Three Democratic senators on Friday called on the acting deputy attorney general and the secretary of homeland security to investigate whether Gorka, who was born in the United Kingdom, “falsified his naturalization application or otherwise illegally procured his citizenship” by failing to disclose his membership in the banned Hungarian group. The senators cited The Forward’s reporting.
Three Democratic senators are now urging President Donald Trump and his administration to investigate if counter terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka “falsified his naturalization application or otherwise illegally procured his citizenship” by failing to disclose his alleged affiliation with Vitézi Rend – a far-right, anti-Semitic Hungarian organization that collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
In their letter to the Justice Department and Homeland Security, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin quoted The Forward report to voice their concerns.
"The State Department identifies the original Vitezi Rend as a virulently anti-Semitic organization that operated under the direction of the Nazis during World War II,” it read. “We are particularly troubled by Dr. Gorka’s reported affiliation with an anti-Semitic organization because of the White House’s own checkered record on religious discrimination. For the first time in decades, the White House’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day failed to mention the Jewish victims, an omission which Dr. Gorka publicly defended.”
President Donald Trump sure knows how to pick his advisers.
The prevalent white nationalism and lack of government experience seems to have become requisites for president’s top cabinet and national security picks.
The members of Trump administration have frequently come under fire for their anti-Semitism, racist rhetoric and controversial ties to foreign governments, but Trump’s counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka seems to have taken the cake with his alleged connections to a quasi-Nazi organization.
The former Breitbart editor, who currently serves as deputy assistant to the president and previously made headlines for his militant attitudes toward Islam, has now sparked raging controversy about his alleged past membership of a Hungarian nationalist group and the possibility that Trump White House might not have vetted him properly.
In a recent bombshell report, The Forward claimed Gorka was a former member of Vitézi Rend, a Hungarian organization that sympathizes with Nazi goals, according to the officials from the far-right group.
The secret society is apparently a successor of the 1920s organization founded by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who imposed a number of anti-Semitic laws and worked with the Nazis during his rule on the country.
The leaders of the elite order told The Forward that Gorka took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group.
While this could, of course, be just another conspiracy theory, it disturbingly falls in line with an incident that occurred earlier this year.
On Jan. 20, the Trump adviser appeared at the swearing-in ceremony wearing a traditional Hungarian jacket along with two medals, one of which looked the one worn by the Vitézi Rend members. After some people recognized the decoration, Gorka shot down the assumptions by saying the medal originally belonged to his late father.
“In 1979 my father was awarded a declaration for his resistance to a dictatorship,” he told Breitbart News at the time. “Although he passed away 14 years ago, I wear that medal in remembrance of what my family went through and what it represents today, to me, as an American.”
Then there is the matter of a “v.” that keeps on appearing and disappearing form his name.
For instance, Gorka testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee in 2011 as Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka. According to the Vitézi Rend leaders, only the Vitézi Rend members use this initial.
His alleged affiliation to the group does not only this incriminate his ideological beliefs but also jeopardizes his immigration status, considering Gorka, who was born in London to Hungarian refugees, only obtained U.S. citizenship in 2012 and Vitézi Rend members “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the America under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, told the outlet. “It’s a material fact that, if disclosed, would have provoked a significant inquiry into the specific post-war role of this organization and Gorka’s activities in it.”
Meanwhile, Gorka initially refused to respond and directed reporters to the White House press office for answer.
The office later released a non-denial denial.
“I’ve been a committed opponent of anti-Semitism, racism and totalitarianism all my life,” the statement read. “Any suggestion otherwise is false and outrageous.”
Furthermore, Gorka did not address if he reported his membership to American immigration authorities. Instead, he ended his statement by with, “I am grateful to President Trump and his team for giving me the opportunity to serve and keep America safe against today’s totalitarians.”
However, Liel Leibovitz from website Tablet shortly published a streamlined response from Gorka.
“I have never been a member of the Vitézi Rend,” the Trump adviser reportedly told him. “I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitézi Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v.’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.”
While the entire Forward report is based on the claims of two Vitézi Rend leaders, Trump’s ties with prominent anti-Semites and white supremacists — like his chief strategist Steve Bannon, for instance — have raised concerns about Gorka’s role in the White House and his influence on national policy.
“This administration has staff with shockingly anti-Semitic pasts and it is hard to imagine that they have nothing to do with the horrifically weak reactions to anti-Semitic hate crimes that we see coming from this administration,” Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, told BuzzFeed. “That Sebastian Gorka cannot even deny that he has links with a Nazi-affiliated group is symptomatic of the grotesque anti-Semitism that has infected the Trump White House.”
The Trump administration continues to look scarier with each passing day.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joshua Roberts