Washington, DC. A member of President Trump’s staff has recently been discovered to have a lifelong involvement in Hungarian Nazi activities and now is having his qualifications questioned in the wake of investigations about his past.
Questions have swirled around Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s top counterterrorism advisers, ever since he attended the president’s Jan. 20 Inaugural Ball wearing the honorary medal of Hungarian nationalist organization Vitezi Rend.
A number of people, including one of Gorka’s former political allies, said he was a well-known member of Vitezi Rend back in Hungary, a charge he strongly denies. Gorka’s decision to wear the medal which he said was awarded to his Hungarian-born father has provoked outrage among Jewish groups.
Reporters investigating Gorka spoke with Andras Heisler, the Hungarian vice-president of the New York-based World Jewish Congress, who said that wearing the medal “isn’t a good message for a democratic society.”
Vitezi Rend was founded in 1920 by Hungarian ruler Miklos Horthy to award medals to Hungarian veterans of World War I. But the group’s history became murky after the country allied with Nazi Germany in 1938. Historians have established that members of the organization were complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews toward the end of World War II.
Accusations of neo-Nazi activity by Gorka have prompted the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, an American civil-rights group, to call for Sebastian Gorka’s resignation, or at least an investigation into his alleged links with the Hungarian modern Nazi movement.
America’s New York Times have been among his critics in this regard. A headline in a Times opinion piece described Sebastian Gorka as “the Islamophobic huckster in the White House” and criticized his worldview of seeing “Islam as the problem, rather than the uses to which Islam has been put by violent extremists.”
One Hungarian news editor Gabor Horvath, summed up Gorka’s resume saying, “Obviously he’s not the expert he claims to be,” he said. “He got his masters degree and his Ph.D. from the Corvinus University in Hungary. The Corvinus University is not a center for national security studies, certainly not internationally recognized studies of this kind.”