The White House on Tuesday announced President Trump’s intention to appoint former aide Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term as a member of the National Security Education Board — the latest in a string of controversial appointments to lower-tier positions.
Gorka previously served during the first seven months of the Trump administration as a deputy assistant and strategist focused on foreign policy and national security.
Start a Homeland Security degree at American Military University.
Gorka’s appointment drew widespread scrutiny at the time, with colleagues labeling him a fringe figure in academic circles who “does not have much of a reputation in serious academic or policymaking circles,” with others questioning the authenticity of his PhD.
Gorka reportedly failed to obtain the necessary security clearance for his role and left the White House in August 2017.
White House officials claimed Gorka was ousted from the administration by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly — allegedly due in part to Gorka’s criticism of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his overall dismissal of order and authority — though Gorka asserted he left of his own accord.
Gorka had been rumored in June to be under consideration to head up Voice of America, a government broadcasting agency, amid a staff reshuffle.
The National Security Education Board, created in 1991, consists of several cabinet members as well as six individuals appointed by the president “who shall be experts in the fields of international, language, area, and counterproliferation studies education and who may not be officers or employees of the Federal Government.” The board’s purpose is to oversee scholarships, fellowships, grants and study abroad programs pertaining to national security, foreign policy and foreign languages.
Gorka came under fire in 2017 after a Hungarian group with historical links to Nazi Germany, Vitezi Rend, claimed Gorka as one of their own said they were “proud” that Gorka wore one of their medals to the president’s inaugural ball. Gorka has denied any ties to the group.
“A white nationalist like Gorka would have no place in any decent presidential administration,” tweeted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), echoing a view held by many on the left. “For Trump racism and fascism are a feature, not a bug.”