Trump aide Sebastian Gorka told Breitbart News that he wears a medal associated with a Nazi ally, last spotted on him at one of the President’s inaugural balls, in order to commemorate his father’s anti-Communist efforts in mid-century Hungary.
Gorka, a former Brietbart News editor himself, explained in an “exclusive” video the site published Tuesday evening that the medal he wore to the Liberty Ball —shortly before joining the Trump administration as deputy assistant to the President—reminds him of what his parents “suffered under the Nazis and under the Communists.”
Some Hungarian scholars told TPM the medal is identified with a knightly order founded by the Hungarian admiral and statesman Miklós Horthy, who oversaw the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
“In 1979, my father was awarded a decoration for his resistance to dictatorship, and although he passed away 14 years ago I wear that medal in remembrance of what my family went through and what it represents to me as an American,” Gorka said in the video.
Left unmentioned are the origins of the medal and Horthy’s renewed popularity among the ultranationalist Hungarian right-wing. Those far-right conservatives have started a Horthyite revival over the past few years, with some towns erecting statues to the former admiral and statesman. They’ve also taken to dressing in attire like the black braided “bocskai” jacket, which Gorka also wore on inauguration night and was popular in Horthy’s time.
TPM and writer Eli Clifton, who first flagged the medal in a post for LobeLog, both published stories this week exploring the significance and history of the medal. A White House spokeswoman did not respond to TPM’s multiple requests to make Gorka available for comment; Gorka did not respond to Clifton’s response for comment, but later tweeted a link to a Brietbart story defending him and falsely alleged that Clifton was fired from a previous job for “antiSemitism.”
As Gorka detailed in the prologue of his 2016 book “Defeating Jihad,” his late father, Paul, worked in the anti-Communist resistance in the years after World War II before fleeing the country as a refugee. In Paul Gorka’s book “Budapest Rising,” he claimed he received the medal of Horthy’s Order of Vitéz “for his bravery during the Resistance.”
Hungarian scholars say that in that country, the legacy of Horthy and his knightly order remains tainted by his alliance with the Nazis early in World War II as well as the deportation and subsequent murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews on his watch.
Watch the video below:
This post has been updated.