In his Nov. 9 victory speech, Donald Trump pledged to be a president for “all Americans.” If you believe that, we have a condo to sell you.
As one of his first acts as President-elect, Trump on Nov. 13 appointed Stephen Bannon, the former head of the Breitbart News Web site, as his chief strategist. America’s white supremacists greeted it with glee.
“What timeline are we even on anymore,” Tony Hovater, a leader in the neo-Nazi Traditional Workers Party, remarked on Facebook. “We’re like one or two degrees of separation away from the fucking President.”
Richard Spencer, a poster child for the ostentatious, youth-driven white nationalist movement known as the “alt-right,” also expressed approval.
“Strategist is the best possible position for Steve Bannon in the Trump White House,” he tweeted, a few days before Twitter suspended his account. “Bannon will answer directly to Trump and focus on the big picture, not get lost in the weeds.” Twitter said it had suspended the accounts of Spencer and several other alt-right figures because it had “seen an uptick in the number of accounts” that were “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”
Bannon, who had previously worked as a banker for Goldman Sachs and as a movie producer, took the helm of Breitbart following the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart. He quickly turned the site, already regarded as a far-right mouthpiece, into what he described as a “platform for the alt-right.” Under Bannon, Breitbart embraced white nationalist tropes like black-on-white crime, immigrant criminality, and Muslim “rape culture,” and ran headlines like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” It also promoted conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the banks and media.
The site’s technology editor, Milos Yiannopoulos, was permanently banned from Twitter last summer after trolling comedian Leslie Jones with a slew of racist tweets.
“Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist meme-makers,” former editor-at-large Ben Shapiro lamented in August.
Bannon left the site in July to lead Trump’s campaign for office.
“Here’s a thought,” he told Mother Jones shortly after joining the Trump campaign. “What if the people getting shot by the cops did things to deserve it? There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.”
Bannon himself has been accused of violence. In a 1996 police report and in divorce proceedings, his ex-wife accused him of grabbing her by the throat and choking her. Police noted red marks around her throat, corroborating her account of the confrontation, but she failed to testify against him later. She also said he had not wanted to send their daughters to a Los Angeles area private school because it had too many Jews.
“Lenin wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal too,” Bannon told Daily Beast reporter Roland Radosh in 2014. “I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Bannon will work with more establishmentarian Republicans in Trump’s inner circle, including chief of staff Reince Priebus, who previously chaired the Republican National Committee, and the vice-president-elect, Indiana Gov. Michael Pence.
— The Indypendent STAFF