Civil Rights Groups Condemn Trump For Giving White Nationalist Promoter Steve Bannon A Top White House Role
MARK POTOK: Steve Bannon, in particularly, is a really — just an awful pick. A person who has a very long record of defending and, in fact, promulgating hate speech towards immigrants, towards Muslims, towards women and others. So we think it really is incumbent on the president-elect for the good of the American people and for his own presidency to put these people behind him. To put some distance between some of the uglier voices that have been associated with his campaign.
ANDREA MITCHELL (HOST): Zainab, let me ask you about that. The council has put out a statement that “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. We urge President-elect Trump to reconsider this ill-advised appointment if he truly seeks to unite Americans.” Comment on that.
ZAINAB CHAUDRY: That’s exactly how we feel. You can’t unite a nation by mainstreaming hate. And this is an individual who is widely known to promote conspiracy theories against Muslims, against Jewish Americans, against so many minority groups; refugees, immigrants. Right now our nation needs uniting. We need a president who can bring our country together. A lot of people are concerned, they’re afraid on both sides of the aisle, and we need a president-elect who can show true leadership, who can indicate to the American people that he’s committed to making sure that he represents all Americans. And by appointing top strategists who have clearly exhibited Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee views, he is sending the signal that he is planning to mainstream hate. And that’s not the way that we’re going to bring our country together. We need voices who are going to heal our nation.
MITCHELL: Now, we should point out that the Anti-Defamation League has also joined in, joined your council. Let me ask you both. The pushback from people in the Trump circle is that it’s not fair to blame Steve Bannon for what is posted on Breitbart, the website. Please respond to that.
POTOK: If I may say, that is just ridiculous. Bannon has presided over the last 18 months over the descent of Breitbart News into open ethnic nationalism, homophobia, attacks on women, attacks on Muslims, and so on.
MITCHELL: And Zainab, what are you hearing from your members? Please.
CHAUDRY: It’s also worth noting that Mr. Bannon has also repeatedly invited guests onto his show who have promoted this kind of sentiment that refugees, immigrants, Muslims, various minority groups do not have a place in society, that have kind of perpetuated this idea that America belongs to white people only. And white nationalistic ideology is not going to bring our country together.