President Donald Trump and his far-right chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, "personally intervened" to save White House aide Sebastian Gorka's job after Gorka was tied to extremist groups including an anti-Semitic militia in Hungary, the Daily Beast reported.
Two senior administration officials said Trump and Bannon had shot down an attempt to eject Gorka from his government job, even after dozens of congress members called for his firing after video surfaced of Gorka endorsing radical nationalist group Jobbik's violent, anti-Semitic Hungarian Guard militia.
There was pressure on the administration to do something about Gorka, a dubiously qualified counterterrorism official, after he had worn a pin associated with World War II-era Nazi collaborators to inaugural festivities.
Gorka's views on Islam have also been widely characterized as extreme. He refused to admit it is a religion in several recent interviews, suggesting an affinity with the fringe, far-right belief Islam is not a religion at all but a totalitarian ideology.
According to the Daily Beast, though officials said Gorka had "virtually zero substantive duties at the White House or role in its decision-making or national security policy decisions," Bannon "put a stop to it — he's loyal and a friend's job was in danger and reputation was getting dragged through the mud."
Trump then "privately assured" Gorka he was not being removed from the administration at this time, the Daily Beast reported. Gorka later told an Ami Magazine reporter about the meeting.
Trump apparently views Gorka as a good spokesman for the administration despite his lack of involvement in the decision-making process. Gorka is a well-known fixture at Fox News, the conservative network Trump is known to watch somewhat obsessively.