A group with alleged historical links to Nazi Germany has told NBC News it was “proud” when President Donald Trump’s deputy assistant wore its medal.
Controversy has swirled around Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s top counter-terrorism advisers, ever since he attended the president’s Jan. 20 Inaugural Ball wearing the honorary medal of Hungarian nationalist organization Vitezi Rend.
NBC News traveled to Hungary to dig deeper into Gorka’s ties with the group, speaking with members of the organization as well as with locals who knew him when he lived there. “When he appeared on U.S. television … with the medal of the Vitez Order … it made me really proud,” Vitezi Rend spokesman Andras Horvath said in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Vitezi Rend is also known as the Order of Vitez. Three people, including one of Gorka’s former political allies, said he was a well-known member of Vitezi Rend back in Hungary, a charge he strongly denies.
Gorka’s decision to wear the medal — which he said was awarded to his Hungarian-born father — has provoked outrage among Jewish groups. While in Budapest, NBC News also spoke with Andras Heisler, the Hungarian vice-president of the New York-based World Jewish Congress, who said that wearing the medal “isn’t a good message for a democratic society.”