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The New Chief Strategist To The President-Elect Is A White Nationalist. This Is Not Normal

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Donald Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon — “the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill” — was named chief strategist and senior counselor to the President-elect.

Under Bannon’s leadership, “Breitbart’s publishing strategy turned to one that has made it the media arm of the racist Alternative-Right movement, publishing articles promoting popular white nationalist tropes such as ‘black on white crime’ and that ‘rape culture’ is inherent in Islam,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

More from the Washington Post:

“After Bannon’s elevation was announced, the law center tweeted several controversial stories written by Breitbart under Bannon’s control, including a piece published two weeks after a mass killing at a black church in Charleston, S.C., last year: “Hoist it high and proud: the confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.”

Bannon himself once attacked progressive women as “a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools.” In 2007, Bannon’s ex-wife swore in court proceedings that Bannon “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews…he said he doesn’t like Jews.” Bannon was also charged with with misdemeanor domestic violence and battery after allegedly assaulting his wife, but the case was later dismissed.

Now, Bannon will be the closest advisor to the next President of the United States, with SPLC’s “Hatewatch” reporting that white nationalists and supremacists “rejoice” at the appointment, including former KKK leader David Duke. This is not normal. This cannot be normalized, and all media referring to Bannon as “controversial” — and not for the white nationalist, alt-right right hand that he truly is — risk doing just that.

“President-elect Trump’s choice of Steve Bannon as his top aide signals that White Supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump’s White House,” said the office of Sen. Harry Reid in a statement. “It is easy to see why the KKK views Trump as their champion when Trump appoints one of the foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric as his top aide.”

“There should be no sugarcoating the truth here,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley. “Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government. Bannon has boasted that he made Breitbart News ‘the platform for the alt-right,’ which is the politically correct term for the resurrection of white nationalism.”

“His leadership of Breitbart, which provides a voice to radical white-supremacist groups, allegations about his comments on Jews, and charges of domestic abuse ought to be seen as disqualifying for a role at the White House,” said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer.

“We at @ADL_National oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon to senior role at @WhiteHouse because he and his alt-right are so hostile to core American values,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League.

In a recent piece over the weekend, Greg Sargent warned about normalizing the Donald Trump Administration. As Igor Volsky tweeted, many papers had neglected to make the naming of a white nationalist to a top White House position headline news.


There are reasons to worry that the creeping normalization of Trump is already underway. Jonathan Chait notes a worrisome lack of concern over Trump’s overt authoritarianism taking hold among Republicans as they relish the prospect of returning to total power in Washington. And a subtle amnesia is setting in over just how obviously unprepared for the job Trump proved himself on the campaign trail as the media turns to covering the pomp and ceremony of the transfer of power.

Obviously, come January, Trump will ultimately have to begin to reveal whether he is really going to govern in accordance with the overt expressions of bigotry, authoritarianism, and unvarnished cruelty that have been widely on display throughout many months of campaigning. Trump’s true designs — whether he knows now what they are or not — cannot remain concealed forever. He will have to show us whether his vow of deportations really does extend to those who were brought here illegally as children, through no fault of their own, and are now thoroughly assimilated into American life. If so, we will be hearing from them. He will have to show us whether his relentless demonization of immigrants and Muslims signals how he genuinely intends to wield the power of the state. He will have to show us, as Brian Beutler notes, whether his overtly expressed threats to press freedom and equal protection before the law were mere bluster and opportunistic mob manipulation, or whether they signal a genuinely authoritarian presidency.

Harry Reid is right. This unique moment demands that the default setting for the media and for our lawmakers on all of these matters must be to assume that Trump fully meant what he said until he shows us otherwise.