- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s deputy assistant has ties to Jobbik, a far-right political party in Hungary, according to a report published Friday in Jewish media outlet Forward.
That deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, is a naturalized American citizen born in the United Kingdom to Hungarian parents. He once worked for Breitbart, the far-right publication that Stephen Bannon, White House chief strategist, used to run. He went to one of Trump’s inauguration balls wearing a medal that some saw as “a nod to Miklos Horthy,” the leader of Hungary who entered his country into an alliance with Nazi Germany.
And, according to Forward, he organized a political unit with members of Hungary’s far-right, anti-Semitic party, Jobbik.
Per Forward, in 2006, while participating in anti-government protests in Hungary, Gorka became involved with a group called the Hungarian National Committee. One of that group’s members is Laszlo Toroczkai. Toroczkai is currently vice president of Jobbik. Also, in 2007, Gorka formed his own political party — the New Democratic Coalition — with three politicians, two of whom had been members of Jobbik.
Jobbik is widely considered to be a far-right, anti-Semitic party, although it’s been striving to present a more mainstream public face. Its website currently reads, “We want nothing but to be able live in a proud, free and liveable Hungary where the society is characterised by integrity, faith, security, order and solidarity. While preserving our national traditions and passing on our cultural heritage to the next generations, we also wish to represent universal humane [sic] values that are common in all cultures and religions.”
But the group is having trouble shedding its image as a far-right, anti-Semitic organization. As Forward notes, in 2006, the party’s official online blog ran pieces with titles such as “The Roots of Jewish Terrorism.”
Gorka told Forward he did not know that his co-founders had far-right connections. His co-founders claim that they are not far-right, just as he claims he did not know that Magyar Demokrata, the Hungarian publication for which he wrote in 2006 and 2007, is run by an editor who is widely considered to hold anti-Semitic views.
It is still to be seen if there are other far-right ties of which Gorka claims ignorance.
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