Despite rumors that alt-right, anti-Muslim, anti-terrorist expert Sebastian Gorka – who has acknowledged ties to a neo-Nazi group in Hungary – will soon be forced out, he is still on the job.
Instead, only days after President Trump said in Saudi Arabia that he wants close ties to Muslims, if they are not “terrorists,” his Department of Homeland Security has hired Gorka’s wife Katherine, who is an even more zealous anti-Muslim bigot than her husband, as a full time permanent advisor in the department’s policy office.
Politico has called them “a Trump administration power couple” for their influential role in shaping American policy, especially in the Middle East and on the war on terrorism.
Katerine Gorka is her husband’s business partner and co-author of most of his speeches and books. In an interview with Politico, Gorka said he and his wife write together all the time. “She’s my wife and she’s my closest collaborator,” he said.
When Obama was president, Katherine blasted the administration and Homeland Security for teaching federal employees that Islam is a religion of peace. “Not only is the war against the Islamist threat not being won,” she said at the time, “it is not even being fought.”
In a 2014 column for Breitbart, where he husband was a national security editor, Katherine defended five Republican members of Congress who claimed in 2012, without evidence, that Muslim extremist had infiltrated the federal government and that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which she labeled a terrorist organization. That was all denounced afterward, even by most Republicans.
Gorka is currently a deputy assistant to the president, reporting to Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, his former colleague at the ultra-conservative Breitbart News. Gorka is a member of Bannon’s Strategic Initiatives Group, Bannon’s in-house “think tank.”
Gorka was consulted before Trump issued his executive order to ban travel to the U.S. from seven primarily Muslim countries. Gorka still defends it as a legal policy even though it has been blocked in the federal courts.
Katherine has been employed at Homeland Security since Trump was inaugurated. She was one of the president’s “landing team” members.
Until recently, she was a temporary employee who was hired by the administration to help reorganize the department. There were similar temporary employees at most agencies who were also said to be eyes and ears at the agencies for the president.
Some of those employees have been let go while others, like Katherine, have been given permanent positions in the agency. According to The Intercept, her pay grade is $8,600 a month.
One of the things Katherine was said to be active in was a shift in U.S. anti-terrorism policy away from tracking white supremacists and domestic terrorism, to a nearly complete focus on the Islamic terrorist threat, and the war on ISIS.
That has been great news for American racists, violent rednecks and white supremacists, who historically have been the cause of a lot more terrorist incidents in the U.S. than any Muslims.
She and her husband have strongly advocated using the term, “radical Islamic terrorism,” which Trump last week claimed he would no longer use.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations last November described the Gorka’s as “Islamophobic.”
Gorka has been under pressure from critics who charge that his ties to a far-right group in Hungary, Vitézi Rend, that has links to Nazis. The U.S. State Department has said the group was under the control of the Nazi’s during World War II.
Gorka has claimed he never actually swore allegiance to the group and has played down his ties although there have been media reports to the contrary.
He has also been unwilling to discuss his role in 2007 with a related group in Hungary which has been described as a right-wing paramilitary militia led by anti-Semites. The group was later banned in Hungary by the courts for promoting a “racist” legal order.
Gorka has also been linked in the past to Jobbik, another political party in Hungary that is considered anti-Semitic, and wrote at one time for an anti-Semitic newspaper.
Gorka’s claims about his biography and experience in anti-terrorism have both been challenged repeatedly, and he has been accused of exaggerating his experience.
One thing that is certain is that he has been working with Trump since he began his serious run for the White House around 2015, and wrote a number of position papers that Trump incorporated into his agenda.
Like so much that has to do with Trump, the Gorka’s are shadowy figures who seem to have seized an enormous amount of power and wielded considerable influence while remaining off the radar to most people.
Now that Katherine has a major position in Homeland Security, which is still understaffed because Trump has not made many of the slotted appointments, their power continues to grow.
Whether Trump’s recent trip and promises to be more moderate in his views of Islam will mean anything is doubtful, but if the Gorka’s are involved, you can bet that the war on Islam and terrorism is far from over.