Report: Gorka Supported Nationalist Militia Criticized For Racism

The Forward reported Monday that Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka at one point supported a Hungarian militia that was later outlawed for violating the rights of minorities.

Gorka has previously come under fire for his reported ties to anti-Semitic movements in his parents’ native Hungary. He founded the New Democratic Coalition (UDK) with former members of the anti-Semitic Hungarian ultranationalist party Jobbik, but pivoted away from questions about Jobbik when The Forward asked him in their previous reports about the group and his role in Hungarian politics.

In a 2007 television interview surfaced by The Forward, Gorka said “that is so,” when asked if he supported Jobik’s effort at the time to establish a militia, called Magyar Gárda or Hungarian Guard, according to the publication’s translation of the original Hungarian. Later, he said the Guard came in response to “a big societal need.” During the interview, the chyron on screen read: “UDK Supports The Hungarian Guard”

In 2009, a Hungarian appellate court banned the Guard for violating the rights of Roma people in Hungary, after what the Budapest Times described as “a series of anti-Roma marches in Tatarszentgyorgy, a village in central Hungary, which later became known for the murder of a Roma man and his young son and other anti-Roma violence.”

The White House did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment on the report.

After the 2007 interview, The Forward reported, Gorka’s UDK party posted a link to the interview on its website, with the text: “UDK Supports The Hungarian Guard: Sebestyen [Sebastian] Gorka on EchoTV,” but later claimed that Gorka’s comments had been “misinterpreted.”

According to The Forward, one faction of Gorka’s party wrote in support of the Guard: “We support the establishment of the Hungarian Guard despite the personalities involved.”

A month after the television interview, according to The Forward, Gorka told an online publication that “it’s not worth talking about banning or a national security risk,” referring to the possibility that the Guard would be banned.

But in 2008, he denied to a German-language paper that he had ever supported the Guard, according to The Forward.

Read The Forward’s full report here.

Watch clips of the interview below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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