EU commissioner defends Trump aide against 'false' attacks
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Sebastian Gorka, a man who has spent his life battling fascists and anti-Semites of all sorts and is serving in the administration of American President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents A history lesson on the Confederacy for President Trump GOP senator: Trump hasn't 'changed much' since campaign MORE, is being subjected to heinous attacks accusing him of fascist and anti-Semitic sympathies by opponents of Trump.

Politics can be a metaphorical “knife fight” at times, with the stakes often being very high. Nevertheless, when a man’s reputation is attacked purely for political gain in ways that pervert the broader historic record, then it is in all our interests to cry “Foul!” Otherwise the quality of our democracy will suffer in ways that hurt all of us.

This is why I am compelled to respond to the false accusations against Sebastian Gorka.

I first met Mr. Gorka shortly after Central Europe had liberated itself from under the yolk of 40 years of dictatorship. Raised in the West to parents who had escaped dictatorship in the glorious days of the Revolution of 1956, he had decided to move to post-communist Hungary to help politically rebuild the nation and re-anchor the country to the Western community of nations.

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After serving in the Conservative government of the late Prime Minister József Antall, he made a name for himself as a nationally recognized expert on national security and counterterrorism. And I was proud to count as my friend a man who needn't have come to Budapest to help his fellow Hungarians but who could have stayed comfortably back in the United Kingdom where he had been raised.

 

After the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, gave Sebastian even greater prominence as one of the few people who could explain what 9/11 meant not only to America but her European allies, he once again stepped forward to help Hungary when the “D-209 scandal” broke a few months later.

After the elections in 2002, it was revealed that the new Socialist prime minister, Péter Medgyessy, had in fact been an officer for the Secret Police. When asked to become a public expert on the parliamentary committee empaneled to investigate the sitting prime minister, a move which I know cost him personally in many ways, he did not refuse.

In fact, he took a very public role, repeatedly expressing his conviction that whether it be former Nazis in Germany after the war or former communists in Central Europe after 1990, the future of democracy depended upon “lustration,” and on a truthful accounting with the past.

That is why the recent media attacks accusing Mr. Gorka of anti-Semitism and ties to fascist groups are all the more disgusting.

Today, as a proud naturalized American citizen, Sebastian Gorka is a deputy assistant to President Trump, a position he is ideally suited to. I have watched with admiration as he found a new home and rose so rapidly to the highest of policy positions, again no doubt thanks largely to his outspoken stance on the values that bind lovers of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

I know, whether he was uncovering the shameful truth of the communist background of politicians who had tried to re-invent themselves as enlightened “socialists” or pushing back against the hateful and irredentist messages of new parties such as Hungary’s Jobbik, he did so not for any personal gain but because he believed in the classic liberal ideals of the West.

Many call politics a blood sport, and in many nations, at the highest levels it is. But when a man with the unimpeachable credentials and life story of Sebastian Gorka is falsely accused and associated with the ideas he has spent a lifetime fighting against, then we all pay a price and democracy is sullied for all of us.

Tibor Navracsics is the European Union commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.


The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.