Sebastian Gorka walked off the stage during a panel discussion at Georgetown University after being questioned by students over his alleged links to a nationalist group in Hungary with wartime links to the Nazis.
The Deputy Assistant to the White House has been forced to deny that he is an anti-Semite after he was spotted wearing a medal of the Vitezi Rend (Order of Vitezi), during the Presidential inauguration. The Vitezi Rend was formed in the 1920s by Admiral Horthy, Hungary's wartime leader who allied the country to the Nazis and helped Hitler's regime deport Jews to concentration camps. The Order was reconstituted in various forms after the Second World War came to an end.
Dr Gorka,who has worn the medal in public on several different occasions, has argued that he does so as a way of honouring his late father, to who it was awarded.
His father was reportedly given the medal in 1979 while living in exile, in recognition of his resistance to the Soviet occupation of Hungary after the war.
Dr Gorka stormed out of the event after receiving a grilling from protesters standing at the back of the lecture hall and holding up signs such as one saying “Gorka’s Gotta Go”.
After receiving several questions about his links to Vitezi Rend and about allegations of anti-Muslim rhetoric on Breitbart, where he previously worked as an editor, he told the students they were “victims of fake news”, Bloomberg reported.
He said his experience of the media in the White House had been “a superb case study of fake news”.
He denied that he or any member of the White House team was an anti-Semite and argued that the Trump administration was one of the “most pro-Israeli administrations in US history”.
Dr Gorka, who once advised Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, then said he was leaving the stage to allow his colleagues to “actually get questions about the issues on the table”.
The former security analyst, who was born in London during his parents’ exile and is a former British Army reservist, was accused of hiding his links to the Vitezi Rend when he applied to become a naturalised American citizen in 2007.
The group is on a list of organisations which are regarded by the State Department as having historically been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany”, which makes any member ineligible for US citizenship.
Last month, three Democrat Senators asked the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department to look into claims by The Tablet newspaper that Dr Gorka himself was a formal member of the Vitezi Rend.
Dr Gorka, who is married to American heiress Katherine Fairfax Cornell, has denied allegations about his connections to the group.
The modern-day Vitezi Rend says it denounces facism and anti-Semitism.