White House leak? According to the Orbán government David Cornstein is the new US Ambassador

There was no announcement in Washington DC, nothing from the White House nor from the State Department; no news of an ambassadorial appointment.

Yet, Budapest based pro-government Hungarian daily Magyar Idők has announced that President Donald Trump will send businessman David Cornstein to Budapest as the next US Ambassador. According to the paper they received this information from well-connected Hungarian government sources. Mr. Cornstein has Hungarian ancestry and made his fortune by opening jewelry counters in US department stores.

How does the Hungarian government know before the official US announcement who the White House will send to Budapest? Hungarian media suggested that Mr. Cornstein’s appointment might be connected to Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó’s recent visit and suspected State Department meetings in Washington DC. (Read here.)

David Cornstein

Other Hungarian pundits have speculated that Prime Minister Orbán influenced selecting the “Jewish businessman” to help to clear his image. Mr. Orbán is accused of reviving the cult of Miklós Horthy, Hungary’s anti-Semitic, pro-Hitler leader. Another article has connected 87-year-old Rabbi Arthur Schneier, an old Orbán supporter in New York, to Mr. Cornstein. (Hungarian language article here.)

Hungary’s young foreign minister, Mr. Szijjártó, frequently discusses US foreign policy issues with Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s dismissed counterterrorism adviser. (Mr. Gorka, according to Hungarian news reports, was wanted by Hungarian police on weapons charges, while he was a Trump adviser.) Mr. Gorka is close to the Hungarian leadership, speaks flawless Hungarian and often appears on Hungarian television to talk about US-Hungarian foreign policy issues. He claims to be an “insider” and in the past he openly attacked Mr. Tillerson’s State Department claiming that the Secretary of State is “nonsensical.”

Sebastian Gorka often appears on Hungarian television to talk about US-Hungarian foreign policy issues.

In the US, Gorka was unable to get security clearance and later was fired. He was also connected to far-right organizations and worked for Steve Bannon at Breitbart.

We suspect that Hungary’s paid-Washington-lobbyist, Mr. Connie Mack who has had past contacts with Mr. Cornstein or Mr. Gorka may have been the source of this prematurely published information. Without official confirmation we must treat Mr. Cornstein’s ambassadorial appointment as fake news. If it is true, an upcoming Congressional hearing should ask the question: How did the Hungarian government receive information about the appointment prior to the White House announcement?

György Lázár

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