With Quartz, I wrote about the ongoing saga, and unrepentant nationalism, of Sebastian Gorka:
Before his US career, Gorka honed his political attitudes in Europe. Born in the UK to Hungarian parents, Gorka worked his way into post-communist politics in Budapest. Hungarian media have described him as an adviser to prime minister Viktor Orbán—one of Europe’s foremost illiberal heads of state—but the relationship between the two eventually cooled, with Gorka subsequently tacking toward former members of Hungary’s hard-right Jobbik party. Along the way Gorka picked up a PhD, putting together a doctoral dissertation on “radical Islam” that, as recent American academics have discovered, is as far-fetched as it is farcical.
Over the past few years, Gorka—who also refers to himself, in all seriousness, as an “alpha male”—has fully embraced the Bannonite nationalism that also caught Trump’s eye. For example, Gorka recently Tweeted that the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is, somehow, “key to Victory against Global Jihadism.” (Gorka doesn’t speak Arabic, and has never lived in a Muslim-majority country.) Unsurprisingly, Gorka signed on with Breitbart as a national security editor, a position he only left to join the Trump administration.
As he made a name for himself commenting on violent extremism—read: Islamism—Gorka also accumulated a wide range of critics. It’s not every day that a New York Times headline describes someone as an “Islamophobic Huckster.” Many of Gorka’s critics were especially critical of his recent proposal to partition Libya into three distinct chunks—an idea he pushed via napkin.