WASHINGTON—Saying it was the first step in gaining the confidence and stability he would need to reintegrate back into society, residents and staff on Thursday welcomed former White House strategist Sebastian Gorka to New Beginnings, a halfway house for fired Trump administration members.
The 20-bed residential treatment center, which opened earlier this year in the capital’s quiet Woodland Park neighborhood, reportedly offers round-the-clock care to traumatized former West Wing insiders, providing life skills training, wellness workshops, and psychotherapy under the guidance of licensed social workers.
“At New Beginnings, Mr. Gorka will have the chance to make a fresh start—a chance to reflect on his past actions and hopefully emerge a more responsible citizen,” said director Ross Woodley, who noted that besides housing, the facility offered counseling on issues from anger management to speaking with special prosecutors. “No doubt he’s been through a lot, but he’ll be joining a community of other ex-Trump strategists, senior advisors, and communications personnel who are all going through the same process.”
“It’s very lucky we were able to accommodate him, though, as we’ve been completely full since February,” he added.
According to Woodley, once accepted to the program, a jittery, confused Gorka was driven from the White House directly to the facility to begin treatment. During the intake process, Gorka’s personal belongings were reportedly confiscated and he was asked to sign forms promising not to visit the Oval Office or have any contact with his enabling friends still within the administration.
Sources said that Gorka, 46, has responded well to the facility’s regimented schedule, rising before dawn to brew coffee and make breakfast for the group with former communications director Michael Dubke. Additionally, sources noted that Gorka had bonded with long-term resident Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who showed him how to do his own laundry and helped him buy a bus pass so he could apply for dishwashing jobs around town.
“It’s a good sign that he’s interacting with people—that’s more than we could say for Spicer or Priebus when they got here,” said Woodley, pointing to the two men quietly completing a 1,000-piece winter landscape jigsaw puzzle. “Sean was just a mess. One moment he’d be manically scrawling press releases on the backs of napkins, and the next he’d be screaming in your face, saying that CNN was out to destroy his reputation. Reince has been in and out of a catatonic stupor since he arrived.”
“Yes, it’s true these guys got wrapped up with the wrong people, but I firmly believe everyone has value no matter badly they’ve screwed up their lives, or their family’s lives, or the lives of 314 million Americans,” he continued.
According to Woodley, some of the biggest breakthroughs are made during group therapy where twice a day, former officials gather in the facility’s activity room to discuss tense moments working for the administration and how they might have handled them differently. He noted that while some residents reportedly take weeks to admit the things they’ve done, most eventually build up the courage to share their stories, often breaking down into sobs.
Woodley also explained that all residents are required to follow a strict code of conduct: no drugs or alcohol, no guest appearances on cable news, and a tidy bunk at all times. According to staff, however, abiding by the rules has been especially tough for Steve Bannon, whose attempts to conduct Breitbart editorial meetings via a smuggled cell phone have led to his loss of commissary privileges.
“Bannon is incredibly volatile, so we’ve had to put him on a 24/7 watch to ensure he doesn’t injure himself or others,” said Woodley, adding that the president’s former chief strategist had recently thrown an ashtray at a TV after watching a Fox News segment he considered “bullshit establishment propaganda.” “We thought maybe he’d turned a corner when he found a job as a busboy at a nearby pub, but then he lost it by referring to several waitresses as ‘dykes.’”
While rehabilitation has been easier for some residents than others, Woodley said former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was his biggest success story to date, noting that, after several weeks of intense rage counseling, he had fully accepted responsibility for his chaotic 10-day tenure and would soon be starting a new job at an Arlington landscaping company.
“Though we wish for everyone to have the same level of success as Anthony, we accept it’s not always possible,” said Woodley. “There are only so many resources, and more and more people show up at our doorstep every day.”
“Unfortunately, without our guidance, there’s really no future for these folks,” he continued. “People just don’t want Trump staffers living in their neighborhoods.”