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Sebastian Gorka

Factsheet: Sebastian Gorka

Published on 05 Dec 2018

IMPACT: Sebastian Gorka is a contributor at Sinclair TV, who previously worked for FOX News and served as the Deputy Assistant to President Donald Trump. Gorka supports religious profiling, has targeted Muslim civil rights and advocacy groups, and has publicly worn a medal affiliated with a Nazi-linked Hungarian group. 

Sebastian Gorka served as a National Security Strategist for Fox News and a contributor for The Rebel, an online Canadian publication. He served as the Deputy Assistant to President Donald Trump from January 2017 to August 2017. He is the author of Defeating Jihad (Regnery 2016), and identifies himself as an “irregular war strategist.”  

A number of professors and terrorism experts expressed concern regarding Gorka’s proximity to the President, given his “amateur” understanding of national security threats, including terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith II who stated, “This is not somebody who should be working anywhere near the White House.” Dr. Omid Safi, director of Islamic Studies at Duke University, has labelled Gorka’s book “propaganda,” stating it’s “inaccurate, sloppy, superficial, bigoted and ideological.”

In January 2018, a Buzzfeed report revealed Gorka had an arrest warrant issued September 17, 2016 for “firearm or ammunition abuse” in Hungary The article noted the warrant was “in place for the entirety of Gorka’s tenure at the White House.”

Gorka has argued that the US is a “Christian nation, a Judeo-Christian nation,” and implied that accepting Muslim refugees would be “national suicide.” In a June 2016 speech, Gorka said that “profiling is actually a synonym for common sense,” and “If 98 percent of the terrorists come from a certain faith community, have a certain ethnic background, have a certain travel pattern, and visit the same sites on the Internet, why are we patting down, you know, 82-year-old Episcopalian grandmothers?” 

From 2014-2016, Gorka was the National Security editor at Breitbart, where he wrote a number of articles focusing on Islam and stressing the threat of “global jihadism.” Between 2009-2011, Gorka wrote for the Gatestone Institute, described by Webby-award winning AlterNet news service as “a hub for anti-Muslim ideologues.” 

Gorka has accused Muslim civil rights organizations, like the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), of using “subversive tactics,” and having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Gorka considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and claimed the Muslim Brotherhood was “overrun[ning]” the National Cathedral after CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) hosted prayers there. 

Gorka has been a frequent guest on Frank Gaffney’s Secure Freedom Radio. Frank Gaffney is the head of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers an anti-Muslim group. Gaffney has also hosted Gorka at a number of events hosted by CSP, described by the SPLC as a “conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.” 

In June 2016, while speaking at the conservative advocacy group Family Research Council, Gorka inaccurately claimed that 98 percent of terrorists are Muslims. Research by the New America Foundation found that since 9/11, right-wing extremists have killed almost twice as many Americans as perpetrators who identify as Muslim have. 

Gorka has accused The Washington Post and the New York Times of “shilling for the Jihadis,” and siding with the “Islamists” when it came to the wars in the Middle East. Following the deadly shooting at an Orlando nightclub, Gorka stated the attack was “in part facilitated by the policies of this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton,” and blamed “political correctness” for allowing it to happen.

In early 2017, pictures were posted showing Gorka wearing a medal associated with a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as “having taken direction from Germany’s Nazi government during World War II.” Gorka, who has denied links to the group, wore this medal at the inauguration and during a television interview with Sean Hannity. The Nazi-linked group, Vitézi Rend, has claimed Gorka as a member. 

Following the August 5th, 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque, which Minnesota’s governor called “an act of terrorism,” Gorka gave an interview in his capacity as a White House official and stated the bombing may have been a  “fake hate crime.”

On August 25th, 2017, The New York Times, announced Gorka had been “forced out” of his position at the White House. Soon after, Gorka became the Chief Strategist for the MAGA Coalition, a pro-Trump organization dedicated to advancing “America First” principles. The coalition’s founders promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which claimed, “Hillary Clinton and other high-level Democrats ran a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria.”

In November 2017, The Hill reported Gorka was contracted to give a series of five foreign policy speeches at the conservative Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation has previously hosted events featuring anti-Muslim voices such as Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel

A 2017 Foreign Policy article noted that while Gorka calls himself “an expert on “radical jihadi ideology,”’ he does “not speak Arabic and has spent no time in the Middle East.”

In February 2017, Lobelog’s Eli Clifton revealed Gorka had joined The Rebel, a far-right Canadian publication with a “long history of anti-Semitism, extremism, and Islamophobia.” The outlet once published a satirical video titledTen Things I Hate About Jews.” 

In March 2019, Media Matters revealed Gorka would no longer be renewing his contract with FOX and instead would be joining Sinclair TV as a contributor. Media Matters revealed Gorka had appeared in  “six Sinclair national news packages in 2019 — most of which discuss stories related to ISIS or immigration.”

On July 14th, 2020, the White House announced President Trump’s intent to appoint Gorka “to be a Member of the National Security Education Board for a term of four years.” In response, rights activists and anti-racism advocates condemned the appointment, with the CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action stating, “White nationalists and their allies should have no place in our government.” Additionally, SPLC’s Margaret Huang stated, “Someone like Gorka has absolutely no place in the federal government, even less as a member of the NSEB. His ties to anti-Muslim extremists have been well documented.”

On July 28th, 2020, Gorka made an appearance at Liberty University’s Freedom Summit alongside Charlie Kirk, Eric Bolling, and Senator Ted Cruz. The Summit, held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., focused on exposing the supposed “growing cultural dangers posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)” including COVID-19. During Gorka’s speech, he called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” a reference that many experts have noted is racist.

During a June 23, 2020 livestream of his show, “America First” produced by Salem Radio Network, Gorka discussed the COVID-19 pandemic. Following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many states issued laws making the wearing of masks mandatory in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. Many conservatives viewed this as an infringement on their right to choose. A viewer called Gorka’s show and spoke about the “Democrat Islamo-Maoist mask” to which Gorka replied, “You mean the COVID burqas?” In his previous episodes, he has repeatedly called COVID-19 “the China virus,” and discussed “the Chinese coverup,” referring to the conspiracy theory that China attempted to bury knowledge that the novel coronavirus was spreading. According to Human Rights Watch, derogatory and inflammatory language such as “the Chinese virus” has fueled anti-Asian racism and xenophobia worldwide.

Gorka’s wife, Katharine Gorka, is also involved in right-wing politics. She co-founded the Council on Global Security, a “non-profit institution dedicated to promoting security and human dignity through freedom, economic opportunity, and rule of law.” In articles for Breitbart, she has stated that Democrats were “shut[ting] down any debate within Islam by declaring that Islam is the religion of peace and that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.” Both Gorkas advocate that the government use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” in order to “be honest about the threat.” 

Last Updated August, 2020