Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen on Monday condemned the appointment of former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon as President-elect Donald Trump’s top adviser.
“Bannon said that he is providing a platform for the alt-right,” Cohen pointed out to CNN’s Carol Costello. “And the alt-right is nothing more than white supremacy rebranded for a digital age.”
Cohen said that he “feels sorry” for RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff pick who recently praised Bannon as a “wise and smart” adviser.
“He’s made a deal with the devil,” the civil rights advocate explained. “He has to support Bannon, but I think anyone who goes to the Breitbart website and looks at the kinds of things that are out there, I think would be shocked.”
According to Cohen, the president elect’s selection of Bannon was not surprising because “Trump ran a racist campaign from the first day that he came down that escalator at Trump tower.”
“He brought Mr. Bannon in, not simply because Mr. Bannon is smart, not simply because Mr. Bannon is talented, but because Mr. Bannon himself is a white nationalist,” Cohen observed. “We’ve tracked more than 300 incidents since Mr. Trump was elected of anti-immigrant vitriol, of vandalism — anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-LGBT. And it’s incredibly widespread.”
“The white supremacists out there are celebrating Mr. Trump’s election,” he added. “People are saying he’s given them new hope. Some very prominent white supremacists have told their people, go out and make people feel unwelcome, go out and make them feel afraid.”
“And unfortunately, that’s what’s happening.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Nov. 14, 2016.