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Sebastian Gorka Out At White House

In addition to announcing the pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the White House also announced last night that controversial White House appointee Sebastian Gorka was fired in what appears to be another move by new Chief of Staff John Kelly to clean house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Sebastian Gorka, an outspoken adviser to President Trump and lightning rod for controversy, has been forced out of his position at the White House, two administration officials said on Friday.

One of the officials said that the president’s chief of staff, John F. Kelly, had telegraphed his lack of interest in keeping Mr. Gorka during internal discussions over the last week.

Mr. Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, had been on vacation for at least the last two weeks, that official said.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about personnel issues.

The Federalist, a conservative website, published portions of what it called a resignation letter written by Mr. Gorka. It quoted him as saying that given which “forces” were on the rise in the White House, the best way for him to support the president was from outside it.

His departure is the latest in a string of them since Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general, took over as the White House chief of staff last month. Mr. Gorka criticized Rex W. Tillerson, the secretary of state, in a public show of disrespect that chafed Mr. Kelly’s sense of order, according to one senior administration official.

Mr. Gorka also said that in fighting terrorism, white supremacists should not be a concern. He made the remarks shortly before the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va., in which a man who was said to admire Adolf Hitler rammed his car into counterprotesters and left a woman dead.

Efforts to reach Mr. Gorka on Friday night were not immediately successful.

Mr. Gorka, who described himself as a national security adviser to the president but who existed outside the National Security Council and had no clear duties, was a divisive figure while in the White House. He memorably declared that “the alpha males are back” as an assertion of the distance between the Obama administration and the current one.

He has also been a vocal defender of the Trump administration’s efforts to temporarily ban travel from some predominantly Muslim countries; he has said violence is a fundamental part of Islam and emanates from the language of the Quran. His hard-line views on Islam have prompted his critics to accuse him of Islamophobia.

Mr. Gorka, 46, has also been accused of having links to far-right groups in Europe. He is a former editor at Breitbart News, a right-wing website, and a friend of Stephen K. Bannon. Mr. Bannon, who was until last week Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, has since returned to Breitbart News as executive chairman.

An American citizen who was born in Britain to Hungarian parents, Mr. Gorka made a habit of assailing the news media for its coverage of Mr. Trump, insisting that reports of turmoil in the White House had “almost no resemblance to reality.”

Gorka was, as noted, a frequent spokesperson for Trump on television and, obviously, and outspoken supporter of the President. At the same time, he was also a particular source of controversy due to his previously stated positions on a whole host of issues and his ties to former Presidential adviser Steve Bannon. According to many reports, he was dismissed after the President had left for Camp David yesterday and denied a request to personally present his resignation to the President on Monday, which clearly indicates that he was fired rather than resigning. In retrospect, of course, it’s clear that his fate was set when Bannon was pushed out last week. What that means for the future of the Trump Administration, and especially its relationship with the alt-right, remains to be seen.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I wonder if he’ll go back to Breitbart. Gorka was Breitbart’s “national security expert” before going to the White House.

    Trump, according to Axios, apparently had no idea what Gorka did while working in the WH, but he loved the fact that Gorka vociferously defended him on television.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. In retrospect, of course, it’s clear that his fate was set when Bannon was pushed out last week.

    Man, that was just last week, wasn’t it? Time just isn’t flowing in its normal parameters with this admin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that it is never clear whether someone was fired or they resigned from the Trump Whitehouse? Gorka says he resigned and then says he was fired. “Sources say he was fired. Officially he “left” which usually implies voluntarily leaving but I guess is technically non specific. And it’s not just him. It seems to be the Trump norm dating back to the campaign.

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  4. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Trump’s ego won’t allow people to resign; he has to fire them. Or claim he fired them, even if they leave of their own volition.

    In this case, however, Kelly appears to have levered Gorka out, and Gorka responded with an angry letter of resignation. I suspect Ivanka and Jared had something to do with Gorka’s ejection as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What that means for the future of the Trump Administration, and especially its relationship with the alt-right,

    After that Phoenix rally I’m pretty sure the alt-right would let trump take a dump right on their heads and say it smelled great.

    @CSK:

    Trump’s ego won’t allow people to resign; he has to fire them. Or claim he fired them,

    He’s too gutless to do his own firing. He has others do it for him after he’s snuck out the back door.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    True, but the end result is the same, in the sense of not permitting anyone to resign. Interestingly, the Trump campaign, in a statement, claimed that Trump himself had fired Roger Stone back in 2016. So Trump took the credit when someone else did the canning, I assume.

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  7. CET says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Time just isn’t flowing in its normal parameters with this admin.

    Yep. Fortunately, there’s a totally rational explanation behind that: The gravitational time dilation that we are all experiencing as we get sucked into the black hole that is Trump’s America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. CSK says:

    I was right. Gorka is “in negotiations” to return to Breitbart.

    It will be interesting to see how Trump responds when Breitbart initiates total war against Kelly, McMaster, Ivanka, and Jared.

    Or perhaps Kelly will keep the news from Trump.

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