Nazi-friendly group reportedly claims Trump's top terrorism adviser swore allegiance to them

President Trump's top counterterrorism adviser may have pledged to a Nazi group.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Update 2:42 p.m.: Gorka responded to Forward's report with a statement to Tablet: "I have never been a member of the Vitézi Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitézi Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father's medal and used the 'v.' initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism."

Sebastian Gorka is President Trump's top terrorism adviser, but before coming to the United States from Hungary he allegedly took an oath of loyalty to an elite group that the State Department lists as having been "under the direction of the Nazi government of Germany," leaders of the order told the Forward.

The order, known as Vitézi Rend, collaborated with Hitler during World War II and deported thousands of Jews to the Nazis. While it is no longer known to commit violence, "this is a group that advocates racialist nativism," retired immigration judge Bruce Einhorn said. If Gorka actually did take an oath to the group, he would have been required to disclose it on his U.S. immigration application; he became a naturalized citizen in 2012, but members of Vitézi Rend are "'presumed to be inadmissible' to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act," the Forward writes.

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Suspicions about Gorka arose after Trump's inauguration, where he apparently wore a Vitézi Rend medal on his lapel; Gorka said it was his father's, and was intended to honor his legacy. Vitézi Rend leader Kornél Pintér claims Gorka took the oath to the organization, having been introduced by his father. Gyula Soltész, another high-ranking member, confirmed Gorka's allegiance to the group.

Gorka himself has used the name "Sebastian L. v. Gorka" in academic papers and even when testifying before the House Armed Services Committee. Vitézi Rend members identify themselves with the "v" initial only after having taken the oath.

Gorka has not responded to media requests for comment. "Gorka is part of an administration issuing travel bans against countries and people as a whole,” said Einhorn. "For someone who is part of this effort to not answer your question [about his membership] and yet support what's going on in the West Wing where he works is the height of hypocrisy."

Additionally, experts on terrorism have raised questions about Gorka's credentials for being Trump's adviser on the topic. "His doctoral dissertation has been dissected by various academics who say he is not an expert in their field, has never lived in a Muslim-majority country, does not speak Arabic, and has avoided publishing any serious, peer-reviewed academic research," the Forward writes. "Gorka's doctoral superviser in Hungary, András Lánczi, is an expert on political philosophy and Hungarian politics, but has never worked on terrorism, counter-terror, or Islam-related research." Read the entire report at the Forward.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.