Before he was the Trump administration’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, Dr. Sebastian Gorka supported a radical, anti-Semitic paramilitary group in Hungary.
According to a Forward report Monday, Gorka voiced support for the far-right Hungarian Guard group in an August 2007 interview on Hungarian television.
In the interview, Gorka (then a leader of the far-right New Democratic Coalition party) blasted the Hungarian military as “sick,” saying it “totally reflects the state of Hungarian society…. This country cannot defend itself.” Gorka, who was born in London to Hungarian parents, lived in Hungary from 1992-2008, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012.
In the interview, Gorka suggested that the paramilitary organization, which was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, was a needed security measure comparable to those used by small countries such as Israel and Sweden.
“If we look at the Swiss or Israeli example than it’s completely natural,” Gorka said. “When it’s about a country that is small and doesn’t have a massive military then a system can be constructed on the basis of territorial defense.” According to the Forward, the Hungarian Militia was an initiative of Hungary’s ultra-nationalist, anti-Semitic Jobbik Party.
The Hungarian Guard, whose black shirts emulated those worn by Hungary’s fascist Arrow Cross regime of the 1930s and 40s, was founded in 2007, and dissolved by the Budapest Tribunal in 2009. The organization was well known for its anti-Semitism, with Guard captain Istvan Dosa referring to Hungarian Jews in 2008 as “nation-destroyers.”
Claims that the paramilitary group was facilitating a rise in anti-Semitism were dismissed by Gorka in the 2007 interview.
“This is a tool,” he said. “This type of accusation is the very useful tool of a certain political class.”
Gorka again became the subject of controversy last month when Vitezi Rend, a neo-Nazi Hungarian nationalist group, claimed he was a sworn member. The claims were flatly denied by Gorka, who told Tablet he has “never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend.” A March 16 report in the Atlantic noted that Gorka occasionally referred to himself as Sebastian L. v. Gorka, using the initial of Vitezi Rend members, and had worn a Vitezi Rend medal to a Jan. 20 inauguration ball, though he claimed to have done so out of respect to his late father.