Sen. Merkley denounces Trump's 'white nationalist' appointment, Bannon, to top post

Sen. Merkley denounces Trump's 'white nationalist' appointment, Bannon, to top post


By:  KATU.com Staff
KATU News

Oregon’s junior U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley denounced president-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon, a man with ties to the alt-right movement and white nationalism, to a top post in Trump’s administration.

"There should be no sugarcoating the truth here: Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government," Merkley said in a Monday news release.

On Sunday, Trump announced that Bannon, a news executive who led the conservative Breitbart news website and helped Trump’s political rise, would be a chief strategist and senior counselor in the president-elect’s administration.

Along with that announcement, Trump said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus would be his White House chief of staff.

Neither Priebus nor Bannon have policy experience.

Merkley and other Bannon critics, including some Republicans, quickly came out against Trump’s appointment of Bannon. Merkley called on Trump to rescind his decision.

“After running a campaign built on inciting divisions and hate, Donald Trump has claimed he wants to unite America,” Merkley said. “Yet he has done nothing meaningful to stop the wave of hate crimes and hate speech he has unleashed, and now has brought that strategy right into the Oval Office.”

Oregon's U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer also said Trump should revoke the appointment of Bannon.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also condemned Trump’s appointment of Bannon, saying he “simply has no business in the White House.”

But Trump’s former campaign manager and now adviser, Kellyanne Conway, defended the appointment and said “people should look at the full resume.”

And on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Trump looked into the camera and told his supporters to “Stop it,” after hearing reports that some of them were harassing minorities.

Read Merkley’s full statement:

There should be no sugarcoating the truth here: Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government. Bannon has boasted that he made Breitbart News ‘the platform for the alt-right,’ which is the politically correct term for the resurrection of white nationalism.

Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News created news sections such as ‘Black Crime’ and compared the work of Planned Parenthood to the Holocaust. Under his leadership, Breitbart News ran this headline following the massacre of nine church-goers at an African American church in Charleston: ‘Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.’ He called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a ‘renegade Jew.’ Steve Bannon bears substantial responsibility for the open and disgusting acts of hatred that are sweeping across our nation.

After running a campaign built on inciting divisions and hate, Donald Trump has claimed he wants to unite America. Yet he has done nothing meaningful to stop the wave of hate crimes and hate speech he has unleashed, and now has brought that strategy right into the Oval Office.

Donald Trump needs to forcefully denounce the hateful actions and efforts to intimidate people that some of his supporters are undertaking and rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon.