White House Reportedly Looking to Oust Controversial Adviser Sebastian Gorka

Sebastian Gorka's ties to far-right anti-Semitic groups and questionable credentials have been raising ire

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Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, interviewed on BBC's Newsnight. February 26, 2017.
Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, interviewed on BBC's Newsnight. February 26, 2017.Credit: Screen grab

The Trump administration is looking to remove his controversial counter-terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka from his position in the White House and give him a position in a different federal agency, The Daily Beast reported on Friday citing anonymous sources.

The report cited senior administration officials as saying the White House is exploring a new role for Gorka which would not require a security clearance, and that he may land at the federal government’s senior executive service. One official said that in the meantime, Gorka is being excluded from policy-making at the National Security Council.

On Wednesday, the left-wing Jewish group J Street began collecting signatures for a petition calling on Trump to fire Gorka, in light of revelations on his alleged ties with far-right anti-Semitic organizations in his native Hungary. Gorka has denied the reports, which have led to a similar demand by a group of Democratic members of Congress.

Earlier this week, students in Georgetown University - including members of J Street - protested against Gorka when he appeared at a panel in the university. After being asked by students in the crowd about the reporting that connects him to anti-Semitic groups, Gorka said he denies any such connections, and asked the students to "learn more" about him before calling him an anti-Semite. Some news reports indicated that he left the event early because of the protests and questions, but Georgetown later said that he left the event at the time he was scheduled to leave.

Much of the reporting on Gorka's alleged ties with anti-Semitic groups was first published by The Forward, including an interview with Gorka from 2007 in which he expressed support for the formation of a violent, far-right militia in Hungary. The Jewish publication also interviewed members of Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian group with past ties to the country's fascist and anti-Semitic World War II-era government, who said Gorka was "a sworn member" of the group.