The media, and the left in general, are attempting to smear former Breitbart editor Sebastian Gorka, who serves as Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States, as a Nazi sympathizer.
As any of his Breitbart News colleagues could testify, Gorka is not only pro-Israel but “pro-Jewish,” and defends both against the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.
But facts do not matter to the left and the mainstream media in their efforts to frighten the public and harass the administration.
The ridiculous accusation is based on a medal that Gorka was seen wearing at an inaugural ball. 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.
Ironically, when Eli Clifton was at the left-wing Center for American Progress, he himself was involved in a damaging scandal about antisemitism at its ThinkProgess blog in 2011-2012. At the time, the Jerusalem Post noted: “The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have all termed the anti-Israeli rhetoric of Jilani and fellow CAP writers Eli Clifton, Ali Gharib, Matt Duss and Ben Armbruster to be infected with Jew-hatred and discriminatory policy positions toward Israel.”
So it is unclear why Clifton’s false accusations of Nazi ties are being treated as credible. (Clifton is now a reporter at the Nation Institute, a non-profit associated with the left-wing magazine.)
Clifton’s slander was picked up by the Southern Poverty Law Center, retweeted by Chelsea Clinton, reiterated by left-wing publications like Talking Points Memo, and elevated by mainstream sources like the Times of Israel and Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. None bothered to check the underlying claim of Gorka’s alleged Nazi sympathies.
Why Is Trump Adviser Sebastian Gorka Wearing Medal of Nazi Collaborators? https://t.co/lGWGCnZXZk
— Eli Clifton (@EliClifton) February 12, 2017
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) February 13, 2017
— SPLC (@splcenter) February 13, 2017
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 13, 2017
Top Trump aide wears medal of Hungarian Nazi collaborators https://t.co/oFwTWkX0bY
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) February 14, 2017
— (((Ron Kampeas))) (@kampeas) February 14, 2017
None of the people and sources above, starting with Clifton, bothered to investigate Gorka’s writings, to look at his public views, or to consult his former Breitbart News colleagues.
Gorka is not only pro-Israel, but also “pro-Jewish.” Speaking personally as an Orthodox Jew, it was an honor to work alongside him for years as he wrote about foreign policy and national security.
The simple reason that Gorka is being targeted is that he has emerged as one of the most effective spokespeople for the Trump administration. Earlier this month, for example, he offered a clear and concise explanation for the administration’s executive order on immigration on CNN.
Gorka is being smeared in the most disgusting way by partisans and “journalists” who have no interest in the truth. They just want to hurt the Trump administration, and do not care whom they destroy in the process.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.