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April 11, 2017

Sebastian Gorka’s Shady Ties to Racist Groups

By Dora Illei

Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s counterterrorism advisor, continues to face controversy over his links to antisemitic and racist groups in Hungary. NBC News released an in-depth article over the weekend.

In an earlier report from Forward, a leader of the “Historical Vitezi Rend,” or Vitez Order, claimed that Gorka was a sworn member of his group. The NBC article looks more closely into these claims, and interviewed several people from Gorka’s past. The Vitez Order is a successor to the WWII-era Vitezi Rend, which the U.S. State Department lists as “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany during World War II.” According to a historian interviewed by NBC, the modern version of the Vitez Order ascribes to the same nationalist and far-right ideology as its predecessor.

Human Rights First has urged President Trump to dismiss Gorka from his position in the White House for his ties to this organization, as well as for his support for “The Hungarian Guard,” a paramilitary force associated with the right-wing Jobbik party. It was banned after a series of violent, racist attacks and because it promoted an essentially racist legal order. Some outlets have pointed out that these events had not yet occurred when Gorka voiced his support. However, several Hungarian groups, including Jewish groups, had already raised the alarm that Jobbik, an avowedly antisemitic political party, was creating a militia by the time Gorka spoke on the matter.  

The NBC article delves deeper into Gorka's connections to the Vitezi Rend, and includes interviews with individuals who worked with him during his time in Hungary as well as official members of the Order. Vitezi Rend spokesman Andras Horvath said, "When [Gorka] appeared on U.S. television...with the medal of the Vitez Order...it made me really proud." Several people interviewed stated that Gorka was publicly known as a member of the Order. The article breaks down the history of the Vitezi Rend and why it is concerning that Gorka is affiliated with them.

Human Rights First continues to urge President Trump to condemn all forms of antisemitism and intolerance and calls for Gorka’s immediate dismissal.