Over the weekend we got news of two key White House appointments that signal the direction of the Trump Presidential Administration. First, Donald Trump appointed Reince Priebus to be his Chief of Staff. Priebus previously served as the Republican National Committee Chairman, and many think his appointment will help promote cooperation between President Trump and the GOP Congress.
The other appointment is far more controversial, and for good reason. Stephen Bannon was announced as a top White House advisor and strategist, and his role has been described as “equal” to Preibus’.
Here’s what you need to know about Stephen Bannon:
1. He was originally a Goldman Sachs banker
Stephen Bannon’s career started on Wall Street where he worked for Goldman Sacs before getting interested in ultra-conservative politics. He funded documentaries that sought to promote a very positive image of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and (surprise surprise) tear down the Clintons.
2. He then moved into digital media, and recreated Breitbart.com in his image
Andrew Breitbart — the original founder of conservative “news” site Breitbart — was not without controversies (his remarks to Occupy Wall Street protestors being particularly abhorrent), but some inside the site claim that he did hate racism and tried to prevent Breitbart from publishing any content that even appeared racist.
Any facade of the site being tolerant, however, certainly went out the door when Stephen Bannon took over. He empowered writers like Milo Yiannopoulos who “pushed white ethno-nationalism as a response to political correctness.” Former site spokesperson Kurt Bardella, has said that Breitbart is “completely devoid of reality and facts,” and fuels American’s, “worst divisions and worst fears.”
While the site denies being racist, a review by The Investigative Fund found that 30% of the people tweeting #WhiteGenocide — which is a notoriously racist hashtag that claims white people are being displaced by those of other races — follow Breitbart. This is much higher than other conservative publications.
3. And he made sure that Breitbart could be a mouthpiece for the Trump campaign
As early as April 2014, Bannon was listed by the Trump offices as a, “very strong supporter.” Even when one of Bannon’s own employees — a woman named Michelle Fields — was allegedly assaulted by then Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, he helped the Trump team discredit her.
In private circles, a view of his character is allegedly pretty low. Former Breitbart staffer Ben Shapiro claims that, “many former employees of Breitbart News are afraid of Stephen Bannon. He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies.”
4. His ex-wife revealed his anti-semitic views in court
In court documents, Bannon’s ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard claimed that Bannon has horrific anti-semitic views.
According to Piccard, Bannon didn’t want their daughters to attend the Archer School in Los Angeles because of “the number of Jews that attend.”
“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.'”(Source)
5. Piccard also accused Bannon of assault, and cops found some evidence of it
According to Piccard, she wanted to take the family credit card to the store when Bannon suddenly became violent. “(Bannon) became physical with me and grabbed me by the throat and arm,” Piccard details in a sworn statement. “I took the phone to call the police and he grabbed the phone away from me throwing it across the room, and breaking it as he screamed that I was a ‘crazy f—–g c–t!’ He then left.”
When police responded, they found red abrasive marks on her wrist and on the right side of her neck.
6. And what we know of his political views is pretty terrifying
7. But now he is a top White House advisor
Bannon’s role is certainly less defined than Preibus’, but he was clearly have the ear of President Trump and be able to influence much policy from inside the White House.
8. And tons of people aren’t happy about it.
They aren’t all liberals either. Many conservatives, like John Kasich’s Presidential campaign manager John Weaver have shunned the move:
Kasich's Weaver calls Bannon 'racist, anti-semite' after Trump names Bannon 'chief strategist & sr counselor' –> pic.twitter.com/wpa73wbhRt
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) November 13, 2016
As has independent conservative and former Presidential candidate Evan McMullin. McMullin condemned both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election:
Saying "stop it" to racist attacks means little when you name white supremacist darling Steve Bannon chief strategist in the very same day. https://t.co/BKuyA09VRA
— Evan McMullin 🇺🇸 (@EvanMcMullin) November 14, 2016
9. But some people are very happy about his appointment.
Like white supremacists.
Andrew Kaczynski’s K-FILE found that many people associated with hate organizations felt that Bannon would do an excellent job representing their interests.
“I think that’s excellent,” former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told CNN’s KFile. “You have an individual, Mr. Bannon, who’s basically creating the ideological aspects of where we’re going, and ideology ultimately is the most important aspect of any government.”
“I think it’s amazing,” Peter Brimelow said of Trump’s decision to tap Bannon. Brimelow runs the white nationalist site VDARE, went on to say that Bannon gives Trump a direct connection to the alt-right.
Chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky J. Suhayda was surprised — but impressed — that Donald Trump gave a position of influence to Bannon:
“I must admit that I was a wee bit surprised that Mr. Trump finally chose Mr. Bannon, I thought that his stable of Washington insiders would have objected too vociferously. Perhaps The Donald IS for ‘REAL’ and is not going to be another controlled puppet directed by the usual ‘Wire Pullers,’ and does indeed intend to ROCK the BOAT? Time will tell.”
On all of this, and our nation’s future, time indeed will tell.