On Sunday, Republican president-elect Donald Trump announced that Breitbart.com executive Stephen Bannon will be one of his chief strategists and White House advisors.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent out an email alert Sunday night that explained Bannon’s ties to the racist, antifeminist alt-right and white nationalists. Here are a few of the things they listed.
1. Breitbart.com went from covert to overt racism when Bannon came on board in 2012.
The controversial conservative blog had made attacks on black public figures under the guidance of its late founder Andrew Breitbart, but when Bannon joined, the site became something of a standard-bearer for white nationalists, strident anti-Muslim activists, antifeminist “men’s rights” activists and other internet trolls.
“Breitbart’s Alt-Right primer, published at the end of March, is possibly its most disturbing piece to date,” said the SPLC. “The piece ignores the racist views of the Alt-Right founders –– white nationalists Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor and others –– instead referring to them as the movement’s ‘intellectuals.’ The piece is a striking example of the direction the network has moved over the past year.”
2. He is on the record as being racist and anti-Semitic.
“CNN’s Jake Tapper noted on Twitter after today’s announcement, Bannon’s ex-wife swore in court that ‘he said he doesn’t like Jews’ and didn’t want his children to go to school with Jews,” said Media Matters. “Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News has featured racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and anti-LGBT rhetoric.”
The Washington Post called Bannon a “loose cannon” and said, “The new Trump adviser calls himself a ‘populist nationalist’ — his hiring has been cheered by white supremacists — and calls his fellow believers a ‘small, crazy wing’ of the conservative movement. He has referred to the Civil War as the ‘war of Southern Independence’ fought over ‘economic development.’ He found ‘zero evidence’ of racial motives in the Trayvon Martin shooting and warned that ‘cities could be washed away in an orgy of de-gentrification.’”
3. He is a member of a secretive conservative cabal that seeks to reshape the nation’s laws according to a far-right agenda.
Both Bannon and Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway are members of the Council for National Policy (CNP). The SPLC’s Hatewatch blog described the group as “an intensely secretive and shadowy group of what The New York Times once described as ‘the most powerful conservatives in the country.’ It is so tight-lipped that it tells people not to admit their membership or even name the group. Revealing when or where the group meets, or what it discusses, is also forbidden. The organization, which can only be joined by invitation and at a cost of thousands of dollars, strives mightily to keep its membership rolls secret.”
The group, Hatewatch said, “provides an important venue in which relatively mainstream conservatives meet and very possibly are influenced by real extremists, people who regularly defame LGBT people with utter falsehoods, describe Latino immigrants as a dangerous group of rapists and disease-carriers, engage in the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theorizing for which the John Birch Society is famous, and even suggest that certain people should be stoned to death in line with Old Testament law.”
4. He will encourage the worst behaviors in nascent President Donald Trump.
Bannon is known for his bomb-throwing, take-no-prisoners attitude toward bare knuckle political brawling. Over the course of his tenure at Breitbart.com, he has edged out the site’s senior staff, engaged in shady business practices and ran the site like a tinpot dictator.
Former ally and spokesman Kurt Bardella said to Media Matters that Bannon is a “pathological liar who has a temperament that governs by bullying and intimidation and functions very much like a dictator at Breitbart.”
Former Breitbart senior editor Ben Shapiro said that Bannon’s personal philosophy is “shot through with racism and anti-Semitism.”
As Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce tweeted on Sunday night, “Let us be clear. The hiring of Steve Bannon as a WH policy adviser is exactly the same as hiring David Duke. Please don’t normalize this.”