Sebastian Gorka has no business being in government, never mind on NPR’s Morning Edition (updated)

Sebastian Gorka is fantastic as a spokesman for Donald – Islamophobic, apparently proud of his family’s association with an organization that collaborated with the Nazis, and a proven liar.

UPDATE: I changed the header sentence to remove a reference to Gorka’s ancestors as being Nazi collaborators. The fact remains, however, that the Vitezi Rend was associated with the Nazis during WWII, so I’ve reworded the header accordingly.
gorka_trumpI’ve listened to Rachel Martin interview Sebastian Gorka – a Bannon hire and former Breitbart national security editor who is an Islamophobe with a documented history of lying and who wore the uniform of a Nazi-affiliated Hungarian organization on air during Donald’s inauguration – twice now on NPR’s Morning Edition. Yesterday’s experience was not pleasant. He’s an expert at dodging questions and staying on message even when Martin breaks in to stop him from dominating the air time with bullshit.

There was more slime coming out of my speakers when Gorka was talking than in all of the Ghostbusters films combined.

I’m not sure why Martin keeps bringing Gorka on. Maybe he’s the only Administration representative who will talk to NPR. Given Martin has been pretty good about not letting the interviewees off the hook, maybe it’s because she wants to remind listeners that Donald’s team is mostly composed of nationalist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic liars. Either way, I won’t miss Gorka when he’s gone.

12 replies »

  1. There will just be another one. One thing we learned in this election, there are a lot more of these slimeballs out there than we knew.

  2. What a vile lie to claim that Gorka had “Nazi-collaborationist ancestors,” or that he was honoring such people. Gorka wore traditional Hungarian cultural costume and his father’s medal to the inauguration to honor his father, who earned the medal for participating in the anti-communist resistance around the time of the 1956 revolt, during which time he was captured and tortured. Gorka’s father was just a child during the Nazi occupation. The medal has been awarded to members of the Hungarian diaspora and individuals in Hungary since 1983. Gorka had no “Nazi-collaborationist ancestors,” and it verges on racism to call traditional cultural clothing of another people a “Nazi-affiliated uniform.”

    • Fair point. I’ll update the post to remove the reference to Gorka’s ancestors. Based on what I’ve read about the Vitezi Rend, however, I’m not going to change the comments that the group was associated with the Nazis, as that appears to be historical fact. And wearing a uniform that is associated with that history was Gorka’s choice.

        • I can’t prove that Gorka’s ancestors were Nazi collaborators, so I felt that it was appropriate to remove that line. But based on the Times of Israel story I linked to and another story that they linked to at LobeLog, it’s pretty much historically true that the Vitezi Rend were Nazi collaborators during WWII and their founder was explicitly anti-Semitic. Which is why I added the update note I did and left the rest of the post alone.

        • So if I wore a French Policeman’s outfit, would you claim that I was dressed as a Nazi collaborator?

          Nazi Germany took over Hungary during the war. It’s no surprise that high-ranking people would work with the Nazis rather than die. But it’s disingenuous to define a group by the part of its history you don’t like, especially if you’re making no effort to give the same treatment to all of the other groups on that list.

        • Don’t be obtuse, Z. If you were wearing a WWII-era French policeman’s uniform and unit identifier from a unit that was known to be Nazi-collaborators as opposed to a generic uniform, then yes, I would accuse you of being dressed as a Nazi collaborator. And I would treat all other similar organizations equally, so there’s nothing disingenuous about it. The difference is that Gorka isn’t a member of any of those other organizations, so there wasn’t any reason to mention them.

  3. I think any reference to Gorka being somehow aligned with Nazis is, to be polite about it, (1) illogical to the point of stupidity, (2) unsupportable to the point of being slanderous, and (3) “lazy” in a journalistic sense. There’s plenty of information out there about his thinking: books, articles, videos of his presentations and his bio and resume — though there is probably some puffery therein. Whatever your opinion of Seb Gorka (mine remains unformed, though he seems a well-versed “irregular warfare” authority), he seems to abhor totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and genocide, as well as terrorism in any and all forms. Considering his family history (look it up) it’s pretty easy to see why.

    Question for us to consider: Say that one’s all-consuming work centers on identification and defeat of Islamic terrorist fanatics, i.e., the tiny sliver of Muslims worldwide who’ve declared themselves to be in an existential war with Western civilization. Does that ipso facto make one Islamaphobic? Gorka IS the former no doubt, but does he go beyond that and speak/act/rant against the mainstream adherents to the Muslim religion? If you’ve heard or learned of him doing so, I would sincerely like to find out.

    I can’t recall ever purposely going to the Breitbart.com site, other than following a link to it when researching or reading elsewhere. But, on this one, I was curious to see what Breitbart said about Gorka’s wearing of the offending medal. So you are warned: If by letting your eyes read actual Breitbart.com words you will have to go to confession …. stop here!!

    ….. Eli Clifton of the LobeLog blog wrote on Sunday that Gorka “has appeared in multiple photographs wearing the medal of a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.”

    Clifton notes that the medal is associated with a military order, the “Hungarian Order of Heroes, Vitezi Rend” created after the First World War.

    He goes on to speculate (wrongly — see below) that the medal could have been won by Gorka’s grandfather. The order, he adds, was later associated with Hungary’s Nazi-aligned government during the Second World War, and later banned by the Soviets. But Clifton notes: “The order was awarded to members of the Hungarian diaspora and individuals in Hungary since 1983.”

    Clifton does not bother to report why the order was awarded then, or even why the “Hungarian diaspora” existed in the first place; he shows no interest in the order as an anti-communist symbol, merely noting that the Soviets banned it.

    And of course Clifton offers no evidence — none at all — that Gorka, or his antecedents, had any kind of empathy for the Nazi regime or its views.

    Clifton could have consulted Gorka’s book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, to know more about his background. His father grew up during the Nazi siege of Budapest and later joined the anti-communist resistance. He was betrayed by Kim Philby, a British double agent for the Soviet Union, arrested and tortured.

    Talking Points Memo, while echoing Clifton’s false attack on Gorka, notes that it was Gorka’s father who won the award, which by then was an anti-communist symbol: “Gorka’s late father, Paul, fled Hungary for the United Kingdom during a failed 1956 revolt against the Soviet-imposed government. The flyleaf of Paul Gorka’s book ‘Budapest Rising’ identifies him as a recipient of the Order of Vitéz ‘for his bravery during the Resistance’” — i.e. the resistance against Soviet communism, which Gorka discusses in his book.

    • The facts are these: Vitezi Rend was formed in 1920 by an avowed anti-Semite. Vitezi Rend collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and transferred property seized from Jews to its members. When Vitezi Rend rebranded itself as an anti-communist organization, they chose to retain the same name, medal, and Austro-Hungarian military trappings that the organization had when it was founded – and during the period it collaborated with the Nazis.

      There are four possibilities I see here. First, that the individuals responsible for rebranding Vitezi Rend as anti-communist were unaware of the organization’s past. I find this level of ignorance to unbelievable. Second, that those individuals were aware but didn’t think it mattered any more. Given Hungary was an Axis power during the war and hundreds of thousands of Jews were sent to Auschwitz, I find this unlikely as well. Third, those individuals were aware of the organization’s history and explicitly rejected it. If this option were true, then they would have come up with a new name, new medal, and/or new dress in order to explicitly separate themselves from that past. That leaves one option – that the individuals involved in rebranding Vitezi Rend were aware of their history and either actively supported it or were at least OK with it.

      As far as whether Gorka himself is Islamophobic, according to this review of this book, Gorka “urges dropping the opaque doctrine of the Administration and facing the reality that Islamic doctrine is the wind behind the sails propelling the success of the Islamic State” and that Gorka “dismisses the Jihad as “inner struggle” argument, instead concentrating on “jihad of the sword” which went through several stages of evolution over the 1,400 years since Mohammed.” He has called Muslim profiling “common sense” even though it’s been repeatedly found by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional (and thus, by definition, unAmerican). Strikes me as pretty Islamophobic, but I guess YMMV.

  4. ps … I think it’s tacky to wear a medal to a formal gathering, unless it’s a military function or unless the person himself is there representing the military and/or was invited because of one’s position in it. Without a justification like that, it’s probably just “for effect” to draw attention to oneself. But so what …. ??

  5. On the river in Budapest there are dozens of brass shoes, reminders of the 3500 jews and gypsies the Hungarian Arrow Cross paramilitary lined up, had remove their shoes and shot in the back of the head so they fell forward into the Danube and were washed away. One of the most moving memorials I’ve ever seen. I know nothing about Gorka and don’t care what uniform he wears. People have strangely rosy views of history. All those idiots at Univ of Mississippi wear Confederate uniforms but hopefully don’t really support what the South was fighting for. Same with people who admire the Knights Templar and the genocidal Crusades or people who wear the hats of the US Cavalry from the Custer time period. Still, not sure comparing the Hungarian paramilitary and the French police are quite the same thing. I’m sure the Vichy participated in some unsavory stuff, but I haven’t seen any memorials to mass killings in Paris.