The Great Hungarian Snowflake
While hardly the most nefarious character on The Trump Show, foreign policy pontificator Sebastian Gorka is undoubtedly the most preposterous. For a self-proclaimed alpha male who lives to own libs and melt snowflakes, Dr.—always, always remember to call him Dr.—Gorka has an awfully fragile composition. Gorka seems to be able to dish out attacks better than he can take them.
Mediate reported that the good doctor tried to get the outlet banned from this year’s CPAC because Gorka felt coverage of him has been mean and that one of their reporters, who from appearances looks to be half his size, might harass him. The kerfuffle dates back to last year’s CPAC, when the reporter, who’d written negatively about Gorka, confronted him. Gorka puffed up his chest, got in his face and shoved him.
This is, of course, Mediate’s side of the story. But it’s not hard to believe their version of the chain of events, and not just because of the photographic evidence but because Gorka seems to flip off the handle in public view on a regular basis.
“Take a long run off a short pier, you utter hack,” Gorka recently responded to Politico when asked about the politicization of the National Security Council in the early days of the Trump administration.
When terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith questioned Gorka’s expertise on Twitter, he got an irate call from the then-deputy assistant to the president. Thankfully for us, Smith recorded the hilarious exchange.
“Isn’t that peculiar that you are questioning my credentials and your last TV hit was two years ago?” Gorka seriously bellowed.
“I think that this phone call highlights some serious issues with potential mental stability,” Smith responded at one point, highlighting how unusual it is for a top White House staffer to call an American citizen because they posted some mean things on Twitter.
I have some experience with the Great Hungarian Snowflake. Soon after he left the White House, where it’s still unclear what, if anything, he actually did, I sought to get Gorka on my podcast. It is no secret that I am on the NeverTrump end of the conservative spectrum, but my show brings on people of all ideologies, from Roger Stone to Mark Cuban to Ta-Nehisi Coates, for pointed but civil conversations.
With Gorka, I actually wanted to have a substantive discussion. I wanted to try to see if I could find the man beneath bombastic cartoon. While I am not exactly a Gorka groupie, I do think some of the criticism of him has been unfair. I do not think, for instance, he is a secret anti-Semite.
But my show would have delved into all the controversies surrounding him and given him a fair chance to answer them. We would have also talked about his career, influences and other issues of the day.
After a spate of unreturned emails, I tweeted at him:
I'm sad @SebGorka hasn't been responding to my emails to join me for an episode of my podcast. Come on doctor. Think of all the fun we will have?
— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) March 8, 2018
This elicited an email scolding from the good doctor. After saying how “uncool” and “unprofessional” my tweet was, he told me he’d reconsider doing my podcast if I just deleted the tweet. I did not want him on the podcast enough to give into silly demands. The tweet remained, the podcast never happened, and, like so many others in the Twitterverse, I eventually received a Twitter block for some reason.
Then came my satirical CPAC schedule that was published in Spectator USA. My joke about Gorka centered around the fact he refers to himself as doctor even though, to the best of my knowledge, he has never touched a scalpel.
Now Gorka does have a Ph.D. from the seventh best university in Hungary and though his thesis adviser has said he doesn’t believe Gorka is an actual foreign policy expert, he technically does have the right to be referred to as doctor. But very few people in political life who could be called doctor for non-medical specialities actually demand to be called such.
Have you ever heard George Will referred to as Dr. Will despite earning a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton? Or how about Bill Kristol, who earned a Ph.D. in government from Harvard? Or E.J. Dionne, who earned a D.Phil from Oxford? Has Ben Sasse ever demanded to be called doctor in his political life, despite earning a Ph.D. in history from Yale?
All of these figures could demand to be called doctor. They earned their doctorates at universities far more prestigious than the University of Phoenix on the Danube. But they clearly don’t feel so insecure about their intellects that they need to buttress their arguments with title pretension. Gorka is like a guy who played one game of Single A baseball before being cut who nonetheless carries around business cards boasting he is a “professional athlete.” I doubt Tom Brady does that.
But back to my satirical piece. I heard through the grapevine that Gorka actually complained to an editor at the Spectator about publishing a piece that ever-so-gently mocked him. Apparently I wasn’t just out for laughs, he argued. I had some more nefarious plot in mind.
There is no question there is a “safe space ” problem on the left. It’s worthy of criticism. But Dr. Gorka should be careful. People who live in igloos shouldn’t try to melt snowflakes.