As America recovers from the shock of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, the framework of his administration is beginning to materialize. Unfortunately, the first steps do not inspire much confidence in his managerial skills. For his chief of staff, Trump chose Reince Priebus, a political operative, rather than the experienced government administrator the job requires.
More troubling, though, is his appointment of Stephen Bannon as senior advisor and chief strategist. Bannon is the chairman of Breitbart News, which he described as the “platform for the alt-right.” It appeals to the organized racist and white nationalist movement that has endorsed Trump. Prominent hate groups and leaders, like former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, have praised the selection of Bannon. Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party, told CNN that “Perhaps The Donald is for real.” Many white supremacists are celebrating Bannon as evidence that Trump is going to execute their abhorrent agenda. Not surprisingly, Fox News is celebrating too.
The good news is that Democrats in Congress are not sitting still for it. A letter circulated by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) is demanding that “President-elect Donald Trump rescind his appointment of alt-right leader Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist.” As of Thursday morning the letter had 169 signatures of House Democrats who agree that Bannon is unacceptable. The letter says in part:
“Immediately following your victory, many Americans were optimistic and hopeful that you would take the steps necessary to unify our country following the divisive and contentious election. In your election night speech you said, ‘Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. It is time for us to come together as one united people.’ Unfortunately, your appointment of Stephen Bannon, whose ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well-documented, directly undermines your ability to unite the country. […]
“Since the election there have been a number of incidents across the country in which minorities, including Muslim Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Jewish Americans, have been the targets of violence, harassment and intimidation. Mr. Bannon’s appointment sends the wrong message to people who have engaged in those types of activities, indicating that they will not only be tolerated, but endorsed by your Administration.”
Stephen Bannon represents the worst of American prejudice and is a throwback to an era of lynchings and cross-burnings. Even if Trump asserts that he does not support racist hate groups, he has to question why they are lock-step in support of him. Could it be something he said? Or the people with whom he surrounds himself? These are questions any conscientious person would seek to answer. If Trump wants the nation to believe that he will enforce civil rights for all, he needs to dump Bannon. Because putting a racist in the office next his in the White House won’t bring the country together.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.