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Yarmuth, House Dems Ask Trump To Rescind Bannon Appointment

donald trump
Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore

Congressman John Yarmuth and more than 140 other Democratic representatives are calling on President-elect Donald Trump to rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist.

In a letter, the Democratic lawmakers accuse Bannon of being anti-Semitic and racist, citing his time as chief executive of Breitbart.com, a website that has increasingly been associated with the so-called “alt-right.”

“We strongly believe that Mr. Bannon’s appointment will not allow the country to heal and come together as one,” the letter states. “As one of your top advisors, the White House chief strategist will help set the tone for your administration. The person in this role must be prepared to serve the interests of all Americans, not those of a select few.”

Bannon has served in the Navy, worked for Goldman Sachs and was Trump’s campaign chief from August through Election Day. He also ran Biosphere 2, an experimental sustainability project based outside of Tucson, Arizona.

At the Republican National Convention over the summer, Bannon bragged that Breitbart was the platform for the "alt-right,” a blurry right-wing movement sometimes associated with White Nationalism.

In April, the Southern Poverty Law Center criticized Breitbart for embracing “ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right," including racism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas.

Earlier Tuesday on CNN, Sen. Rand Paul said opposition to Bannon’s appointment was simply “sour grapes” over the election.

“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,” Paul said. “I don’t believe him to be a racist; I don’t believe him to be anyone who categorizes anybody based on their race or otherwise or their religion.”

Bannon’s appointment was revealed over the weekend along with the announcement that Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus would serve as Trump’s chief of staff.

Unlike cabinet members, which require approval by the Senate, members of the White House staff only need to be appointed by the president.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.