One of President Donald Trump’s leading advisers on national security matters is also a sworn member of an organization linked to the Third Reich, according to a Thursday report by the Forward, a Jewish-American publication.
The Forward had previously reported that Gorka, who spent years living in Hungary, has deep ties to Hungarian anti-Semites and neo-fascists; he even reportedly co-founded a political party with ex-members of Jobbik, a far-right Hungarian party frequently described as fascist. But the Forward’s latest allegations against Gorka, if true, would represent an even deeper level of involvement in extremist politics.
The organization that counts Gorka among its members, according to the Forward, is Vitézi Rend, which was founded in 1920 by Hungarian nationalist ruler Miklós Horthy, later a Nazi collaborator. The U.S. State Department included Vitézi Rend on a list of “organizations under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany.”
Because of its appearance on that list, Vitézi Rend membership “could have implications for [Gorka’s] immigration status,” according to the Forward report.
Reached by ThinkProgress, Gorka would not confirm or deny whether he is, or ever has been, a member of Vitézi Rend. He referred all questions to the White House press office, which has not yet returned a request for comment.
“You can send an email to the press department,” he said in response to repeated questions.
This appears to be his stock response to all media inquiries on the subject.
But Gorka has not always been so demure on the subject of far-right Hungarian nationalism. The outfit he wore to Trump’s inaugural festivities recalled the garb of the Vitézi Rend, down to a medal that seemed to be associated with the group.
Last month, ThinkProgress asked Gorka why he had been wearing a medal apparently linked to Nazi collaborators. He replied that it was “not a Nazi sympathizer pin” and that ThinkProgress should “Google it.”
If Gorka is, in fact, a member of a group with historical ties to Nazi Germany, then he’s in good company in the Trump administration. Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn reportedly met with the head of a far-right Austrian party founded by a former member of the SS. And Steve Bannon, Trump’s most influential adviser, has made no secret of his affection for extreme right-wing parties like France’s National Front and Germany’s AfD.
It is perhaps no coincidence that Gorka is a member of the Strategic Initiatives Group, Bannon’s “internal think tank” within the Trump administration.
Kira Lerner contributed reporting to this piece.