Yet another ally of President Donald Trump is facing federal criminal charges: the U.S. Department of Justice has indicted former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon — who, in 2017, served as chief White House strategist in Trump’s administration — for allegedly defrauding Americans who made donations to crowdfund a U.S./Mexico border wall. Journalist Michael Harriot discusses Bannon’s indictment in a blistering but often humorous op-ed for The Root, stressing that he has a hard time feeling sorry for “racists” and Trump supporters who were allegedly ripped off by a “white nationalist.”
“If a white nationalist robs a racist in the woods, can you hear me not giving a fuck?,” Harriot writes. “Should we applaud the fact that the bigoted propagandist who gave us Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos and Donald Trump has been indicted for fraud? Or should we be happy that a bunch of xenophobic nitwits had their disposable income stolen? If ever there was a perplexing philosophical quandary, it is this.”
The crowdfunding campaign was billed as “We Build the Wall” and raised over $25 million. But in the indictment, Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss — a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York —
alleges that the funds raised by the 66-year-old Bannon and others were not being used for their stated purpose: the construction of a U.S./Mexico border wall. Strauss, in an official statement, alleged that Bannon, associate Brian Kolfage and other defendants “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction. While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage — which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.”
Harriot obviously has a very low opinion of Bannon, but his op-ed makes it abundantly clear that he also has a low opinion of Americans who would make donations for a “racist” and “xenophobic” cause.
“Each of Bannon’s charges carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, which Bannon will never do,” Harriot argues. “So hurrah, the man who gave a voice to Cool Ranch racism has been charged with a crime for which he will be pardoned by Donald Trump just before he leaves office. Hopefully, the feds will recover some of the money so the racist wall-funders can do something productive with their 401KKK earnings, like donating it to the Trump 2020 campaign or bailing out the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor. Oh, wait…”