Former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka said Sunday he will return to Breitbart News, days after his mysterious exit from the Trump administration.
In an interview with Breitbart’s Matt Boyle on Sirius XM, Gorka announced he was joining ousted White House adviser Steve Bannon in returning to the ultra-conservative news outlet.
“I will be working with Steve, with you, with the Breitbart crew,” Gorka said during the interview, without revealing what role he would hold.
Gorka left the White House on Friday in a shroud of controversy, with conflicting claims about whether he resigned or got the boot.
His hard-line views on immigration and terrorism caused discord inside and outside the White House. He was the latest official to exit Trump’s administration.
Gorka told media outlets that he had resigned from his position. A White House official, however, said he did not resign but “no longer works at the White House.” That official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Gorka joined the administration as a counterterrorism adviser. But he operated outside of the National Security Council and his exact responsibilities were not clearly outlined, though he was a prominent advocate for Trump on television news.
Gorka on Sunday declined to discuss the reasons he left the White House, but pointed toward excerpts from his resignation letter that were posted Friday evening by The Federalist website.
Gorka wrote that “the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months.”
He criticized Trump’s recent speech on Afghanistan, writing, “The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost.”
He also wrote: “the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”
Gorka’s exit follows the departure of Bannon, a key adviser in Trump’s general election campaign but a contentious presence in a White House divided by warring staff loyalties. Bannon quickly returned to his post at Breitbart News.
Bannon left the White House after the arrival of new chief of staff, John Kelly, who had embarked on a personnel review of West Wing staff. Kelly has sought to impose discipline on a chaotic West Wing, limiting dissenting voices, restricting access to the president and “stacking the deck” on major decisions to guide Trump toward an outcome.
The administration has seen a number of high-profile exits in recent months, including Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, and his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
Last week, three Democratic senators had once again asked the Trump administration whether Gorka was under investigation for allegedly lying when he became a US citizen.
Gorka “reportedly concealed his membership in the Vitézi Rend, a far-right anti-Semitic Hungarian organization with historical ties to the Nazis, when he applied for US citizenship,” said the letter sent Monday. “The administration’s refusal to treat this matter with urgency is inexplicable and disturbing.”
The letter was signed by Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate; Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee; and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticit. Blumenthal and Cardin are Jewish.
The letter followed up on the same request the three senators sent the administration in March. It notes that it took until August 15 for the Department of Justice, one of the addressees, to reply and until May 8 for the Department of Homeland Security, the other addressee, to reply. In both cases, the agencies said only they would “take action if warranted.”
According to an article published in March by the Forward, Gorka allegedly is a member of Historical Vitézi Rend. The group is a namesake of Vitézi Rend, a defunct order of merit that had existed as a state entity for 20 years until 1944 under the rule of Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s Nazi-allied leader. Vitézi Rend was disbanded, outlawed and ceased to exist in the 1940s following the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany.
Gorka has denied being a fascist or anti-Semite. In a statement published in April by Tablet, Gorka was quoted as writing, “I have never been a member of the Vitézi Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitézi Rend.” The statement did not mention the Historical Vitézi Rend group.
In May, Gorka appeared before a largely Jewish audience to defend his pro-Israel bona fides and deny claims he is anti-Semitic.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York City, Gorka rebuffed attacks against him but did not deny being a member of Historical Vitezi Rend. “I have spent my life fighting against totalitarian ideologies,” Gorka said. “Nobody… has found one sentence that I have said in the past 46 years that is anti-Semitic or anti-Israel.”
Gorka said leaders of the White House’s so-called “nationalist” wing, including the since-ousted Bannon, are pro-Israel. He called Israel the United States’ closest ally. He said the leaders of attacks on the administration are proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, as well as supporters of the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Because we are pro-Israel, we must be attacked, whether it’s the president, whether it’s Steve Bannon, whether it is Steve Miller or myself, we are friends of Israel,” he said. The US alliance with Israel, he added, “is our closest relationship.”