WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – All eyes are focused on President-elect Donald Trump’s unfolding White House team.
Donald Trump continues his transition to the presidency after receiving his first presidential briefing on Tuesday in Trump Tower. But he has drawn criticism from many democrats over one of his newly appointed team members.
Stephen Bannon was named Trump’s Chief Strategist. But Bannon has been called a racist, sexist and anti-Semitic by critics.
In 2010, he sneered at the government from the outside.
“What we need to do is [expletive]-slap the Republican Party, and get those guys, you know, heeding to, and if we have to, we’ll take it over,” he said at the time.
But now, he’s steps away from the Oval Office. Bannon was chairman of Breitbart News, a website that has featured anti-Semitic and white supremacist material.
His allies brush the complaints aside.
“I’ve met him. I don’t think he’s a caricature of any of these horrible things the left is bringing out about him,” Republican Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, said. “I don’t believe him to be racist. I don’t believe him to be anyone who categorizes anybody based on their race or otherwise or their religion.”
But many democrats want him ousted and have called Bannon a “champion of racial division.”
“If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon,” Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid said. “Rescind it. Don’t do it.”
“This is someone who has expressed racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT sentiments,” Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow said.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Jr. said. “It’s easy to look at a TV camera and tell people to stop the hate, but when you say that and look at the TV camera and in the next moment the action you take is to appoint Steve Bannon, who has a history of ugliness and division and bigotry through a platform that he had an the alt-right, then you’re sending a very different and stronger message in the opposite direction.”
The Trump Transition Team has not commented on calls for Bannon’s appointment to be rescinded.