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The Christian Devotional for Politics Junkies

The Charlie Kirk Show / Charlie Kirk
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May 7, 2024 5:00 am

The Christian Devotional for Politics Junkies

The Charlie Kirk Show / Charlie Kirk

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May 7, 2024 5:00 am

Cliff Simms spent 500 momentous days inside the Trump Administration. Now, he's released a book reflecting on his experiences and how it relates to his deep Christian faith. Cliff shares fascinating stories on Trump's leadership style (and a fun story about the White House wallpaper), and explains why he is so optimistic about a potential 2nd Trump term.


Check out Cliff's new book, The Darkness Has Not Overcome, at


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Hey everybody, it's time for The Charlie Kirk Show. My friend, Cliff Simms, for the entire hour, author of a new book, The Darkness Has Not Overcome. We talk about his book, Faith and Politics, How Should Christians Vote?

What is Donald Trump like in private and in person, and more. Email us as always, freedom at Get involved with Turning Point USA at That is

It's already a high school or college chapter today at Buckle up everybody, here we go. Charlie, what you've done is incredible, here. Maybe Charlie Kirk is on the college campus. I want you to know we are lucky to have Charlie Kirk. Charlie Kirk's running the White House, folks. I want to thank Charlie, he's an incredible guy. His spirit, his love of this country, he's done an amazing job building one of the most powerful youth organizations ever created, Turning Point USA. We will not embrace the ideas that have destroyed countries, destroyed lives, and we are going to fight for freedom on campuses across the country.

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You send a message. We play to win. Register now at slash peoples. Joining us now is a good friend and great American patriot, author of the new book, The Darkness Has Not Overcome, Lessons on Faith and Politics from Inside the Halls of Power by Cliff Sims. Cliff, welcome to the program.

Charlie, thanks for having me, man. Lots to discuss this hour. Cliff, tell us all about your book, man. So I set out after I left the Office of the Director of National Intelligence after working in the White House, and I realized there were a lot of lessons that I had learned. Some of them I was trying to come to terms with myself, but also things that I realized that could apply to a lot of people's lives.

And I kind of combined that with this sense in my own life where I've really struggled over the years to frankly do a daily devotional, to be in the Bible every day like I know that I'm supposed to be. And so I basically wrote the Political Junkies Dream devotional book. So if you want to know what it's like inside the government's doomsday bunker or what it's like inside, what's inside the president's nuclear football, what's going on on Air Force One or inside the halls of the CIA, I tell all of those stories, take you behind the curtain there. But also then each of those stories jumps into a faith lesson, something straight out of the Bible, some wisdom that could apply to anybody's life no matter what you're going through, whether you're trying to deal with anxiety or depression or with the attraction of power or trying to make sense of this moment in American politics and culture, whatever it may be, I've packed all of that into The Darkness Has Overcome, and I'm excited to see it hit the stores this week.

Yeah, it is The Darkness Has Not Overcome. So tell our audience about the work you did with Trump and some of the lessons alongside of it. You had 500 extraordinary days there. I did 500 days in the White House helping run messaging and communications there, and then later came back in the administration as deputy director of national intelligence. And so, I mean, there's a million lessons that I can learn that I could communicate to people. So picking one is tough, but I tell you one that is particularly relevant right now is the story that I tell from when Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And this was a moment, a decision that presidents going back to Reagan had promised to do it and just always back down. And Trump said, now I'm going to actually follow through and do this. And Joe Biden at the time said that this was going to set the world on fire, that the Middle East was going to descend into chaos. And basically the arguments that people have been making for decades about why you shouldn't do this. And Trump just stuck to his word and he did it.

And the day after he made that decision, we were standing in the outer oval looking at the TV there kind of in between meetings. And there were protests that looked a lot like what we're seeing on college campuses now. They were chanting, Trump, Trump, you will see Palestine will be free, things like that.

And they're hanging him in effigy and burning American flags. And I had a sense of, I don't know how to describe it other than if you were to see somebody trip on the sidewalk and you didn't want them to see that you had seen that. You don't want the secondhand embarrassment that goes along with that. And not that the president had done anything wrong, but I just felt this strange sense standing next to someone who is witnessing themselves endure the most visceral criticism you possibly could imagine. And I didn't know how to feel about that. And Trump looked at me after watching it for a minute and he said, all right, what's next?

As in what's next on our schedule today? Like it did not affect him at all. And I gained an appreciation, one, for the courage that Trump had to do the right thing, even in the face of intense criticism, but also in a lesson that we can apply to all of our lives, which is our willingness to endure or our criticism to achieve truly great things is going to be directly proportionate to our willingness to endure criticism or our intentions being misunderstood. Like Trump had made peace with being misunderstood and being criticized in a way that has allowed him to achieve like truly remarkable things. So that's a lesson that I've tried to make a core operating principle of my life and one of dozens and dozens of lessons that I talk about in the book.

The book is The Darkness Has Not Overcome. So, so, Cliff, spending a lot of time with President Trump, what do you wish people knew most about him? And share some stories about it. And what are some of the misrepresentations that he has to navigate in public opinion that you know are not true? Well, there's a lot. But one of them is, you know this as well as anybody. You cannot be in a room with Donald Trump.

Spend any amount of time with him and walk out not liking him. No matter what your preconceived notions were before you came into that room and a story that I tell about in the book that kind of illustrates just how nasty a place Washington DC is, is you know the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of Democrat lawmakers were coming in to meet with the president in the cabinet room. And they were really, really upset with him because during the campaign, he had said, basically, black voters have been historically supportive of the Democrat Party. And if you just look at what you have gotten for that support, it's really hard to make an argument that they've been good for your community. What do you have to lose?

Give me a shot. They were so mad about that walking into the room. But in the course of an hour, I watched them get won over by him as a personality, as a person, as a human, to the point that Cedric Richmond, who at the time was the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and was later a senior aide to Joe Biden, looked across the table at Donald Trump and said, Mr. President, I don't agree with everything that you do or you say, but I truly believe that you have the chance to be a truly great president. Said there's no cameras there, it's behind closed doors. I mean, this meeting is going better than I could have possibly imagined it would. We walk out of there and they want to do a press conference in front of the White House. And so we let them do a press conference, answer questions from reporters about the meeting.

And finally, someone asked the question that everyone had been waiting for. You guys have said time and again that you think Donald Trump is a racist. You have now spent time in a room with him in a very small group behind closed doors. Do you still believe that he is? Now, having seen what happened behind closed doors and the way that they acted toward him, I thought, man, this is going to be a real opportunity for there to be some reconciliation here and an opportunity to build some bridges if they just tell the truth about their firsthand experience with the president.

And unfortunately, they wouldn't do it. They still alluded to him, you know, the possibility of him being a racist even after that. And it just showed just how eaten up by politics a lot of these people are. But also, you know, it's one of the things that President Trump has to deal with. People don't get to see how he is behind closed doors, that even his adversaries walk into the room and they walk out liking him on a personal level, whether they're willing to actually say that publicly or not.

Yeah. Some people say that he doesn't pay attention to detail, that he's what was your experience with that cliff being there in those first that first segment of the presidency? Is he someone that really understands the details, someone that understands what's happening around him?

Yeah, there's there's no doubt about that. He's involved in like in every detail in some ways. I mean, when we know new president is maybe a random example, but I'll just give it to you. Every new president comes into the White House, gets to remodel the place, and they usually do it in conjunction with the first lady redesign, the Oval Office and that kind of thing. The president was intricately involved as a builder himself in the remodel of the West Wing and picking out, I want the rug from the Reagan administration, I want the couches from the Bush administration, I want these gold curtains behind me. He calls York wallcoverings, since I tell this story in the book, and he says, I want this particular type of wallpaper in there. They thought it was a prank when he first called. They hung up, finally get him back on the phone and said, no, this is the wallpaper that we want here for the Oval Office.

And they freak out because they had stopped making that wallpaper three years before. So they drop everything, hand mix the inks, make 96 panels of double sided wallpaper and deliver it all to the Oval Office by dinnertime that night. And so the president's definitely involved in the details, definitely attuned to what's going on around him. And I think the real opportunity he has in the next administration is he now understands the personalities and the people in Washington DC. And I think he's going to have a real chance to put some people in place in these jobs around him, who are going to execute on his vision. And that's what we really need, the president's vision.

It's not your vision, it's not my vision. If you're an aide, you have to subordinate your wishes to the duly elected President of the United States. And I think the president's going to have an opportunity to put some people in place in the next administration who are going to execute on his vision for the country. And that's going to be the big difference, I think, in the next administration from the first one.

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That is Cliff served as a special assistant to President Trump. And so let me just dive deeper into this. You have some kind of political details in this book, Cliff, about what it's like to be in the cabin on Air Force One, Doomsday Bunker. Just talk about some of those details here for the political junkies in the audience.

Oh yeah, no, this is the stuff that I love, that I was able to share in the book, and I did have to get it cleared through pre-publication review to make sure there was no classified information in there, but I was able to share some pretty cool things. And one was, you know, we worked at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. We would occasionally do continuity of government exercises. And basically, if you watch any of the doomsday movies that Hollywood puts out, you know, what happens if there's a nuclear war, what happens if there's some giant storm that knocks out power on the whole eastern seaboard, whatever it may be, the government has a plan for all of those things.

And some of that is ensuring that there are places outside of Washington, DC, where the government could continue to function in those events. And so, I was able to visit one of those top secret locations and do some exercises related to those things. And so, you get to, you know, basically the side of this mountain and a giant metal blast door opens up, and you go through in little golf carts, and you're ushered into a giant underground city, which includes even like a made to order grill down there. And you see the living quarters and the, you know, I saw where my computer would be in that location. And then there's like the control room where you see all of these screens monitoring things all across the country. And so, you get a sense of what it would be like to actually have to live and function in one of these top secret underground bunkers if there was, you know, God forbid, some kind of disaster to that degree. So, fascinating experience.

I share a lot of the details and help people kind of feel what it would be like to be in there in this book. There's other things like, you know, I've always wondered what's in the president's nuclear football? Is there like a giant red button that, you know, you just open the thing up and press the button to launch the nukes? Like what's actually in there? And it still remains highly classified exactly what's in there.

But what I am able to share in the book is things like, well, there's not a giant red button in there. And, you know, it's first and foremost, it's all about verifying the president's identity. So, the president carries with him a little card, we call it the biscuit, everywhere he goes.

On it, it has what we call gold codes on it that kind of verify his identity with the National Military Command Center. And then there are a menu of options. I've heard it kind of compared to like a Waffle House menu of nuclear strike options that the president would have before him to be able to make a decision on what he's going to do. But Charlie, one of the scariest things that I learned kind of through this process was, one researcher estimated there would only be a six-minute window between the president learning about a nuclear attack coming on the United States and having to make a decision on what the response to that would be. And so, it just gave you a really sobering sense of, man, how small the margin of error is and how blessed we have been to not have endured nuclear war, frankly, you know, since we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There's tons of details like that in the book that I share of what it's really like inside those rooms and what's really inside some of these even very top secret and sensitive compartments.

Yeah, I'm sure Joe Biden is equipped to respond in six minutes or less. Cliff, I want to just introduce this theme for you here, and then we'll dive deeper into it as we continue throughout the hour, which is A Sailing the Deep State. Your first book talked a little bit about this.

I want you to talk about it from a Christian perspective as well. Just describe to our audience how powerful is the administrative state in our government. Well, it's very powerful, and frankly, you've got a lot of people there who, you know, we hear about all these threats to democracy that exist out there, but one of them is that there are a lot of unelected government bureaucrats who refuse to subordinate their wishes to that of the duly elected President of the United States, and that is a true threat to democracy. No one elected these people at all. The other thing I noticed was the power of the DEI offices in a lot of these agencies. They're very oppressive, very powerful bullies, frankly, that have bullied a lot of believers into having to accept the mandates that the DEI mandates and pronoun mandates and all of these different things.

I think one of the first things that needs to happen when President Trump comes in and puts new leadership in there is to abolish these DEI offices, which are not serving a legitimate national security purpose, and reorient the priorities of the administrative state there toward executing on the President's wishes in American national security and not DEI. Hey everybody, Charlie Kirk here. I talked to you about how horrible nutrition has become for people in our ultra-processed food society. Truth is, it's even worse for our beloved dogs. Seen dog food lately, it's more like dead food. Mr. Briggs is our best friend, and the more adventurous we are, I've realized this food is the most important thing ensuring he's healthy. Naturopathic Dr. Dennis Black has invested everything into bringing our dogs food to life. He created Rough Greens, not dog food. It's a natural supplement to your dog's existing food. Full of essential vitamins and minerals and made right here in America. You don't have to change your dog's food. Just adding Rough Greens to their existing diet will be the best decision you ever made to improve their life. Mr. Briggs has more energy, plays longer, and is overall the best version of himself. Dr. Black is so confident that this will change your dog's life, he is providing a free jumpstart trial bag so your dog can try it.

You just cover the shipping, head to slash kirk, that is r-u-f-f greens dot com slash kirk, go to slash kirk to grab yours today, slash kirk. So Cliff, I want to get your thoughts here on how should Christians and people of faith engage in the political arena? Well there's a couple of things I think are important, very foundational on this point, and the first thing is, and this like hit me like a ton of bricks in my own life, we need to put politics in its appropriate place in the hierarchy of priorities in our lives. One of the things that I say to kind of sum it up, and this is actually the last paragraph of The Darkness Is Not Overcome, is that the most important events in human history were Jesus's death and resurrection. Now Tiberius was the emperor of Rome when that happened. Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea when that happened, but they were not the main characters in the story.

Jesus was, and he still is. So why on earth would we make politicians the main characters in our story today? This is something I have to wrestle with.

I've devoted my entire adult life basically to advancing conservative causes and electing conservative politicians and people that I believed in. I think that's important. We should be fighting tooth and nail to preserve the government we have in the country, in this country, or get a government that most closely aligns with God's vision for righteousness and justice. And I think that's important. We should be fighting God's vision for righteousness and justice here on earth, but we should not be consumed by politics in a way that I frankly struggle with myself.

I also think there are a few kind of foundational principles about how we should think about voting. Number one is God is sovereign over everything. I mean, it's very clear in the Bible. We are living under his sovereign will. Everything that happens, he raises up kings, he tears them down. Everything that happens under his sovereign will. But he has under his divine authority given humans dominion over the earth to rule on his behalf. And so we're ultimately going to be held accountable for the decisions that we make in governing.

Even David in the Bible, a man who God called a man after my own heart suffered the consequences of his sin and lost the son because of his sin. So there is something that we should be able to make. And now you may be saying, well, I'm not a king.

I don't know. I'm not even in the government. How does this apply to me? But actually here in the United States, it applies to you even more directly because here under our system, ultimate power lies with the people. So you are both the governed and the governor. And so thinking about those principles as you go into the ballot box, I think that that is, it's a really important thing to that we have. I would never tell somebody how they should vote. I'm supporting President Trump in this election.

I think that our country is in the toilet right now as a result of the policies of the Biden administration. And I'm gonna be fighting like crazy the next few months to get President Trump reelected. But as important as that is, that is not the driving force in my life.

It's my relationship with Christ. And that's a perspective I think that we could all use at a time that is so politically divisive right now. So I agree with all that. I think that's one extreme in if you say, you know, you don't want people to make politics their master. What do you have to say for pastors that say you shouldn't vote at all or that it's not important to engage in government? Well, I think everything that I just said about the principles that the Bible lays out for God's vision for justice and righteousness is on this earth and the fact that he is intricately involved in the affairs of man and has put government in place so that it would be an authority.

Governments are ordained on earth by God to be a reflection of his authority and hold people accountable for bad actions here on earth. So to suddenly dismiss government as unimportant and not something we should be engaged in, I think flies in the face of frankly what scripture says. And so it is my hope that pastors around the country would not necessarily stand in the pulpit and tell somebody how to vote, but they should also not be scared to speak into some of the political issues that we are facing today that may be divisive.

They may be difficult to talk about, but scripture speaks into every single thing that we're dealing with as humans on this earth. And so to ignore the incredible power that scripture and the word of God could bring into these moments in American culture and American politics that are so difficult is a massive missed opportunity. So you're right, there's two ends of this spectrum that we need to avoid, but to not be engaged in these political discussions, I think is an abdication of the moral responsibility that a lot of pastors and faith leaders have to speak truth, God's truth, not everybody's got their truth now, my truth and your truth, no no no, let's talk about God's truth, what does the truth have to say about the issues that we're facing today, and to not speak into that as an abdication of that moral authority.

Yeah, it's an interesting thing. Right now there's a big play, I have this book here called The False White Gospel, where they're trying to attack Christian nationalism, reclaiming true faith and refounding democracy. The left is making a big play for the Christian vote. I know you said you're not going to tell people how to vote, but how should they think about who to vote for from a biblical worldview standpoint? Well, who is what leader is going to implement the policies that are most in keeping with God's vision for justice and righteousness in this world, and the way that the left paints justice, so-called social justice, is not the vision that we see in the Bible, which is much more in keeping frankly with the American founding documents, that we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they're endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And so electing government leaders who will defend life, who will promote human liberty and flourishing, and who will allow the pursuit of happiness. And now what we know from the Bible is the true pursuit of happiness is not chasing wealth and financial and fame and fortune and power and whatever it may be, but being able to pursue true happiness, which starts with a relationship with the living God. And so I think if we look right now at the two parties, it's very clear which of those two is closer. No one's going to be perfect, no one's going to be perfect, but it's closer to what you see in Scripture of God's vision for true justice and righteousness being governed on his behalf here on this earth. And there's a there's a fair amount of Christians, I mean, Donald Trump won 72 percent of the Christian vote in 2016. That number went down to 68 percent in 2020.

The question is how to get it upwards to 72 percent and how to grow that sort of margin in your book. And I want to talk about, Cliff, you talk about how faith has intersected with your time in government. Walk our audience through that. Well, one of the things that I didn't fully appreciate coming from, you know, an upbringing of no means. I was as far from the halls of power as you could possibly think. I did not know the allure of power and how it would have an effect on my life. And I realized in retrospect that it's something that we all have to deal with. And there are power dynamics, not just in government, but they're in our workplaces, they're in our homes, they're in our churches. I have a power dynamic with my life when I'm trying to decide where we're going to we're trying to decide where we're going to go to dinner tonight. Power dynamics are a part of our lives inextricably. And so putting that in the context that any power that we have on earth, great or small, is not our own, but is entrusted to us by God. And that is something that I didn't do a great job of thinking about, but I tried to think about regularly in my government job that whatever power or influence that I may have has been entrusted to me by God. And when you think about that, I mean, you have this incredibly powerful megaphone here in your program. That's an incredible amount of power and influence that has been entrusted to you by God. And we're good enough friends that I know that's something that means something to you, that you wrestle with that and want to use that power and influence for good purposes. And so I think for all of us in ways big and small, wrestling with that daily and thinking about how we're using our power and influence, I think is something that would benefit everybody.

The Darkness Has Not Overcome is the name of the book. You also have some stories here about Stephen Colbert, Tucker Carlson. Tell us about what these people are like up close and personal. Well, you know Tucker as well as I do. Tucker's probably one of the nicest guys that you'll ever meet.

He's obsessed with fly-pitching. He'd rather just hang out at his house with his wife and his dogs than be some famous political pundit or whatever. So great guy. But then there's something that really surprised me. Stephen Colbert, when I went on The Late Show, I was kind of geared up to have my teeth kicked in when I got there and I hadn't really talked to him before we went on air. And he came backstage right before we were about to go out.

He gets up from the desk and runs backstage and he said to me, I just want you to know if my audience boos you or heckles you, I'll stop the show and say that's not how we're going to treat our guests and we'll get them out of here. So even though I disagree with Stephen Colbert on basically everything politically, I gained a lot of respect for that, at least on a human level for him. But unfortunately, most people in the media, they're about as craven as you would anticipate that they would be.

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Let's go to cut 28. He just compared Biden and his administration to the Nazis. Who is this going to work with? His base or is this something he's hoping will have some kind of effect on the rest of the electorate? I mean, I don't think it's going to have an effect on the rest of the electorate. It maintains that energy and excitement among the base as he just laid out a litany of things about why this race is so close. This ultimately, Sarah, in my view, is going to come down to turnout. And I think a part of the problem for the Biden real life campaign is can you get all of those disparate groups to turn out in heightened numbers as you did in 2020? Cliff, your reaction to that clip and the state of the 2024 race?

Well, I think he's right. Turnout is going to be the whole ball game. And one of the really encouraging things that I would say right now is it seems like that our side has gotten really, really serious about the turnout game and about playing by rules that frankly we may not love, but that exist right now in terms of early voting, mail-in voting, and those kinds of things.

Organizations like your own and others that have really committed to coming in and making sure that we're going to get the level of turnout that we need to win this thing. And I think Trump's in a great position right now because I know for a few reasons. Number one, you look around the world right now, there's not a single region that is more peaceful, more prosperous than it was when Biden became president. Number two, our economy is still weak. Any growth that we're seeing right now is not happening in wages. We're not seeing working people across this country have a better life. Interest rates are still through the roof. It's making it harder for the people to get their first home and to rise up the economic ladder.

By any economic measure, President Trump had us going in a much better direction and were it not for COVID, would have had maybe the best economic story in history to be able to tell in such a short window of time for what he was able to do there. And ultimately, I think a lot of the Democrats' messaging right now rings hollow. All we're hearing from them is democracy is on the line. Democracy is at stake and Trump's a threat to democracy. And yet they are the ones who are engaged in political prosecution after political prosecution, a true threat to democracy.

And so I think even their central messages are ringing hollow and they can't run on their record. And they got Weekend at Bernie's going on in the West Wing right now. And meanwhile, even in a courtroom, even with President Trump unjustly having to spend his days in a courtroom fighting these unjust charges against him, he brings that same energy. He's bringing that same passion.

From a messaging standpoint, he's been really, really disciplined. And I really like what we're seeing now going into the last six months of election here that gives us a real hope that we're going to be able to wrest control back of this government and get this country back on track. So I'm very optimistic about Trump's chances.

That'll be my last question. How does Trump break the deep state if and when he's reelected? It's going to come down to who he puts in those positions. I think there are people that need to be in the CIA director, DNI, FBI directors go down the list, putting the right people in those jobs who know what they're doing, who know how to wield the levers of power and know how to use the president's duly elected powers and authorities to break that and make sure that there's an expectation and a demand that people will abide by the lawful orders of the president of the United States.

It's not unreasonable, but it's going to come down to putting those people in the in those positions to get the job done. Plug the book one last time, Cliff, for our audience that has just come in, just tuning in radio stations across the country. The darkness has not overcome lessons on faith and politics from inside the halls of power. It's out now and would appreciate the support from everybody around the country. So thank you for having me on. Very good, Cliff. God bless you, man. Thanks so much.

Thanks, brother. I like looking at the betting markets when it comes to presidential betting. They're very predictive, awfully predictive. In fact, if you go back to the 2020 betting odds, it's very, very interesting. The 2020 betting odds were even more accurate than the polls. The betting because people actually have to put their money where their mouth is going right into election day. The betting markets had Joe Biden, 63 percent chance of winning, and it had Donald Trump at 35 percent. Now, mind you, it's still it was twenty one forty one thousand votes that amongst three states. Now the betting markets have Donald Trump with a point lead in the bet, and they've reversed every betting market has Donald Trump as the favorite except predicted.

And that one's even tightened and is less is worse for Joe Biden. So, again, betting markets, you have to put your money where your mouth is. Money supersedes ideology in these betting polls. It's literal money.

Again, they're not absolutely predictive, but generally quite interesting. Thanks so much for listening, everybody. Email us is always freedom at Charlie Kirk. Dot com. Thanks so much for listening. And God bless. For more on many of these stories you can trust, go to Charlie Kirk. Dot com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-07 06:20:28 / 2024-05-07 06:34:53 / 14

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