VOICES OF SANITY

Trump Draws Rebuke for Picking Bannon as WH Strategist

Several major watchdog organizations including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have denounced Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as senior adviser and chief strategist in the White House, a move that also prompted harsh criticism and widespread alarm among political strategists. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News and a figure closely associated with the white-nationalist “alt-right” movement, is described as a dangerous influence in a statement released Sunday by the ADL. “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,” the group’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote. Greenblatt went on to urge Trump to “appoint and nominate Americans committed to the well-being of all our country’s people and who exemplify the values of pluralism and tolerance that make our country great.” The watchdog’s warning comes just weeks after the organization released a report detailing a spike in anti-Semitism and harassment of journalists by “alt-right” Trump supporters. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-watch group, reacted to Bannon’s appointment by tweeting out several stories posted at Breitbart under Bannon’s watch, including one that encouraged readers “Hoist it high and proud: the Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.” Additionally, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a condemnation: “The appointment of Stephen Bannon as a top Trump administration strategist sends the disturbing message that anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and white-nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House,” said Nihad Awad, the group’s executive director. “We urge President-elect Trump to reconsider this ill-advised appointment if he truly seeks to unite Americans.”