White House official Gorka walks out of 'fake news' event

White House official Gorka walks out of 'fake news' event
© Greg Nash

White House national security staffer Sebastian Gorka faced off with student critics he described as “victims of fake news” at a Georgetown University panel on Monday, eventually walking out of the event in the middle of the question-and-answer period.

Gorka, a deputy assistant to President Trump, blamed “fake news”  — the topic of the panel — for a series of stories alleging connections between him and far-right or anti-Semitic Hungarian political organizations.

The panel was meant to be part of a cybersecurity conference at the university. But the exchange between Gorka and students in attendance soon came to dominate the event.

Gorka, a terrorism adviser and former Breitbart News national security editor, gave a fiery introductory statement refuting allegations that he is anti-Semitic

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The protestors remained quiet throughout the panel, holding signs with slogans such as “Gorka’s Gotta Go” and “Hate has no place here.” In the question-and-answer period, though, Gorka’s critics made up the bulk of the questions.

“I’m sorry for you,” Gorka said to a dozen or so protesters at the back corner of the room.  

“You are the victims of fake news.”  

Conference attendees shouted down some protesters and applauded Gorka’s opening statement. A few in the audience gave him a standing ovation. 

Throughout the panel, Gorka compared his own experience in the administration to put down media reports about White House in-fighting. 

“Palace intrigue sells papers and is click-bait,“ said Gorka, adding that media outlets are usually wrong about what happens inside private White House meetings. 

Gorka eventually left the panel, saying that he wanted other panelists to get questions. After Gorka left, however, his opponents in the audience continued to pose questions meant for him.

In a cybersecurity context, “fake news” is generally used to refer to deliberately inaccurate stories propagated throughout social media platforms by automated computer programs.

The phenomenon became newly relevant in the 2016 presidential election, when inaccurate stories about the presidential candidates, especially Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection What the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Steve Bullock puts Citizens United decision at center of presidential push MORE, spread on social media.