The leaders of four minority House caucus groups have written a letter to US President Donald Trump calling for the removal of White House staff aides Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.
The heads of the black, Hispanic, Asian and progressive caucuses called in the letter for the firings of the Trump administration officials in the wake of a violent, racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The letter asserted their continuing presence in the White House is emboldening a resurgent white supremacist movement in America.
“Americans deserve to know that white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis are not in a position to influence US policy,” said the letter dated Monday. “In this time of tumult in our country, Americans deserve a leader that will bring us all together and denounce those who seek to tear us apart.”
Calls have grown for the dismissal, in the wake of the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, of Bannon, who is viewed as the foremost advocate in the White House for the nationalist “America First” policies.
Bannon, a former executive chairman of the Breitbart News website, once said the media company was a “platform for the alt-right,” a fringe far-right movement whose leader Richard Spencer played a prominent role in promoting the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
Gorka and Miller are also viewed as leading figures in the so-called nationalist wing of the Trump administration and Miller has become a leading voice for Trump’s tough-on immigration policies.
On Monday, Trump explicitly condemned the weekend rally by white supremacists in Virginia, denounced racism as “evil” and singling out the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as “repugnant.”
“Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America,” Trump said in nationally televised remarks from the White House.
“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
White nationalists assembled in Charlottesville on Friday to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Counter-protesters massed in opposition the next day. A few hours after violent encounters between the two groups, a car was driven into a crowd of people protesting the racist rally, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 26 others. The driver was later taken into custody.
Two Virginia state troopers were also killed when their police helicopter crashed and caught on fire while responding to clashes between white supremacist protesters and counterprotesters.
Trump has come under fire from both Democrats and Republicans since the violent rally after omitting any direct condemnation of white supremacists in his initial comments on the incident and decrying bigotry “on many sides.”