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Zeroed In: Sebastian Gorka

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Photos by Mike Morones

Former Presidential Advisor Sebastian Gorka Talks Politics, the Media, and 7.62×39

When Sebastian Gorka went to work on January 21, 2017, things were looking good. He scored a great parking spot for his Mustang, stepped out into Washington, D.C.’s crisp morning air, straightened his tie, and relished the opportunity he’d been given as he strode toward the White House. His mandate came from the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and he held it as an unequivocal honor — to make America great again.

Gorka, the Trump administration’s deputy advisor on national security issues, knew his mission wouldn’t be a cakewalk. The White House and Capitol Hill were home to entrenched political forces, jealously guarding their own stations and interests.

“It was going to be a hostile takeover,” Gorka said, “and it was, but the Swampdwellers pushed back effectively.”

Seven months later, Gorka saw his own efforts to protect the United States from radical Islamic terrorism thwarted as the establishment rallied, like a body battling an infection, and expelled the outsiders.

For Gorka, a European-born counterterrorism expert, November 8 was like a scene from Red Dawn. The MAGA team was a scrappy bunch of insurgents who won despite overwhelming odds.

“A rank outsider that nobody took seriously,” said Gorka, “destroyed 16 establishment candidates and, against everybody’s expectations, beat a woman who’d spent at least $700 million for a position she thought was owed to her.”

But, by August, 2017, the elation dimmed as the tide turned against the MAGA Wolverines and their efforts to reform American politics. “A lot of good guys were fired from the National Security Council,” said Gorka, “Steve [Bannon] eventually decided to leave, and after the Afghan speech the President was given had no mention of radical Islamic terrorism, I decided the best way to support the president would be from the outside.

Originally, Gorka was hired by the Trump campaign team to advise the candidate on national security issues as he prepared for the fall 2015 Republican presidential debates. Ever since, Gorka’s colorful background and controversial policy recommendations have fueled political rancor and personal attacks.

His parents were freedom fighters in Soviet-era Hungary. Gorka says the regime gave his father a life sentence for his anti-Communist activities. He escaped prison after six years of captivity and, amid the final convulsions of the failed 1956 uprising, his is parents fled Communist Hungary. They crossed the minfields of the Eastern Bloc and settled in the U.K., where Gorka was born.

His dad imparted a love of freedom upon Gorka that only a political prisoner could share. Gorka’s fierce love of liberty, and the hatred of those who oppose it, fueled his career. He graduated London University, served as an interrogator in the U.K.’s Territorial Army, worked for five years in the Hungarian defense ministry helping with NATO accession, taught counterterrorism at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany for a few years, and moved to the U.S., where he naturalized and continued to teach national security at defense related institutions. He eventually started his own CT training and consulting firm before being contacted by Corey Lewandowski on behalf of Trump in 2015.

Politically fueled accusations abound about Gorka’s background, his loyalties, and his qualifications. It’s hard to see through all the partisan mudslinging, but we sat down with the controversial figure and got to know him as a man with an affinity for fine cigars and 7.62mm projectiles, and most importantly, a deep love of the Second Amendment.

What made you decide to immigrate to the U.S.?
SG: My American wife and I woke up one morning and realized America was the future. Europe has lost its way culturally and politically. And if you work in National Security, America — and D.C. — is the center of the universe.

Gorka served from 1990-1993 in the U.K.’s Territorial Army Intelligence Corps. Above, in basic training in Ashford, Kent during fall, 1990, and, left, in a foreign weapons familiarization course.

Gorka served from 1990-1993 in the U.K.’s Territorial Army Intelligence Corps. He’s shown above in 1990 with his class during basic training in Ashford, Kent.

Looking at your Wikipedia page, you might be thought of as a career student?
SG: Maybe. But when people call me an academic, or a professor, I bristle. In all my studies and teaching I have one question, “So what?” Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is useless. I want to know how that knowledge changes what we do, especially when it comes to prosecuting war and protecting the republic.

Gorka learning his way around some unusual kit while serving in the TA Intelligence Corps.

Gorka in a foreign weapons familiarization class while serving in the TA Intelligence Corps.

What do you do for fun?
SG: Once a month, I join my FFL for a night of full-auto shooting (Tommy guns, HK MP-5, HK-53, etc.). Rummage through the local comic book/used sci-fi bookstore. I grew up on Doctor Who, 2000AD, and Judge Dredd, and you never get that out of your bloodstream.

Ever regret getting into politics?
SG: Not at all. Serving as Strategist to President Trump was the highest honor, especially as I am a legal immigrant to this great nation. In fact, it wasn’t just an honor; once I was asked, it was a duty. The last few months have been a true odyssey, with the fake news industrial complex publishing literally hundreds of hit pieces not just on me, but attacking my wife, my dead mother, and even my teenage son. One reporter wrote 45 attack pieces alone! But with my family background, I was ready.

My father was betrayed as a Hungarian anti-Communist by Kim Philby, arrested, tortured by the secret police, and given a life sentence at the age of 20. He was liberated by freedom fighters in the 1956 Revolution and made it out to the West. So the verbal attacks of the media are just that: words.

What’s your dream job?
SG: After teaching thousands of Marines, FBI agents, and tier-one operators, and then being Deputy Assistant to the president? Maybe owning a rural log cabin store that sells tactical firearms and fine cigars.

Gorka’s father, Paul Gorka, with a FN FAL (G1) 7.62mm. He taught his son to shoot as soon as he was old enough to respect a gun.

Gorka’s father, Paul Gorka, with a FN FAL (G1) 7.62mm. He taught his son to shoot as soon as he was old enough to respect a gun.

What discipline do you enjoy shooting most?
SG: As a kid I loved long-range prone position rifle shooting at Bisley in the U.K. Once a month, my dad and I would make the trip and shoot 7.62 bolt actions with iron aperture sights at 1,000 yards. I loved the delay between the ignition and the bullet hitting the butts.

Ever shot a competition? How’d you do?
SG: Nowadays not so much. My shooting is recreational and training courses. Back in the day, though, I shot in my local club in West London. I held my own — more with pistol than rifle. Today, my favorite discipline is competing with my son with any firearm at the range. I think he’s got the edge now, as it should be.

About how many guns do you own, and how do you describe your collection?
SG: Many. And not enough. I’ll call it eclectic. Many, many modern handguns, but also the odd SW 1917, Webley 38, PPK, etc. Modern military rifles, more AKs than ARs, but my love is the FAL. I have a particular soft spot for snubbies in .44 and .41 magnum. And, .22 rifles — I love plinking all day with a .22. I never grew up.

Any favorites?
SG: Anything I salivated over as a kid in the ’80s as I thumbed through Combat Handguns magazine, and the late great British publication Handgunner … and which I can now actually afford. Number one: my Bren Ten with extra .45 slide. My SPAS-12. My Astra Terminator. My original .44 Auto Mag. And, my Pardini GT-45. It isn’t from the ’80s, but it’s sublime. Also, love my AKs from Krebs, especially my Krink.

At Beretta, USA, learning about the M9A3 pistol.

At Beretta, USA, learning about the M9A3 pistol.

What about silencers?
SG: My favorite shooting is walking off the porch of our summerhouse up north, surrounded by 300 acres of private forest, and going freestyle on steel plates. It’s a lot more fun without hearing protection. Also a much easier and social activity with cans when you have guests and are trying to teach them too.

With Eastern Bloc family ties, serving in the British Territorial Army, and now living in the U.S., you must have some perspective on the AK versus AR debate, as well as the European versus U.S. firearm design debate?
SG: No. For me it’s always about caliber. I have numerous AR-type rifles, but I still detest the .223. I mean, just take a round in your hand and look at it! It’s so small. For me, if I had to choose one rifle it would have to launch a .30 projectile. Also, the direct impingement system is so weird. I mean, releasing gases into the mechanism without a piston? Come on!

I’m a proud American now, and I love my U.S. wheelguns, but do like European aesthetics. Just put a Pardini GT45 in your hand, and tell me it isn’t an ergonomic and mechanical masterpiece.

Gorka is unenthusiastic about the AR-15 and its “puny” .223, but gets excited about the AR platform when they step up in caliber. Here he’s shooting the Nemo Arms Omen in .300 Win Mag.

Gorka is unenthusiastic about the AR-15 and its “puny” .223, but gets excited about the AR platform when they step up in caliber. Here he’s shooting the Nemo Arms Omen in .300 Win Mag.

Choose one: side folder, underfolder, or fixed? Explain your reasoning.
SG: Side! I cut my teeth in the Territorial Army on the FAL, and I think the Para-style (Galil) stock is the best. No question. And the only workable underfolder is the Sterling. I love the Sterling.

What’s the first gun you bought?
SG: The first gun my father bought for me in the U.K. was a beautiful target Anschutz .22 with all the paraphernalia. I think it was a Model 54. And the first full-bore gun my dad bought for us to shoot was a factory nickel-plated S&W Mod 39. I miss it.

Latest gun acquisition?
SG: Steyr GB. I’m reliving the ’80s! I had one that I regretted selling to a friend. It’s a real hog leg, but just iconic.

How does the Second Amendment contribute to National Security?
SG: That’s easy to answer. Just look at the Sudanese Church attack yesterday in Tennessee. A private citizen stopped that one fatality becoming a massacre. Imagine if just one of the state employees at the Christmas party in San Bernardino had been armed. Many of those killed by the husband and wife Jihadist team would likely be alive today.

My former colleague AWR Hawkins at does an amazing job of chronicling how private citizens save lives every day by practicing their Second Amendment rights.

Aside from issues of crime, is there a danger in taking guns away from Americans?
SG: Yes. The Second Amendment isn’t ultimately about stopping rapists or bank robbers. It’s about the people’s last line of defense against a strategic level threat. It’s not about hunting whitetails.

Sebastian Gorka, former advisor to Preisdent Trump, at his home in McLean, Va. on Sept. 27, 2017. (Mike Morones for RECOIL)

Is there a disconnect between the way rural and urban Americans view the Second Amendment? What shapes gun policy, rural or urban issues?
SG: Undoubtedly. In rural areas, a gun is most often correctly understood as a tool. To the majority of those living in urban areas today, a gun is an object mystically and irrationally endowed with evil intent.

Is national reciprocity a priority for the Administration?
SG: It’s early to say. But I know it is a priority for Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, which was the first national organization to endorse candidate Trump. Wayne has done incredible things for all Americans, and I was very happy to bump into him in the White House very early on after the Make America Great Again Team moved in.

What about getting rid of the NFA, and making silencers an over-the-counter commodity?
SG: Again, early days. However, if we look at how the president’s son, Don Jr., has tirelessly advocated for bringing reason and common sense back into this issue, I think we should all be optimistic. Just think how a scant five years ago suppressors were rarely discussed and even more unusual on the range. That has all changed.

Both Eric and Don keep a scrupulous firewall between themselves and their father. So they’re doing what they’re doing as private citizens. But we haven’t had somebody with that kind of name recognition embrace these issues in recent years.

Which are we more likely to see, national reciprocity or over-the-counter silencers? How long till we see one or both?
SG: Hmm, that’s a tough one. My gut tells me suppressors first then reciprocity.

What’s a typical day in the White House, and how much coffee do you drink?
SG: I don’t drink coffee. (At least not rubbish like Starbucks). I’m into Turkish coffee, with the grounds in it. But I regularly drink British tea. Typhoo. The Empire was built on it.

There’s no such thing as an average day in the White House, or standard work hours. My work rotated between classified NSC meetings on a current issue (ISIS, Qatar Crisis, China, etc.), meeting our foreign national security counterparts visiting the White House, doing media hits for the president (CNN, MSNBC, and BBC were the most fun — they always brought a knife to a gunfight), or being in the Oval to consult with the president on the most urgent issue, such as whether to recertify the Iran deal or not. It was a dream. I pinched myself every day.

Gorka on the campaign trail with then-candidate Trump in August, 2016 during an appearance on the Sean Hannity Show in Milwaukee.

Gorka on the campaign trail with then-candidate Trump in August, 2016 during an appearance on the Sean Hannity Show in Milwaukee.

Who’s the most interesting figure you met at the White House?
SG: There are too many to choose … You’d walk into the West Lobby and bump into Dr. Kissinger, for example, or a fascinating rabbi visiting from Israel with a group of high schoolers visiting the White House. But two stand out. Vice President Pence was a delight. I would see him almost every day. He would always stop to talk. And, not chitchat. Real stuff. He’s a true gentleman in the original sense. I look forward to eight years of President Pence after eight years of President Trump.

But, best of all were my interactions with the officers and agents of the U.S. Secret Service. They were always engaging and professional. [Leans in] Officer Mark! If you’re reading this, keep on truckin’!

Did the controversy around the president’s response to the Charlottesville violence have something to do with your departure?
SG: Zero. I was on vacation when that happened. My resignation was triggered by the speech the NSC wrote for the president on Afghanistan, which had no mention of the key phrase: “radical Islamic terrorism.” That’s when I knew I could do more for the Commander-in-Chief on the outside.

Depending on the news source, you resigned or were fired?
SG: Resigned. It’s all there in my letter to the president that you can read at The MAGA movement has simply moved outside the building, and we will continue to support the president against the swamp dwellers surrounding him and obstructing him on The Hill. It’s about the long game — eight years, not eight months.

What do you say to people who insist you were fired?
SG: I couldn’t care less about this fake news. I know exactly what I said to General [John] Kelly the day I resigned and what I wrote in my resignation letter to the president.

What do you have to say to those who attacked you and your credibility during and after your time in the White House?
SG: They start under a false assumption. I never craved, nor will I ever want, the recognition of the establishment. The establishment experts are the people who promoted dumb wars and saddled us with $20 trillion in debt. The only recognition I need is from the thousands of Special Forces, Special Operations, U.S. Marine Corps, and law enforcement operators I’ve had the honor of working with since moving to America. The swamp dwellers and talking heads are utterly irrelevant to me.

What about the accusation that you are an anti-Semite and a member of a Hungarian Neo-Nazi organization?
SG: My father, as a teenage boy, protected his fellow Jewish schoolmates from the German occupation forces on the way to school every day. I have always been a loyal friend to the country of Israel and the Jewish community in America. Why do people say this about me? When you can’t argue your side logically you race bait; they did it with the president, with Steve Bannon, and they did it with me. I’ve been alive for 47 years, and I’ve challenged these people to find one thing that’s racist or anti-Semitic — and they never could. What does that tell you?

What are you most proud of accomplishing as part of the administration?
SG: Keeping the Travel Moratorium alive despite all those who wish to endanger our nation in the name of “multiculturalism.” And, I know for Steve, getting us out of the insanity that was the Paris Climate Change Accord was a massive accomplishment.

Gorka first met with Donald Trump in July, 2015 in New York to coach the candidate on national security issues prior to the fall 2015 GOP presidential debate on foreign policy.

Gorka first met with Donald Trump in July, 2015 in New York to coach the candidate on national security issues prior to the fall 2015 GOP presidential debate on foreign policy.

Whom do you trust for news these days?
SG: The media has changed. Read Andrew Breitbart’s seminal book Righteous Indignation; we are all producers of copy today. If you have a mobile phone you’re a citizen journalist. The problem today is the fake news industrial complex. When CNN, MSNBC, Politico, Huffington Post, New York Times, and Washington Post are so politically demented that they actually stated on election night that Hillary Clinton had a 90- to 96-percent chance of winning, you know something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Too much of what we call mainstream today is all about a political agenda, sensationalism, and profits for corporate owners. Not too long ago media concerns lost money by design because they were performing a service. Now it’s your job to keep them straight, dear reader.

What about Russian interference in the U.S. election and the special counsel? Is this an important topic?
SG: Only for the Loony Left that’s been, ironically, in bed with Moscow since 1917. The Kremlin has been mucking around in democratic elections around the world since its inception. That’s not news. But the idea that the Trump campaign was in bed with Vlad is pure fantasy. It’s just yet another way for the losing candidate to ignore her own culpability for her abysmal performance.

What’s caused the erosion of trust in the media?
SG: Their transparently partisan behavior. When you accuse the president of being an anti-Semite when the man’s grandchildren are Orthodox Jews, the American people just switch off — and rightly so.

Where on the political spectrum do conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones reside?
SG: I love conspiracy theories as diverting entertainment. But there’s a reason they’re called conspiracies and not facts. Professional conspiracy theorists are a menace. Propagating dark theories about the world without actual proof kills the mind and can lead to very dangerous consequences. It’s not an accident that outrageous forgeries and smears such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are still printed and widely available in the Middle East, for example. Conspiracy theories are dangerous. Those who propagate them should be shunned.

How deep and dangerous is The Swamp? Can it be drained?
SG: Heard of the Mariana Trench? DC is deeper. With Trump as president and us on his side, though, it can be done.

As an immigrant, you must have strong feelings on President Trump’s plan to erect a wall along our southern border?
SG: Yes. It’s vital. Do you lock your doors at night? America is a home. We need to secure it, especially in the interests of our most vulnerable minority communities and recent legal immigrants, who suffer the greatest when illegal immigrants flood in and steal their jobs.

Why do we place so much more weight on national politics when local politics directly affect us? Is this a uniquely American thing?
SG: Wow, great question. I wish we didn’t. Read de Tocqueville. America’s true identity and strength comes from its local sense of community and local volunteerism. Why are we where we are today? The media.

Sebastian Gorka, former advisor to Preisdent Trump, at his home in McLean, Va. on Sept. 27, 2017. (Mike Morones for RECOIL)

Sebastian Gorka, former advisor to President Trump, at his home on Sept. 27, 2017. (Mike Morones for RECOIL)

Gorka's Career Highlights
> Regular instructor for the J. F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, USASOC, Fort Bragg
> Former Strategist and Deputy Assistant to President Donald J. Trump
> Former Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory, Marine Corps University, Quantico
> Former Associate Dean for Congressional Affairs and Relations to the Special Operations Community, National Defense University, Fort McNair
> Expert for the U.S. Department of Justice on the Boston Bombing Trial
> Currently, Chief Strategist, Make America Great Again (

Sebastian Gorka
Born: 1970, London
Citizenship: USA
Family: Happily married with a grown son and daughter
Pets: Belgian Tervuren Shepherd named Killian
Dogs or Cats: I like all dogs. Only some cats.
Teacher Comments on your 5th Grade Report Card: Could try harder. “Skates.”
Last Read: The Hundred-Year Marathon by Michael Pillsbury
Favorite Film:Blade Runner
Favorite TV Show: Longmire
Favorite Restaurant: La Diplomat in D.C.
Favorite Firearm: Short-barreled Krebbs Customs AK chambered in 7.62×39
Favorite AK Magazine: Original Bulgarian “10-ring” or US Palm AK30
Dream Car: Aston Martin V-8 Vantage Volante
Favorite Cheeseburger: Cheeseburgers from the Navy Mess, under the West Wing

Sebastian Gorka’s Everyday Carry


Pistol: Glock 29, customized by Robar Guns with a SharkTac trigger guard cover, or;
Pistol: Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm full-size with RDS and compact frame customized by Robar Guns carried in a holster by DH Custom Leather
Flashlight: Surefire 6P and a thin penlight (for polite work)
Fire: Commemorative MFO Zippo lighter bought while visiting the Sinai in 1991 and retrofitted with a jet insert to light cigars
Medical: C-A-T Tourniquet. “I can deploy it with one hand.”
Blade: CRKT Hissatsu
Power: USB battery charger for mobile phone
Reference: “I never go anywhere without my copy of the Constitution, the owner’s manual to the greatest nation on God’s earth.”

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