President-elect Donald J. Trump’s selection of a man with a history of inciting hate groups as his chief strategist and senior White House counselor speaks volumes.
First and foremost, it says that Trump, the political outsider who hijacked the Republican Party and then won the presidency with his appeal to white voters, isn’t serious about being president of all Americans.
Secondly, the appointment of Steve Bannon, described by McClatchy News as the “controversial conservative firebrand executive editor of the Breitbart website,” says that Trump doesn’t give a damn about public opinion.
Lastly, Bannon’s presence in the White House means that the anxiety that has engulfed women, blacks, immigrants and members of the LGBT community will continue to grow.
Indeed, the reaction to Bannon’s appointment has added fuel to the fires of public demonstrations that have swept the country since the Nov. 8 general election.
McClatchy News reported Monday that some Jewish groups are calling on Trump to let Bannon go.
“It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League.
But Brietbart, the extreme right-wing website, has not only targeted Jews, blacks and immigrants. Republican members of Congress, who were denigrated by Trump because they are the political establishment, have also suffered the wrath of the articles that have appeared on the website.
The Congressional Black Caucus also weighed in on Bannon’s appointment, saying it was a “cold slap in the face of those of us who are working to mend race relations in America.”
Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told McClatchy the appointment “sends an alarming signal that [Trump] remains loyal to the animosity and hatred that was the core of his campaign.”
REVERSAL OF TRANSFORMATION?
The decision by Trump to place his campaign’s CEO who is a favorite of white supremacist David Duke so close to the seat of power raises questions about his transformation that was on display the morning after the election.
After Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded, Trump delivered a victory speech that was a major departure from the campaign stump speeches in which he fed the flames of racial division, portrayed Muslims as terrorists and accused Clinton of being a criminal.
Since his election, the billionaire real estate developer from New York City has sung Clinton’s praises and has dodged the question of whether he will pursue her prosecution over the emails scandal.
Trump even had kind words for President Barack Obama, who had been the target of his unrelenting verbal assaults going all the way back to 2008 when Obama first ran for president.
Finally, in an interview with “60 Minutes”, the long-standing television news magazine on CBS, Trump looked into the camera and urged his supporters to stop their attacks on Muslims and their hate speech in schools and on college campuses.
“Stop it,” the president-elect said. It should be noted that he feigned ignorance about the hatred being spewed by his supporters against immigrants and others perceived to be the enemy – a characterization Trump employed during the highly contentious campaign.
But, with the appointment of Bannon, the white extremists in this country are receiving a completely different message from the president-elect.
Having one of their own not only in the White House but in a position to influence the president on such explosive issues as race and ethnic relations reassures them that there isn’t any difference between candidate Trump and President Trump.
We would urge the president-elect to reconsider Bannon’s appointment and to select an individual with the same personality and demeanor as his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Priebus’ appointment has drawn mostly plaudits, according to McClatchy News.
Given Trump’s political inexperience and his disdain for the Republican Party establishment, the new president will depend on the advice and guidance from members of his inner circle.
Steve Bannon, a conservative provocateur, isn’t the man for the job of chief White House counselor.