalding, Asso­ciate Vice Pres­ident & Dean of Edu­ca­tional Pro­grams at the Kirby Center. “The stu­dents really like him.”

Anton said that although there are no def­inite plans for him to teach another class next year, he enjoys teaching.

“Hillsdale stu­dents know stuff already,” Anton said. “They’re coming to the table already with a body of knowledge.”

Spalding said Anton is a good fit for the Kirby Center in part because he has both intel­lectual back­ground and prac­tical expe­rience.

Anton is known for his “The Flight 93 Election” article, pub­lished in Sep­tember 2016 under the pseu­donym “Publius Decius Mus,” which urged Repub­licans to treat the 2016 pres­i­dential election with the same sac­ri­ficial fervor of the pas­sengers of 9/11’s Flight 93. He grad­uated from Uni­versity of Cal­i­fornia at Davis and has master’s degrees from both St. John’s College and Claremont Graduate Uni­versity.

It was while working on his doc­torate at Claremont Uni­versity that Anton met Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn, who was pres­ident of Claremont Uni­versity at the time.

“I got to know his family well,” Anton said, adding that he even used to babysit for Arnn and his wife.

Arnn encouraged Anton to leave his doc­torate program early to work as a speech­writer in the California’s governor’s office. From there, Anton also worked as chief speech­writer and press sec­retary for New York City’s mayor, Rudy Giu­liani. He joined the White House staff in 2001 as the director of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the National Security Council. In 2003, he changed posi­tions to become the special assistant to the pres­ident and senior director for foreign policy speech­writing. He left the admin­is­tration staff in 2005 and entered the cor­porate world.

Anton joined the Trump admin­is­tration in 2017. Although he was on the National Security Council for both the Bush and Trump admin­is­tra­tions, he said there are noticeable dif­fer­ences. He described the com­mu­ni­cation aspect of the Trump admin­is­tration as more chaotic, espe­cially with the res­ig­nation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

“It felt like we barely got started and then we had to start over,” Anton said. “So we didn’t really get the machine running properly until some time in the spring probably.”

Anton said he also has seen a dif­ference in the media.

“The media liked Obama and wanted to cover him favorably, and it hates Trump and wants to cover him neg­a­tively,” Anton said in Tuesday’s lecture. “So in addition to the fact that the Trump admin­is­tration is larger and more complex, you also have to layer on top of that the con­stant hos­tility.”

Anton dis­cussed some of that hos­tility on Monday night in a talk about the recent election and current political state. He talked about what the con­ser­v­ative movement can do to strengthen its political power. He also warned against becoming com­placent and accepting what demo­c­ratic politi­cians advocate for.

“We should take seri­ously what the left says,” Anton said in his lecture. “And they say they want to restrict speech.”

Anton said the con­ser­v­ative and Repub­lican movement would have to bring together two of its fac­tions in par­ticular: the RINOs, “Repub­licans In Name Only,” and the TIGRs, “Trump Is Great Repub­licans,” terms he bor­rowed from political analyst Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Putting these two groups together would give the Repub­lican party a win, according to Anton.

Anton also pointed out the impor­tance of being aware of the demo­graphics of an area, attributing the recent election out­comes to changing demo­graphics.

Senior Gar­rison Grisedale, who attended the lecture, said he agrees with Anton. Though Anton sprinkled war rhetoric throughout his speech — even calling large tech com­panies such as Google the “enemy,” at one point — Grisedale said he didn’t find it to be off-putting.

“He painted it as a high-stakes con­flict,” Grisedale said. “I think this is higher stakes than people think.”