Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant in the White House, will leave his job with the Strategic Initiatives Group for a position involving terrorism yet to be created.
A White House source said Gorka’s role has always been unclear and said Gorka never had national security issues in his portfolio. “This guy has always been a big mystery to me,” the source said of Gorka’s contributions to the staff.
The source said Gorka’s only known duties included speaking on television about counterterrism, as well as “giving White House tours and peeling out in his Mustang,” but added that he had few notable responsibilities.
Gorka’s status in the West Wing has been the subject of speculation amid reports that the White House had weighed options that would place the former Breitbart editor in another areas of the administration. The author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, Gorka is a counterterrorism expert whose ability to articulate Trump’s plans for battling the Islamic State has become an asset for the White House.
But his security clearance situation remains unclear.
He is not the first aide whose move away from the NSC was explained by pointing to the temporary nature of his role there. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, was moved off the NSC’s principals committee after officials said his efforts to “de-operationalize” the council had ended.
Democrats and liberal activists have called for Gorka’s resignation over alleged ties to a Hungarian political party connected to Nazism. Gorka has strongly denied the accusations and there has been no evidence to suggest that he is an active member of the group.
It’s evident that President Trump liked Gorka and trusted him. That source who talked about Gorka “giving White House tours” and not doing much sounds jealous to me. Gorka had access to Trump and that sort of thing sticks in the craw of a lot of small-minded, petty people who work in the White House.
But he was becoming a toxic commodity — a distraction the president didn’t need. There is the possibility that there is even more damaging information about Gorka’s alleged ties to Vitézi Rend, a Hungarian anti-Semitic group. Regardless, Gorka apparently never got proper security clearance to perform his White House duties, so he’s better off somewhere else where his talents can be put to use.
Trump will still be able to talk to Gorka, so it’s not like he’s going away and disappearing.