Statement on Trump’s Neo-Nazi Adviser Seb Gorka

Ahead of Donald Trump’s remarks at the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Days of Remembrance, American Bridge spokeswoman Sabrina Singh released the following statement: 

“As Trump remembers the six million Jews and millions of others killed by Nazis during the Holocaust, it serves as a reminder that Seb Gorka, whose affiliation to a Neo-Nazi group is well-documented and goes back decades, still serves as an adviser to Trump.

“Unless Trump fires Gorka, nothing he says today should be taken seriously. Gorka should not have any place in the White House, let alone be advising Trump on matters of national security. It’s long past time for him to go.”

BACKGROUND ON SEB GORKA’S AFFILIATION TO NAZI-ALLIED GROUP

Wore Medal Associated With Vitezi Rend

Gorka Appeared Multiple Times Wearing A Medal From The Hungarian Order Of Heroes, Vitezi Rend, A Group Listed By The State Department As Taking Direct Action From The Nazi Government During WWII. According to LobeLog, “Gorka, who worked in the UK and Hungary before immigrating to the U.S., was photographed at an inaugural ball wearing a medal from the Hungarian Order of Heroes, Vitezi Rend, a group listed by the State Department as taking direction from Germany’s Nazi government during World War II. Gorka did not respond to a request for comment but appeared to be wearing the medal on his chest during the Trump inauguration ball and in an undated photo posted on his Facebook page.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

unnamed (4) unnamed (5)

[Photos from LobeLog, 2/12/17]

“Vitezi Rend” Was A “Knightly Order” Where The Title Was Inherited By The Eldest Son Established By Miklós Horthy In 1920 In Hungary. According to LobeLog, “Eva Balogh, founder of the news analysis blog Hungarian Spectrum and former professor of Eastern European History at Yale University, confirmed to LobeLog the identity of the medal worn by Gorka. She said: Yes, the medal is of the ‘vitézi rend’ established by Miklós Horthy in 1920. He, as a mere governor, didn’t have the privilege to ennoble his subjects as the king could do before 1918, and therefore the ‘knightly order’ he established was a kind of compensation for him. Officers and even enlisted men of exceptional valor could become knights. Between 1920 and 1944 there were 23,000 such knights. The title was inheritable by the oldest son. I found information that makes it clear that Gorka’s father, Pál Gorka, used the title. However, since he was born in 1930 he couldn’t himself be the one ‘knighted.’ So, most likely, it was Gorka’s grandfather who was the original recipient Gorka’s PhD dissertation lists his name as ‘Sebestyén L. v. Gorka,’ which suggests that he is carrying on his father’s title, albeit in an abbreviated format, according to Balogh.”  [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

Vitezi Rend Was For Civilian And Military Supporters Of Horthy’s Government Open To Non-Jews Who “Served With Distinction During World War I.” According to LobeLog, “Miklós Horthy, regent of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1920 to 1944, established Vitezi Rend for both civilian and military supporters of Horthy’s government. The group was initially open to non-Jews who served in distinction during World War I.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

Horthy Explicitly Endorsed Anti-Semitism. According to LobeLog, “Although Horthy’s personal views about Jews are still debated, he was explicit in endorsing anti-Semitism even while showing some unease with the pace of the Holocaust. In an October 1940 letter to Prime Minister Pál Teleki, Horthy said: As regards the Jewish problem, I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life. I have never had contact with Jews. I have considered it intolerable that here in Hungary everything, every factory, bank, large fortune, business, theatre, press, commerce, etc. should be in Jewish hands, and that the Jew should be the image reflected of Hungary, especially abroad. Since, however, one of the most important tasks of the government is to raise the standard of living, i.e., we have to acquire wealth, it is impossible, in a year or two, to replace the Jews, who have everything in their hands, and to replace them with incompetent, unworthy, mostly big-mouthed elements, for we should become bankrupt. This requires a generation at least.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

During WWII, Confiscated Jewish Real Estate In Hungary Was Distributed To Members Of Vitezi Rend. According to Lobelog, “By 1944, Horthy may have sought to distance Hungary from Nazi Germany but agreed to deport around 100,000 Jews. The German army removed Horthy from office after it occupied Hungary. Horthy’s actual awareness of the fate of Hungarian Jews remains unclear. But reports by journalists and the State Department in 1942 are explicit about the role played and benefits enjoyed by Vitezi Rend’s members. A Jewish Telegraph Agency report from October 1942, describes how: Confiscated Jewish real estate in Hungary will be distributed by the government among members of the ‘Hungarian Order of Heroes’ it was announced today over the Budapest radio. The order consists of soldiers who distinguished themselves in the last World War or in the present war.” [LobeLog, 2/12/17]

Vitézi Rend Claimed Gorka As A Member

Leaders Of Vitézi Rend Said Gorka Was A Member. According to Forward, “Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been ‘under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany’ during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward. The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

Leaders Said Gorka Took A “Lifelong Loath Of Loyalty” To Vitézi Rend. According to Forward, “Gorka — who Vitézi Rend leaders say took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group — did not respond to multiple emails sent to his work and personal accounts, asking whether he is a member of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he disclosed this on his immigration application and on his application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

The “Historical Vitézi Rend” Upheld All The Nationalist And Oftentimes Racial Principles Of The Original Viténzi Rend. According to Forward, “The group to which Gorka reportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989. There are now two organizations in Hungary that claim to be the heirs of the original Vitézi Rend, with Gorka, according to fellow members, belonging to the so-called ‘Historical Vitézi Rend.’ Though it is not known to engage in violence, the Historical Vitézi Rend upholds all the nationalist and oftentimes racial principles of the original group as established by Horthy.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

Gorka Used An Initial In His Name Used By Members Of The Vitézi Rend. According to Forward, “Several commentators also noted that in his 2008 doctoral dissertation at Hungary’s Corvinus University, Gorka presented his name as Sebastian L. v. Gorka. The ‘v.’ is an initial used by members of the Vitézi Rend. But Gorka did not use the initial only in academic papers. In June 2011, Gorka testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee. His official testimony did not list his name as Sebastian L. Gorka, but rather as Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka. ‘Of course, only after the oath,’ György Kerekes, a current member of the Vitézi Rend, told the Forward when asked if anyone may use the initial ‘v.’ without going through the Vitézi Rend’s application process and an elaborate swearing-in ceremony.” [Forward, 3/16/17]

Leaders Of Vitezi Rend Expressed Pride In Sebastian Gorka’s Wearing Of Their Medal

A Spokesman For Vitezi Rend Said He Was “Proud” When He Saw Sebastian Gorka Wearing A Medal Associated With The Group. According to Forward, “Leaders of a Hungarian far-right wing group that colloborated with the Nazis said they were ‘proud’ to see controversial White House aide Sebastian Gorka wearing the group’s medal — and political allies and rivals alike said they believe he is a member of the group. ‘When he appeared on U.S. television … with the medal … it made me really proud,’ Vitezi Rend spokesman Andras Horvath told NBC News in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.” [Forward, 4/9/17]

Gorka Used The Special Lower Case “v.” In His Signature Multiple Times Before His Father’s Death, Making His Assertion That He Simply Inherited The Title Impossible

Gorka’s Use Of A Special Lower-Case “v.” Insignia In His Signature, Which The Vitezi Rend Allows Only Sworn Members To Use, Was Used In Articles That Gorka Published In 1998 And 199. According to Forward, “President Trump’s top counter-terrorism aide, Sebastian Gorka, has offered varied and sometimes contradictory accounts of his association with the Vitézi Rend, a far-right Hungarian group that is on a U.S. State Department ‘watch list.’ Now, new research by the Forward has revealed that Gorka’s use of a special lower-case ‘v.’ insignia in his signature, which the Vitézi Rend allows only sworn members to use, goes back much further than previously known. In articles he published in 1998, when he was 28 years old, and then in 1999, Gorka signed his name ‘Sebestyén L. v. Gorka,’ using the Hungarian honorific abbreviation for ‘Vitez,’ which is reserved exclusively for sworn members of the Vitézi Rend order.” [Forward, 4/24/17]

Articles Predated The Death Of Gorka’s Father By Several Years, Making His Assertion That He Simply Inherited The Title From His Father, As He Has Claimed, Seemingly Impossible. According to Forward, “The articles predated the death of Gorka’s father by several years, making his assertion that he simply inherited the title from his father, as he has claimed, seemingly impossible.” [Forward, 4/24/17]

Gorka Would Have Been Required To Reveal His Membership In The Far-Right Group Both When He Applied To Enter The United States In 2008 And When He Became A Naturalized U.S. Citizen In 2012; He Declined To Respond To Questions About Whether He Did So. According to Forward, “‘I never swore allegiance formally,’ he told the British newspaper the Telegraph. The question is not academic; Gorka would have been required to reveal his membership in the far-right group both when he applied to enter the United States in 2008 and when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012. He has declined to respond to questions about whether he did so.” [Forward, 4/24/17]

Gorka Used The “v.” In His Name When Giving Sworn Testimony To The House Armed Services Committee In 2011 And On His Doctoral Thesis In Hungary In 2008, Both Years After His Father, Paul Gorka, Had Died. According to Forward, “Use of the lower-case ‘v.’ in one’s name, signaling membership in the Vitézi Rend, is not an option for just anyone. ‘Of course, only after the oath,’ György Kerekes, a current member of the Historical Vitézi Rend, told the Forward when asked if anyone may use the initial ‘v.’ without going through the group’s application process and its elaborate swearing-in ceremony. Gorka subsequently used the ‘v.’ in his name when giving sworn testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in 2011 and on his doctoral thesis in Hungary in 2008 — both years after his father, Paul Gorka, had died.” [Forward, 4/24/17]

Worked With Anti-Semitic Groups In Hungary

2006: Gorka Worked With László Toroczkai Who Was Editor Of A Paper Which In 2004 Called Jews “Galician Upstarts” And Advocated For “[Taking] Back Our Country From Them, [Taking] Back Our Stolen Fortunes.” According to Forward, “During large-scale anti-government demonstrations in Hungary in 2006, Gorka took on an active role, becoming closely involved with a protest group called the Hungarian National Committee (Magyar Nemzeti Bizottság). Gorka took on the roles of translator, press coordinator and adviser for the group. Among the four Committee members named as the group’s political representatives was László Toroczkai, then head of the 64 Counties Youth Movement. Toroczkai founded that group in 2001 to advocate for the return of parts of modern-day Serbia, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine to form a Greater Hungary, restoring the country’s pre-World War I borders. In 2004, two years before the Movement’s involvement in the 2006 protests, Hungarian authorities opened an investigation into the Movement’s newspaper, Magyar Jelen, when an article referred to Jews as ‘Galician upstarts’ and went on to argue: ‘We should get them out. In fact, we need to take back our country from them, take back our stolen fortunes. After all, these upstarts are sucking on our blood, getting rich off our blood.’ At the time of the article’s publication, Toroczkai was both an editor at the paper and the Movement’s official leader. Toroczkai currently serves as vice president of Jobbik and is the mayor of a village near the border Hungary shares with Serbia. Last year, he gained notoriety in the West for declaring a goal of banning Muslims and gays from his town.” [Forward, 2/24/17]

2007: Gorka Established A New Political Party In Hungary With Two Members Who Were Members Of Jobbik, A Political Party With A Long History Of Anti-Semitism. According to Forward, “Gorka co-founded his political party with three other politicians. Two of his co-founders, Tamás Molnár and Attila Bégány, were former members of Jobbik. Molnár, a senior Jobbik politician, served as the party’s vice president until shortly before joining Gorka’s new initiative, and was also a member of the Hungarian National Committee during the 2006 protests, issuing statements together with extremist militant figures such as Toroczkai. Jobbik has a long history of anti-Semitism. In 2006, when Gorka’s political allies were still members of Jobbik, articles in the party’s official online blog included headlines such as ‘The Roots of Jewish Terrorism’ and ‘Where Were the Jews in 1956?’, a reference to the country’s revolution against Soviet rule. In one speech in 2010, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona said that ‘under communism we licked Moscow’s boots, now we lick Brussels’ and Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s.’” [Forward, 2/24/17]

Called Criticism Of White House’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day “Asinine”

Gorka Called Criticism Of The White House’s Omission Of Jews Or Anti-Semitism From Its Statement Marking The Holocaust’s International Day Of Remembrance “Asinine.”  According to CNN, “Earlier in the interview, Gorka was asked by Medved whether he would acknowledge that the administration’s controversial statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day was ‘at least questionable in being the first such statement in many years that didn’t recognize that Jewish extermination was the chief goal of the Holocaust.’ Gorka replied by calling criticism of the statement ‘asinine,’ arguing that it was motivated by the media’s desire to attack Trump. ‘It’s a Holocaust remembrance statement,’ Gorka said. ‘No, I’m not going to admit it. Because it’s asinine. It’s absurd. You’re making a statement about the Holocaust. Of course it’s about the Holocaust because that’s what the statement’s about. It’s only reasonable to twist it if your objective is to attack the President.’” [CNN, 2/7/17]

Gorka Supported A Violent Anti-Semitic Militia

2007: Gorka Said He Supported The Move By Jobbik To Establish A Militia Which Was Later Condemned By The European Court Of Human Rights. According to Forward, “In a video obtained by the Forward of an August 2007 television appearance by Gorka, the future White House senior aide explicitly affirms his party’s and his support for the black-vested Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) — a group later condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for attempting to promote an ‘essentially racist’ legal order. Asked directly on the TV interview program if he supports the move by Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic party, to establish the militia, Gorka, appearing as a leader of his own newly formed party, replies immediately, ‘That is so.’ The Guard, Gorka explains, is a response to ‘a big societal need.’” [Forward, 4/3/17]