The Department of Homeland Security promised a $400,000 grant to a group called “Life After Hate” — a group that works to de-radicalize neo-Nazis. The funding was awarded during the final days of the Obama administration as part of its Countering Violent Extremism program and was the only group devoted to fighting white supremacy to receive such a grant.
Unfortunately, the money wasn’t disbursed fast enough and the Trump administration decided the program was not a priority and took the money away.
Trump aides, including Katharine Gorka, a controversial national security analyst known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, were already working toward eliminating Life After Hate’s grant and to direct all funding toward fighting what the president has described as “radical Islamic terrorism.”
In December, Gorka, then a member of Trump’s transition team, met with George Selim, the DHS official who headed the Countering Violent Extremism program until he resigned last month, and his then-deputy, David Gersten.
Gorka told Selim and Gersten she didn’t agree with the Obama administration’s approach to countering violent extremism ― particularly the way the administration had described the threat of extremism, according to Nate Snyder, an Obama administration DHS counterterrorism official who was an adviser on Countering Violent Extremism efforts and was given a readout of the meeting. The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized the previous administration for avoiding terms like “radical Islam” out of concern that it could alienate Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.
Gorka. That name looks familiar. Here’s why.
Gorka and her husband, Sebastian Gorka, also a Trump White House official, have collaborated on numerous writings about the threat of radical Islam. Though they have a large following within far-right circles ― they both have bylines at Breitbart News ― mainstream national security experts are either unfamiliar with or critical of their work.
The day after Trump won the election, Sebastian Gorka said, “I predict with absolute certitude, the jettisoning of concepts such as CVE.”
Let there be no doubt about what’s going on in the Trump White House.