The Forward and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) endeavored to impugn the reputation of Deputy Assistant to President Trump Sebastian Gorka over the matter of his wearing a Hungarian medal issued by the regime of Hungarian Regent Admiral Miklos Horthy, a known anti-Semite. Instead their comeuppance by a critic of the Administration in a Tablet Magazine rebuttal and by this writer.
Here were The Forward allegations
The Forward reported the allegations of Perperdine Law School professor Bruce Einhorn, a former Immigration Law Judge and Office of Special investigations:
“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.
Gorka’s membership in the organization — if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant — could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
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.
But Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, said of this, “His silence speaks volumes.”
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.
Einhorn said these nuances did not relieve Gorka of the obligation, if he’s a member, to disclose his affiliation when applying for his visa or his citizenship.
“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” said Einhorn. If Gorka did not disclose his affiliation with it, he said, this would constitute “failure to disclose a material fact,” which could undermine the validity of both his immigration status and claim to citizenship.
The Tablet rebuttal and Gorka Statement
Liel Leibowitz in a Tablet Magazine article rebutted these salacious arguments by Forward and Professor Einhorn. See: “Tale of Trump Advisor’s Alleged Nazi Ties Unravels”:
Gorka himself told me that the allegations are flat-out false.
“I have never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v.’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.” It’s a perfectly plausible explanation, and you’d have to be of a very specific mindset to still pursue allegations of Nazi affiliation.
Why didn’t Gorka simply tell this to The Forward? A source close to the White House, who was briefed on how the administration treated this story, explained things a little more to me.
“These guys genuinely believed that the allegations were so blatantly false and so aggressively poorly-sourced, that no responsible journalist would ever publish them,” the source told me on the phone. “Is Seb Gorka, whose family literally bears the scars of anti-fascist fights, a secret Nazi cultist? Come on now.”
If you’ve been following the Gorka story—the Forward’s accusation is hardly the first attempt to portray the aide as a bona fide Nazi—here’s what you know. Gorka’s father, Paul, was a dedicated member of the anti-Communist underground, and had risked his life to organize the Hungarian resistance and deliver vital information about the Soviets to western intelligence agencies, including the MI6. He was eventually arrested, badly tortured, spent two years in solitary confinement and some more in forced labor in the coal mines before eventually escaping to England.
Understandably, Gorka Jr. was deeply moved by his father’s dedication. It’s why, for example, he wore his father’s Vitézi Rend medal to President Trump’s inauguration. You may find this kind of devotion to be overly doting or even creepy, but if you’re being honest, the story here is simple and in some ways touching.
Sadly, that seems lost on my friends and colleagues at the Forward. Such unreason isn’t just bad for journalism—the Forward’s piece leaps from intimations of Nazism to suggestions that Gorka may be at risk of having his citizenship revoked—but also bad for democracy. I’ve been, and remain, a critic of the Trump Administration, but all criticism is meaningless unless it adheres to reason, refuses rank rumors, and focuses on substance rather than on slinging mud. Let’s all take a deep breath. The White House is no more overrun with Nazis as with secret Russian spies. To suggest otherwise is to further flame the kind of hysteria that, traditionally, has led to social unrest and delivered no good news to the Jews.”
Our rebuttal to the Forward
Having interviewed Dr. Gorka both during the former Lisa Benson Show and recently on 1330 AM WEBY Your Turn with colleague Mike Bates, published in the New English Review, we got to know about his parents’ courageous resistance to the Hungarian Communist Regime, and in his late father Paul’s case imprisonment, torture and release by resistance fighters during the 1956 Hungarian Revolt, before escaping to Britain as refugees.
They were too young during World War II to be involved with any Hungarian fascist movements especially, the notorious Arrow Cross.
Moreover, the hereditary medal that Dr. Gorka wears was given to his father by a Hungarian exile group for his resistance efforts against the Hungarian Communist regime.
We did some research about the medal he wears and at least one published source said that it may also have been awarded to Hungarian Jews for noteworthy service to Hungary.
Dr. Gorka to our direct knowledge is a supporter of Israel. In response to a question this writer posed to him during our interview on the importance of Israel as an ally in support of U.S. National Security interests in the Middle East, he responded: “There is no greater partner of the United States in the Middle East..Israel, as a beacon of democracy and stability in the Middle East is our closest friend in the region and the President has been explicit in that again and again. So it would be difficult to overestimate just how important Israel is not only to America’s interest in the region but also to the broader stability of the Middle East.” See: “The Trump Administration Views on Radical Islamic Jihadism: an interview with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President.”
We trust that like such previous false accusation against this valued immigrant and Trump Advisor that it will wither away with the disinfectant of truth.