National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Sebastian Gorka, the controversial White House counterterrorism adviser, is not on the National Security Council — raising further questions about what, exactly, Gorka does for President Trump.
When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd what Gorka’s National Security Council role entails, McMaster replied that Gorka is “not in the National Security Council.”
(Gorka’s title of deputy assistant to the president does not automatically entitle him to sit in on National Security Council meetings. But President Trump could, if he wished, give Gorka a promotion, or could restructure the council so that Gorka could attend anyway — as the president briefly did for White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon).
McMaster was then asked if Gorka’s frequent pronouncements on national media should be taken as official White House policy. The general responded by claiming that he had “not seen anything he’s said lately.” But when told about Gorka’s recent assertion on BBC Radio that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should not be involving himself in the recent tensions with North Korea, McMaster pushed back by saying that Tillerson is “a tremendously talented leader and diplomat.”
Gorka, whose long-standing ties to far-right, Nazi-allied Hungarian groups were first exposed by the Forward, was the recent subject of a Rolling Stone profile in which one former White House official claimed that Gorka’s “only job appears to be to go on talk radio or Fox News to defend the indefensible.”
In the NBC interview, McMaster also refused repeatedly to say whether he could work positively with Bannon. The former Breitbart proprietor is seen as an ally of Gorka, who frequently wrote for the website.
Update, 7:40 p.m.: This post has been updated to more accurately explain the composition of the National Security Council.