‘I Spent My Life Fighting Totalitarianism:’ Gorka Remains Defiant Over Hungarian Far Right Allegations
Sebastian Gorka, the embattled deputy adviser to US President Donald Trump, remained defiant over allegations concerning his ties to far right groups in Hungary during a question and answer session at a conference on Israel in New York.
Gorka was asked by Jerusalem Post editor Yaakov Katz about his ties to Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian ultranationalist organization founded by the rabidly antisemitic Admiral Miklos Horthy in 1920. As ruler of Hungary, Horthy was an ally of Adolf Hitler before he was overthrown by hardline Nazi sympathizers in 1944.
Gorka denied any antisemitic or pro-Nazi associations, stating that he had “spent my life fighting totalitarian ideology.” He spoke in emotional terms about his Hungarian father who had lived in wartime Budapest and “had escorted Jewish schoolmates on their way to school to stop local German forces assaulting or spitting on them.”
“Later, my father resisted the communists,” Gorka said. Gorka Senior, he explained, was betrayed to the communist authorities by the British KGB agent Kim Philby, and was then imprisoned and tortured. Among those who tortured his father, Gorka said, were communist security agents who had only recently been members of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross militia.
Gorka said he didn’t want to “step into the weeds” of Hungarian far right politics, arguing that the complexity of the issue was underlined by the fact that Vilmos Nagy de Nagybaczon, a Hungarian general and member of Vitezi Rend, had been honored with the “Righteous Among the Nations” at Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.
As for his own record, Gorka said that in a 46-year career, no-one had found a single antisemitic or anti-Israel statement he had made. Many of those accusing him of antisemitism, he said, included supporters of the antisemitic BDS movement targeting Israel, as well as supporters of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
A counter-terrorism specialist, Gorka spent the bulk of the session discussing the threat posed by jihadist groups in the Middle East. “We will know we have won when the black flag of jihad is as reviled as the swastika of the Third Reich,” he stated.
In that context, Gorka also pushed back against claims that he regards the faith of Islam as an enemy. “When an Egyptian tells me it’s not a war with Islam but a war in Islam, I listen,” he said. “This is a war inside the faith and we have to help our allies win.”
Asked about the Trump Administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gorka said that the White House regards Israel as its closest ally. The prominent roles of pro-Israel figures like Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special negotiator, Gorka said, showed the depth of Trump’s friendship towards the Jewish state.
Gorka laughed off rumors that he would be leaving the White House as “fake news.”
“I will be there for as long as the president has a use for me,” he said.