Trump Appoints White Nationalist Stephen Bannon to Chief Strategist
President-elect, Trump has appointed Stephen K. Bannon to the position of chief strategist and senior counselor for his administration. Bannon, the former head of the white supremacist online publication Breitbart, is an originator of the term, “alt-right,” (referring to a fringe Republican by-product, the Alternative Right). Alt-right appears to represent political views on its face, but in reality it represents a social worldview that propagates neo Nazi and white nationalist rhetoric.
Paul Manafort, the second (of three) campaign managers for the Trump campaign, had a short, volatile tenure. Towards the end of Manafort’s reign, Bannon entered the fray accepting the role of chief executive. While serving as campaign CEO, Bannon remained executive chair of Breitbart News (online supremacist publication mentioned above).
Trump’s staff appointments have increased tensions between the president elect and communities that his campaign rhetoric made even more vulnerable. However, the Bannon appointment in particular makes every non supremacist sympathizer, anxious. The anxiety derives from a fear of the unknown. Though strategists don’t have official administrative duties, chief strategists have historically been highly influential in presidential decision-making.
President Obama Senior advisor, David Plouffe, told the NYT, “The president does want someone who's thinking down the road a little bit — it's hard to describe. The role is really to make sure you're thinking about things strategically, you're thinking about the next move or two or three, you're providing some guidance on messaging."
As an original founding partner of the supremacist hate site (Breitbart), Bannon, harbors and has supported propaganda that encourages the perpetration of hate crimes against vulnerable communities. The following remarks will help with understanding fear associated with the president elect’s new chief strategist:
Steve Bannon downplays vile nature of white nationalist’s rhetoric during Mother Jones interview:
“Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe,” he said. “Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.” (Mother Jones, August 2016)
“After making the Occupy movie, when you finish watching the film, you want to take a hot shower. You want to go home and shower because you’ve just spent an hour and 15 minutes with the greasiest, dirtiest people you will ever see.” (Interview)
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones informed, “Steve Bannon Isn’t a Racist. He’s Worse,” in it he states, “I've written about this before, and I've already decided: It's worse. The David Duke version of racism may be repugnant, but for that very reason it's fairly easy to fight. There are just too many people who are put off by it. The Steve Bannon version is far more effective. Partly this is because, yes, critics will overreach and discredit themselves. Partly it's because his more subtle attacks on "political correctness" don't put off as many people. Partly it's because he assures people they can have racist attitudes without actually being racists. And partly it's because his sub rosa approach is just plain harder to expose.”
Stephen Bannon, the new appointed chief strategist and senior counselor just doesn’t only have access to the White House, but he has access now to control the message of Trumps presidency.
*Thumbnail image credit: Getty/via Carib Flame