Three U.S. senators — Ben Cardin of Maryland, Richard Durbin of Illinois and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — were absolutely right to call for an investigation into of one of President Donald Trump’s top aides, Sebastian Gorka, who may have links to a notorious antisemitic Hungarian organization.
Gorka, Trump’s adviser on counter-terrorism, was photographed at the new president’s inauguration wearing the uniform and medal of Vitezi Rend. This organization was founded in 1920 by Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian regent who was instrumental in the promulgation of two noxious decisions — the passage of Europe’s first antisemitic law after World War I and the deportation of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in 1944.
After the deportations had been completed, the pro-German Hungarian regime is said to have distributed Jewish properties to various organizations, including Vitezi Rend.
In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. State Department classified Vitezi Rend as a group tainted by its association with Nazi Germany.
Cognizant of Vitezi Rend’s abominable track record, the three senators sent letters to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security on March 17 asking them to investigate Gorka’s links, if any, to Vitezi Rend, and to ascertain whether he had given the authorities false information before becoming a naturalized American citizen in 2012.
The senators wrote: “We urge you to immediately investigate whether senior White House counter-terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka falsified his naturalization application or otherwise illegally procured his citizenship. We note this administration has expressed a special interest in ensuring that those with extremist views do not exploit our immigration laws. We are deeply concerned by reports that Gorka concealed the material fact of his membership in the Vitezi Rend, a far-right antisemitic Hungarian organization, when he applied for U.S. citizenship.”
Gorka denies the allegations, claiming he has never been affiliated with Vitezi Rend. But he admits he has occasionally “worn my father’s (Vitezi Rend) medal and used the ‘v’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.”
True or not, Gorka committed an incredibly foolish mistake by donning the Vitezi Rend uniform and wearing its medal at Trump’s inauguration. What does that tell us about the man? It indicates beyond a reasonable doubt that, at the very least, he’s a sympathizer of an organization that was ideologically aligned with Hungarian fascism and complicit in the Holocaust in Hungary.
Is that the kind of a person who’s entitled to hold a high-level job in the U.S. government?
Given such suspicions, Gorka’s U.S. citizenship application forms should be scrutinized with a fine tooth comb to ascertain whether he lied about membership in Vitezi Rend. If he did so, he should be held accountable and subjected to the appropriate penalty.