by Eli Clifton
Last week’s promotion of ret. Gen. John Kelly to White House chief-of-staff appears to have empowered Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, to purge the NSC’s ranks of anti-Muslim ideologues and Iran hawks. McMaster has fired three staffers, Eza Cohen-Watnick, Derek Harvey, and Rich Higgins. But at least one member of Steve Bannon’s alt-right team in the West Wing, Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka, continues to make factually flawed statements about Islamist terrorism and denigrating comments about the news media.
Gorka has an ugly track record of supporting troubling groups, such as an anti-Semitic militia in Hungary,. Then there’s his own public association with the Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian nationalist organization with a history of anti-Semitism and collaborating with the Nazis during World War II. (LobeLog first reported on Gorka’s unusual decision to wear the group’s coat of arms at Trump’s inaugural ball.)
On Wednesday, Breitbart interviewed Gorka, where he previously worked as national security editor. Gorka launched an attack on multiculturalism and journalists who call attention to the threat of white supremacist domestic terrorism. It was language similar to White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller’s denunciation last week of CNN’s Jim Acosta for holding a “cosmopolitan bias” (an insult with roots in Soviet and Nazi anti-Semitism). Gorka said:
I think it’s a worldview problem. Multicultural postmodernism denies the existence of evil and if you deny the existence of evil you’ll say, “Yes, let’s have another conference in Vienna or Geneva and sit down with the Mullahs or sit down with the rabid Stalinists and see what agreement we could come to.” No. Wrong. These regimes are evil and the must be dealt with as such.”
Gorka’s reference to “multicultural postmodernism” appears to closely mirror the language employed by former NSC staffer Rich Higgins in his controversial memo claiming that globalists, Islamists, the “deep state,” and bankers were seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency. The memo ultimately led to Higgins’s dismissal.
Gorka later went on to attack The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, saying:
Look at Maggie Haberman and her acolytes in the Fake News media who immediately have a conniption fit and say, ‘What about Oklahoma City?” What about Oklahoma City? A) that individual is not a jihadi. My comments were about jihadism post-September 11. Second, Timothy McVeigh had an accomplice. Second, by the way, this the one I love, that event was twenty-two years ago. Can you talk to me about the last sixteen years of hundreds of thousands of people killed in the Middle East by jihadis? It’s this constant: “Oh, it’s the white man. It’s the white supremacists. That’s the problem.’” No it isn’t, Maggie Haberman. Go to Sinjar. Go to the Middle East and tell me what the real problem is today. Go to Manchester.”
Listen (start at 8:00):
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In fact, right-wing extremist terrorists have committed and attempted nearly twice the number of domestic attacks than Islamist terrorists in recent years.
Data compiled by The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute (full disclosure: I am currently a fellow at The Nation Institute and have been reporting fellow at The Investigative Fund in the past) found 63 cases of Islamist domestic terrorism from January 2008 to the end of 2016. Seventy-six percent of those were foiled plots where the attack did not take place.
In that same period, right wing extremists attempted 115 attacks, 35% of which were foiled plots.
In other words, right wing extremists (a category that includes the white supremacists who, Gorka says, are targeted unfairly by the news media) were responsible for nearly twice as many incidents as Islamists and were less likely to be stopped by law enforcement.
Gorka’s latest interview shows that while McMaster, perhaps empowered by Kelly’s new role as chief of staff, has made some progress in purging the NSC of the alt-right allies of Bannon and former national security adviser Michael J. Flynn, Gorka continues to promote the idea of an apocalyptic clash of civilizations playing out between Muslims and the Western world, even when the facts don’t support the narrative.
Photo: Sebastian Gorka (courtesy 7th Army Training Command via Flickr)