If you had told me a few months ago that a man who was a founding member of Breitbart news would end up being one of the closest advisors to the president of the United States, I would have laughed in your face.
I do not pretend to admire president Trump in any way, and my disdain for him is not hidden. That being said, I take more issue with those he has thus far surrounded himself with; people like Steve Bannon, his chief strategist. Call me crazy, but I do not for a moment think someone who was responsible for the content of Breitbart news, a “news” organization that has published headlines such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”, “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” and “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time to Get Back in the Closet”, should be one of the President’s most prominent associates. Bannon also praised people like Pamela Geller, who began an Anti-Muslim organization called ‘Stop Islamization of America’, and is openly Islamophobic.
Breitbart has become the go-to for those who embrace the Alt-Right, a term coined by Richard Spencer in 2008. Bannon himself declared Breitbart News “the platform for the alt-right.” The Southern Poverty Law Center defines this term as “a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization.”
It is unsurprising that Bannon, as a champion for the alt-right and the white nationalism that comes along with it, was hailed by actual white nationalists, with the chairman of the American Nazi Party saying that “Perhaps The Donald is for real.” David Duke, a former KKK leader and wannabe senator, described Bannon’s appointment to be an “excellent” decision, and Richard Spencer hinted that Bannon would “push Trump in the right direction.” This begs the question – what is the right direction for our country? Do we want a country run by an administration that disavows the KKK, and other hate movements, which also trusts a hateful Anti-Semite who believes that the Alt-Right is an acceptable strand of political identity? In my opinion, absolutely not. The appointment of such a person to serve undermines any future condemnation of hate or Anti-Semitism that Trump give lip service to.
Just recently, Trump responded to the increase of anti-Semitism in our country since his election: “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community center are horrible, and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” Though this may sound half decent, I refuse to accept any condemnation of this type of hatred while he still counts a man like Bannon among his inner circle. You cannot say one thing while doing another without being a hypocrite. If Trump were truly sympathetic to the rising hate, especially anti-Semitism, he would rid the White House of Steve Bannon and respond to these hateful actions in a quicker manner, instead of waiting until so many are in distress. Trump has so far shown a tendency to ignore terrorism or violence done by domestic perpetrators, specifically radicalized members of the right wing, and the brief condemnation he gave only shows his lack of commitment or care for terror, intimidation, or any type of hate done by those who do not fit his usual terrorist model of a radical Muslim person.
For me the bottom line is that the Alt-Right, White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis, or whatever you want to call them, have no place in the White House or advising the President on the most intimate level. A person like Steve Bannon, who openly embraces the Alt-Right and gives them an outlet for their hate filled views, does not belong anywhere near the president. Also, after being recently appointed by Trump seemingly unknowingly to the National Security Council, he has a seat at the table allowing him to influence matters of national security in the most dangerous of ways. These hate filled politics and those who support them have no place in the White House. If Trump truly has a commitment to a less divided, less hate filled country, he will fire Steve Bannon immediately and send the strong signal that these ideals will not be tolerated.