President Donald Trump’s counter-terrorism adviser is under attack after claims that he is linked to a Hungarian organization that supported the Nazis in World War II.
Allegations against Sebastian Gorka first arose when he wore a medal to an inaugural ball that was later identified as signifying membership in the Hungarian Order of Heroes, Vitezi Rend. The State Department has the group listed among those that collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
Accusations against Gorka were marshaled in an article condemning him published by The Forward, which claims Gorka is a member of an offshoot of the original group, named Historical Vitezi Rend.
Gorka rebutted the charges in an interview with The Tablet.
Although Gorka does not deny he wore his father’s medal to the inauguration, he has said he has never had any connection with the group.
“I have never been a member of the Vitezi Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitezi Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism,” he said.
In an interview with Breitbart, during which he recounted the story of his father’s fights against Communism in Hungary, he disclosed why he wore the medal.
“I’m a proud American now and I wear that medal now and again,” he said. “Why? To remind myself of where I came from, what my parents suffered under both the Nazis and the Communists, and to help me in my work today because as far as I’m concerned, groups like the Islamist State, like al-Qaeda — they’re just another kind of totalitarian. They’re not Communists, they’re not Nazis, but they will enslave or kill you if you disagree with them.”
However, three Democratic senators are relying upon the allegations presented by The Forward in a letter they wrote to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
The letter — from Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — is asking for an investigation into whether Gorka lied about any past membership in the group during the naturalization and citizenship process.
“Membership in an anti-Semitic organization like the Historical Vitézi Rend should raise serious concerns regarding whether an individual holds the sort of ‘hostile attitudes’ that concern the administration,” they wrote. “Failure to address this case would further confirm the intent of this administration is to discriminate on the basis of religion, rather than combat extremist views.”
Gorka has referred any public comment on the letter to the White House press office.
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