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Friday, July 20, 2018

Reprinted with permission from LobeLog.
by Eli Clifton

Sebastian Gorka’s role as a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump ended in August 2017. A series of investigative articles tied him to Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian group the State Department characterized as collaborating with the Nazis. He’d also endorsed a racist and anti-Semitic militia in Hungary in a 2007 television interview.

A favorite of Beltway institutions like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Heritage Foundation before he joined the Trump campaign, Gorka became the president’s attack dog on cable news interviews. He eventually departed the White House under questionable circumstances: he says he resigned, other sources say he was fired.

Now he has drifted to the fringes of the alt-right with his new job as a contributor at The Rebel, an online Canadian publication with a long history of anti-Semitism, extremism, and Islamophobia.

“’Fasten your seatbelts…’ NEW Rebel contributor Dr. Sebastian Gorka untangles the latest Trump/Russia reports,” said the headline above Gorka’s first video blog for The Rebel, posted last Friday. In his contribution, Gorka downplays the reports of Russian interference in the U.S. election—“Russia mucking around in other people’s democratic elections isn’t a new phenomenon”—and focused on the alleged anti-Donald Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department.

Joining The Rebel brings Gorka into contact with political figures on the extreme right of the conservative political movement.

In August, The Rebel’s co-founder Brian Lilley quit his job at the publication after Rebelcorrespondent Faith Goldy’s coverage of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville included criticism of the police for shutting down the rally and not cracking down on the counter-protest. Goldy was fired after appearing on a podcast associated with the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer, in which she praised white supremacist Richard Spencer’s manifesto as “robust” and “well thought-out.”

Lilley announced his departure from The Rebel, saying:

What anyone from The Rebel was doing at a so-called “unite the right” rally that was really an anti-Semitic white power rally is beyond me. Especially not a rally dedicated to keeping up a statue of Robert E. Lee, a man that whatever else he stood for, also fought on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of America’s bloodiest conflict.

In March 2017, Rebel contributor Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization, appeared in a video defending Holocaust deniers and repeating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He also produced a satirical video for The Rebel titled “Ten Things I Hate About Jews,” later retitled as “Ten Things I Hate About Israel.”

McInness left The Rebel in August 2017, but Rebel editor Ezra Levant made clear that they would have liked to keep him on in his role at the site. Levant issued a statement to the website CANADALAND. CANADALAND reported:

“Gavin’s a great friend and a great talent,” founder Ezra Levant told us in an email. “We tried to keep him, but he was lured away by a major competitor that we just couldn’t outbid.”

In October 2017, the website featured a sympathetic interview with Milo Yiannopoulos shortly after leaked emails, acquired and published by BuzzFeed, showed the Breitbart editor collaborating with white nationalist leaders to publish “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right” on Breitbart.

Gorka, who previously worked at Breitbart alongside Steve Bannon and Yiannopoulos, clearly knows the terrain of the alt-right and the white nationalist editorial line promoted by Breitbart. But while Breitbart often falls back on dog-whistle smears of Jews and Muslims, The Rebel has an established history of tolerating, and possibly encouraging, explicit bigotry.

Controversy around anti-Semitism and race is not entirely new for Gorka. Last year, he called criticism of the White House’s omission of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in a Holocaust Remembrance Day statement “asinine,” but regularly denied holding anti-Semitic views. Following his departure from the White House, Gorka lashed out in a radio interview at “liberal” Jews for “doing so much to betray our great friendship with Jerusalem.”.

And in October, he participated in a roundtable discussion on U.S. gun violence, declaring that the problem is primarily “black Africans” shooting each other.

Without the constraints of his White House job, a job with responsibilities that were never completely clear, Gorka is now free to publicly associate with publications and contributors who openly embrace anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism and intolerance.

 

Eli Clifton is a fellow at The Nation Institute and a contributing editor at LobeLog.