The fate of Donald Trump’s pugnacious, controversial aide Sebastian Gorka is up in the air again after his top ally inside the White House, Steven Bannon, was shown the door, multiple White House officials tell The Daily Beast.
Early Friday afternoon, news broke that Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist, was leaving the administration before the week was out. With Bannon out and planning his next moves, that leaves Gorka without an immediate boss.
Gorka, whose official title is deputy assistant to the president but whose job responsibilities appear to be making Trump happy with his TV hits, had reported directly to Bannon. Bannon had also been his boss when the two worked at the conservative website, Breitbart.
Gorka is currently on vacation and wouldn’t comment on this story. But several of his West Wing colleagues have said that Trump’s newly installed chief of staff, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, was deeply “displeased” by some of Gorka’s recent TV performances, according to one senior official who has discussed this with Kelly.
Kelly had recently undertaken an internal review of West Wing staffers’ responsibilities and portfolios. And another White House adviser said that the chief of staff “doesn’t know what [Gorka] does except go on TV sometimes.” For these reason, Gorka’s long-term future with the White House is “extremely uncertain,” this source continued.
This isn’t the first time Gorka’s White House job has been on the line.
In the past, he has attracted controversy for, among other things, his involvement with a far-right Hungarian group notorious for its collaboration with the Nazi regime during World War II. Earlier this month, Gorka went on MSNBC and said that a recent Minnesota mosque attack could be an example of “fake hate crimes” and a false-flag incident (an appearance that White House sources say drew Kelly’s ire). And this past April, as The Daily Beast first reported, Gorka’s time in the White House nearly came to an end before Bannon and then Trump both “personally intervened,” according to senior administration sources.
Now, as back then, Gorka’s saving grace could be that Trump enjoys seeing him on TV sparring with and sticking it to cable-news hosts.
Still, officials in the Trump administration who have long disliked hard-right, less conventionally conservative aides such as Bannon and Gorka, are seeing Friday as a chance to “clear house,” as one West Wing official told The Daily Beast.
Asked early Friday afternoon about Gorka’s future, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that she did not have “any update on that front.”