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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Column: Why is a former top Trump advisor associated with a Nazi-affiliated group?

Sebastian Gorka’s affiliation with an undesirable group brings scrutiny upon advisors in the Trump administration.

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 10, 2017

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Maddie Niblett is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinions columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

It was a day like any other: I was running late to class, the sun blazing down on my skin, when I, an unsuspecting college student, received a notification from CNN on my phone. The message said only “Trump aide Gorka out; Counterterrorism advisor Sebastian Gorka joins a long list of high-profile departures from the White House.”

This Gorka character certainly wasn’t the first person, and certainly will not be the last, to be fired or to resign from the Trump administration. This list of unfortunate souls includes, but is not limited to, James Comey, Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon.

Since most of these former officials left amid scandal and national intrigue, I decided to do a cursory Google search for this Gorka fellow and see what the latest outrage was all about. The first article my all-too-eager thumbs clicked on was titled “Sebastian Gorka Made Nazi-Linked Vitezi Rend ‘Proud’ by Wearing Its Medal.” Wait, what?

Apparently, Gorka wore a medal belonging to The Order of Vitez, a Hungarian group that worked under Nazi Germany’s power during the Holocaust. Gorka claims that the medal belonged to his Vitezi father, not to him, and that he himself had absolutely no ties to the group. Despite this sad attempt at a cover-up, Vitezi Rend spokesman András Horváth said that he was “proud” of Gorka for wearing the medal.

“What exactly is this mysterious group, and what do they do?” my curious mind wondered. Another cursory Google search (and a quick press of the “translate” button) brought me to the Order’s official website, where one of the featured stories shows the “Commemoration of the Nazi valley heroes.” Conclusion: this group, and by association anyone involved with it, is, to make use of a gross understatement, super shady.

In case there was any doubt that Gorka was actually a member of this Nazi-aligned order, the Forward reported that, “In June 2011, Gorka testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee. His official testimony did not list his name as Sebastian L. Gorka, but rather as Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka.” The use of the lowercase “V” as a middle initial is a special privilege given to ordained members of the Vitezi Rend, and while membership can be given to the child of a Vitezi member, the use of the initial cannot be passed down from father to son, according to the Forward. Again, Gorka claimed that he only used the initial to — you guessed it — honor his late father.

What was this guy doing in the White House in the first place? Why did President Trump choose Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka to advise him on all things counterterrorism as a deputy assistant? Who else that currently holds a position of power in government is involved with such bigoted, dogmatic organizations and ideologies?

The fact that someone like Gorka was involved in our country’s executive branch is telling of either the current administration’s incompetence in choosing top advisors or its (not so) hidden ideological leanings. We the people need to take a much closer look at the people at the top of the political food chain because it’s becoming clear that the people in charge won’t do it for us.

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