After promising to be a President for all People, Donald Trump decided to appoint Steve Bannon, a white Nationalist who has run Breitbart, a web site devoted to racism, sexism and hatred to be his Senior Advisor. Wow, way to go Donald. Carry the divisiveness and hatred from your campaign over to your presidency.
First, what does a “Special Advisor” do anyways? Senior advisors (like Karl Rove for George W. Bush and John Podesta for Barack Obama) has control over Strategic Initiatives (which addresses issues contributing directly to a President’s standing), which includes making recommendations on classified national security issues, judicial nominations and other potentially significant political subjects as well as responsibility for political and intergovernmental affairs, and communications.
So basically, Trump is handing Bannon the keys to implement a white racist agenda directly from the White House. As I’ve said before, don’t trust his words (he lies all the time), trust what he does. In this case his actions state that this administration will be directly targeting all those who don’t fit a profile of white christians. He has also called himself a Leninist, with a goal to “destroy the state” and “bring everything crashing down”. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, I don’t know what will.
Stephen Bannon took over Breitbart in 2012 and while the conservative site had originally targeted some prominent African-American figures before, after he took over, it rapidly became the arm of the white nationalists (or as they call themselves, the alt-right), promoting hatred of people of color, jews, muslims. Upon news of the appointment, white nationalists/neo-nazi’s had nothing but praise for the appointment. All of these deplorables oppose multiculturalism and belief in white supremacy, publicly backing Trump on his hard-line stances against immigration, refugees and other despicable policies.
Bannon, in an interview in 2011, said that educated, progressive women are nothing more than a bunch of dykes. So add the oppression of women to the list of things he will probably advocate to a man who while holding power, is woefully unprepared to actually lead. Even right-wing commentator Glenn Beck (who I despise) thinks Bannon is a nightmare. He has no compunctions about doctoring videos to promote his agenda and mislead the public. Take Shirley Sherrod, an African American, who was the Agriculture Department’s Director of Rural Development in Georgia, for example, in which Bannon deceptively edited a video suggesting that she discriminated against a white farmer.
He also took an active hand in GamerGate, allowing Breitbart to publish stolen nude pictures of some of the women involved as well as other personal information. He was personally involved in making the movie “Clinton Cash” along with the support of the Mercer’s (Trump’s billionaire backers during this campaign), which used a book that had questionable information in it.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group dedicated to fighting hatred and bigotry, both Bannon and Kellyanne Conway (who was Trump’s campaign manager) have been members of a secretive group called “Council for National Policy”, a group of powerful conservatives who include extremists linked to white supremacists, anti-gay activists, and others engaged in extremist views who influence those members who have the fat wallets. The Southern Poverty Law Center sent out an email on Sunday listing his ties to the hate movement. Other’s who know him are also speaking out about him as well.
What can we do to keep Steve Bannon from the White House?
We can try to stop this appointment. (It will require a security clearance and I don’t know if he will be able to get one, so here’s hoping that doesn’t happen). But it’s imperative that we at least try. Rebecca Solnit, a writer, historian and activist has posted the following on Facebook. (My comments are interspersed in italics).
Here’s a concrete action a friend of a friend proposed: Friends, let’s seek a tactical victory this week. Let’s try to stop the Bannon appointment. Presidents have had to back down before, for comparatively minor reasons. (Some of us are old enough to remember Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, Bill Clinton’s two AG appointments, who had to withdraw for failing to pay Social Security taxes.) Let’s not assume this is a done deal.
Let’s do what we can to stop this. I have enclosed a list of actions below. Please feel free to add to this, especially those of you with organizing experience (some of whom I’ve tagged).
1) If you live in the US, call your Representatives and Senators and tell them this is unacceptable. (You can find your representatives at the Common Cause Website).
2) Paul Ryan is feigning ignorance again. Call his office at (202) 225-3031 and let him know that this is not ok. Same with Majority Leader McConnell, (202) 224-2541.
3) Call out the media when they report the Bannon appointment as a straight news story or refer to him as a “Breitbart executive” or a “provocateur,” but don’t call him what he is: a white supremacist, anti-semite, misogynist. Don’t let them normalize.
4) Where protests are ongoing, make this the focus, with signs, chants, etc. Next week we can turn out attention to other things. But for now let’s focus like a laser on this.
5) Let’s get religious groups on board; maybe even mainstream business groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (202-659-6000).
6) Contact other people of influence–College presidents, high-profile coaches and anyone else who has a public megaphone.
We can do this. #stopbannon
You can find a script for what to say and other good ideas on stopping this at this link.