Leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi parties and other white supremacists have added their voices to a growing list of racists and anti-Semites praising President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist.
Civil rights groups, anti-hate watchdogs and lawmakers have denounced Bannon’s appointment, accusing him of fueling the extreme right while serving as editor of the Breitbart News website. However ultra-nationalist groups are thrilled about the role he will play in the White House.
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was asked by CNN’s KFile about the appointment. “I think that’s excellent,” he said. “I think that anyone that helps complete the program and the policies that President-elect Trump has developed during the campaign is a very good thing, obviously. So it’s good to see that he’s sticking to the issues and the ideas that he proposed as a candidate.”
Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party, told CNN that “perhaps the Donald is for real,” according to The Hill news website.
Bannon’s appointment, announced Sunday alongside that of chief of staff pick Rience Preibus, has been roundly denounced, with many pointing to links between Breitbart and the alt-right, a movement,described by the ADL as “a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.”
“Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill,” wrote the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has tracked praise for Bannon by hate groups.
— andrew kaczynski
Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist website The Daily Stormer, which refers to itself as “The World’s Most Visited Alt-Right Website,” wrote an article entitled “Faggots and Jews Whining About Bannon Appointment” that included the following lines: “Bannon is the best person who could have been placed in this key role, besides perhaps Pat Buchanan and me. This is all going in the right direction, and I am very happy to see the Jews raging.”
The white supremacist, anti-Semitic website Infostormer also had nothing but praise for Bannon’s appointment to the White House team.
Stephen Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill https://t.co/IyJ6ET2vaS
— SPLC (@splcenter) November 13, 2016
“Look for Bannon to wield great power and sway in this new Government of the People, and let us hope that his stances on the migrant invasion, Moslem filth, and Black subhuman crime rises above the beta compromise attitude of Mr. Priebus.”
VDARE, branded by SPLC as an “anti-immigration hate website,” was very happy at the appointment. An article by “Washington Watcher” on Monday boasted that “so far I have no major complaints. Trump has listed immigration patriot and Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, leading to shrieks from the ADL, Southern Poverty Law Center, and assorted other usual suspects.”
Earlier, Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist and white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute and a star of the alt-right, was among the first to praise Trump for picking Bannon. “‘Strategist’ is the best possible position for Steve Bannon in the Trump White House,” he gloated on Twitter.
1/ "Strategist" is the best possible position for Steve Bannon in the Trump White House.
— Richard ☝
The SPLC said the national director of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Renaissance Society, Ken Reed, also welcomed the announcement. Reed on Sunday posted a news story on Facebook about the Bannon appointment, saying: “Can you say WINNING boys and girls???”
Bannon himself has been dogged by an accusation of anti-Semitism made by an ex-wife, though he has denied the claim through a spokesperson.
Court documents from 2007 revealed his ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard said that Bannon did not want their daughters attending a private school in Los Angeles — the Archer School for Girls — because he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews. According the court filings, Piccard stated: “He said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats.’”
Trump does not publicly associate himself with the alt-right and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was “personally offended” at the idea that she or any of the roughly 60 million Trump voters would support its ideas.
President Barack Obama refused Monday to be drawn on the appointment. When asked by journalists about Bannon he replied that “it would not be appropriate for me to comment on every appointment that the president-elect starts making if I want to be consistent with the notion that we’re going to try to facilitate a smooth transition.”