President-elect Donald Trump can do better than Stephen Bannon as top strategist and adviser. Naming a man with ties to the “alt-right” or white-nationalist movement to a high position in the White House next year is an insult to Americans after an ugly, divisive election.
The appointment doesn’t bring the nation any closer together, as Trump claims to want. In appointing Bannon, Trump has unwitting signaled those on the alternative-right fringe that their white-nationalist aspirations are in some way welcome at the highest echelons of power.
It suggests that Trump was really intending the slurs he made on the campaign trail against Latinos, Muslims, other minorities and immigrants.
Bannon once bragged that the Breitbart news site he edited was a platform for the so-called alt-right, also known as a white nationalist viewpoint.
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U.S. Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia is among the 169 House Democrats who signed a letter (released Wednesday) that called on Trump to reverse his action on Bannon. Heck is a Democrat in the 10th Congressional District.
In a separate statement, Heck said the Bannon has strived to make white nationalism mainstream. “As Americans, we should all be offended by President-elect Trump’s decision to elevate a blatantly toxic voice within the highest office in the land,” Heck stated.
The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have also come out against Bannon’s appointment.
As the SPLC noted in a report earlier this year, “Under Bannon, Breitbart published a call to ‘hoist [the Confederate flag] high and fly it with pride’ only two weeks after the Charleston massacre when the country was still reeling from the horrors of the murders.”
Breitbart also published “an extremist anti-Muslim tract where the author wrote that ‘rape culture’ is ‘integral’ to Islam,” SPLC reports.
SPLC said Monday that reports of hate crimes doubled during Nov. 11-14 to more than 400 incidents. Time magazine said many were acts of “intimidation and harassment” and were described as anti-immigrant.
In the national interest, this should be an easy decision for the 45th president.