NEW YORK—Sebastian Gorka began his appearance at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference by thanking his supporters.
“I’d like to thank everybody who has stood by me and this administration for the last 15 weeks,” Gorka said. “Specifically, and I apologize in advance if I’ve forgotten you, but the two Davids, Ira, Bruce, Jeff, Mort, Joel, Noah, you know who you are, okay, especially thank you to Rabbi Billet, who wrote this Friday an amazing piece.”
Gorka’s appearance on Sunday, an onstage Q&A with the Jerusalem Post’s editor Yaakov Katz, might seem surprising given everything that has transpired since he joined the White House. Gorka’s image in the Jewish community has become, to say the least, fraught. He has been engulfed in controversy for weeks after a series of articles in The Forward raised questions about his connections to the right-wing Hungarian group Vitezi Rend, which had historical ties to Nazism. BuzzFeed News also reported that Gorka had been denied a Hungarian security clearance. A former Breitbart writer and author of a book called Defeating Jihad, Gorka had long lingered around the fringes of the Washington national-security scene before joining the Trump administration, with the title of deputy assistant to the president. Gorka’s actual role at the White House has never been fully clear, beyond appearing on television and working for the Strategic Initiatives Group, the “internal think tank” whose purpose and nature has itself proved elusive.