The fringe national security commentator Sebastian Gorka has scored another presidential appointment.
Gorka will join the National Security Education Board, which oversees a collection of federally-funded scholarships, for a four-year term. The White House press office announced President Donald Trump’s intent to appoint Gorka to the post on Tuesday.
The National Security Education Program, which Gorka’s new board oversees, doles out scholarships for language and cultural immersion programs in exchange for federal service requirements.
The board, according to an NSEP website, “determines the criteria for the awards and recommends critical areas that the Program should address.”
The post isn’t paid, according to the program’s original authorizing language, but travel and other necessary expenses can be reimbursed.
Gorka announced the news during a live broadcast of his radio show “America First” on Tuesday, after noting that he’d had a chat “with my old boss, the President,” two days earlier.
He described his new role with some characteristic puffery.
“This is the National Security Education Board, that makes sure that the defense — the whole of defense of the United States, the government, national security arena — has what it needs to do its job, is supported by universities, think tanks, and that we have the capacity to understand and defeat our enemies.”
Gorka thanked Trump and said “he is loyal to those who are loyal to him.”
“The President didn’t need to do this,” the Hungarian-American reflected in his baritone British accent. “After all the things I’ve been through, it would be easier for him to say ‘Don’t do it, find somebody who’s more milquetoast.'”
And Gorka’s been through quite a bit.
A former Brietbart editor, Gorka’s first role in the Trump administration lasted just a few months. But it was a coup for the national security analyst whose academic work on terrorism was widely viewed as shoddy.
Months into Gorka’s tenure at the White House, his own former PhD adviser said “I would not call him an expert on terrorism” and “his level of expertise does not match the level where he stands in the White House.”
Gorka became a frequent face for the administration’s immigration and national security policy, repeating the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” like a mantra. At one point Gorka declined to say whether Trump believed Islam was a religion at all. In August 2017, asked why the President hadn’t spoken out about the bombing of a Minnesota mosque, Gorka suggested the attack might have been faked.
Gorka earned a spotlight during his time as a deputy assistant to the President for his reported affiliation with the Order of Vitez, a Hungarian group founded by a Nazi collaborator. Gorka’s father was a member of the group and Gorka wore a medal for the organization to an inaugural ball.
Gorka left the administration in August of 2017, insisting that he’d resigned from his post.
Since then, he’s mostly made headlines for his news commentary, such as when he said a few months after leaving the White House that “Black Africans” in Chicago were “murdering each other by the bushel.”
In March last year, Fox News confirmed that Gorka was no longer working as a paid contributor at the network a short time after Gorka said in a speech that Democrats “want to take your pickup truck, they want to rebuild your home, they want to take away your hamburgers.”
And in May of last year, he said the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi was an “apologist for jihadists.”
Through it all, Gorka has apparently stayed in Trump’s good graces, perhaps in part by getting in a shouting match a year ago in the White House Rose Garden with a reporter, Brian Karem, whom Gorka called a “punk.” (Trump subsequently tweeted that Gorka “Wins Big, No Contest!”)
In May, following the President’s own claims that he’d been taking the drug hydroxychloroquine as an (unproven) COVID-19 prophylactic, Gorka said he’d been “taking it for more than a month” himself.
A few weeks later, in mid-June, CNN reported on internal murmurs at the government-funded Voice of America that Gorka could join the broadcaster’s leadership team — talk that, ultimately, went nowhere.