Tale of Trump Adviser’s Alleged Nazi Ties Unravels
By Liel Leibovitz
March 16, 2017 • 1:59 PM
Lord knows I’ve had my differences with the Forward before. … But reading the paper’s exclusive report this morning arguing that Trump aide Sebastian Gorka is an actual crypto-Nazi, I’d like to reach out to my friends and colleagues across town and ask, with clear eyes and a full heart: Have you lost your minds?
To hear the piece tell it, Gorka, a top counter-terrorism adviser in the Trump White House, has sworn a lifetime oath to Vitézi Rend, an outfit that the story tells us is nasty nationalist group in Gorka’s native Hungary that giddily collaborated with Hitler. Well, not the Vitézi Rend—that group was outlawed by the Communists, naturally—but the off-shoot of Vitézi Rend, resurgent after Communism’s fall in 1989. …
Gorka himself told me that the allegations are flat-out false.
“I have never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v.’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.” It’s a perfectly plausible explanation, and you’d have to be of a very specific mindset to still pursue allegations of Nazi affiliation.
Why didn’t Gorka simply tell this to the Forward? A source close to the White House, who was briefed on how the administration treated this story, explained things a little more to me.
“These guys genuinely believed that the allegations were so blatantly false and so aggressively poorly-sourced, that no responsible journalist would ever publish them,” … “Is Seb Gorka, whose family literally bears the scars of anti-fascist fights, a secret Nazi cultist? Come on now.”
… I’ve been, and remain, a critic of the Trump Administration, but all criticism is meaningless unless it adheres to reason, refuses rank rumors, and focuses on substance rather than on slinging mud. … The White House is no more overrun with Nazis as with secret Russian spies. To suggest otherwise is to further flame the kind of hysteria that, traditionally, has led to social unrest and delivered no good news to the Jews.
The story underlying the Forward’s attack is that Sebastian Gorka’s Father was a member of “Vitez Rend”, and organization that fought the Nazis, first, and after Stalin’s takeover, the Communists. Gorka’s father received a medal from this group, recognizing his service, and also served prison time under the Communist Hungarian government, a medal the younger Gorka apparently wears in honor of his Father. That group ceased to exist. Fast-forward to some time after the fall of the Soviet Empire, and a new, apparently antisemitic, group came into existence, using the same name.
If I understand this article correct, the Forward conflated the two groups, ignored the original group’s anti-Nazi past, and accused Gorka senior and junior of holding the antisemitic views of the modern group. Evidently, the Forward is more interested in smearing someone high up in Trump’s Administration than they are in facts.