Donald Trump has appointed Stephen Bannon, who was the executive chairman of Breitbart News before he joined the Trump campaign in August, to his presidential team.
Bannon will be Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, meaning he and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who has been appointed to chief of staff for the upcoming team, will shape the direction of the Trump White House.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has called out Brietbart for ethnocentrism, and following the announcement that Bannon would be joining the Trump presidential team, they tweeted out several articles written under Bannon’s direction that are controversial at the least, including one about the Confederate flag in South Carolina that includes this line: “Hoist it high and proud: the confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.”
What’s more, the Southern Poverty Law Center took to Twitter to denounce the appointment of Bannon to Trump’s team, writing, “Stephen Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill. Trump should rescind this hire. In his victory speech, Trump said he intended to be president for ‘all Americans.’ Bannon should go.”
The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the move, with Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s chief executive, saying, “We call on President-elect Trump to appoint and nominate Americans committed to the well-being of all our country’s people.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also criticized Brietbart for “misogynistic and racist stories targeting women, people of color and immigrants.”
“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, CAIR’s executive director. “We urge President-elect Trump to reconsider this ill-advised appointment if he truly seeks to unite Americans.”
Even several people on the right denounced the move by Trump, with Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart editor, speaking out against Bannon shortly after he joined Trump’s campaign: “Many former employees of Breitbart News are afraid of Steve Bannon. He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies.”
But as critics on both sides of the political aisle cried out against the appointment, Bannon released a statement Sunday through the campaign expressing gratitude for the opportunity:
“I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration. We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”