A handful of Maryland Democrats added their voice Monday to the criticism of President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Steve Bannon to a senior White House job, a selection that dominated the political discussion as the nation sought clues for how the next administration will address deep divisions.
Trump appointed Bannon, a Breitbart News executive, as chief strategist and senior counselor on Sunday. Bannon has been criticized by opponents for racially charged headlines and appealing to the so-called “alt-right” on the website.
“The naming of Stephen Bannon to be a senior White House strategist is deeply troubling,” Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said in a statement. “He has been a proud poster-child for white nationalism, anti-Semitism and misogynistic views. Unless he can show a clear break from these divisive views, Stephen Bannon should not be allowed anywhere near the White House, let alone advising the president of the United States on all matters.”
The site specializes in button-pushing headlines, including one that called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a “Republican spoiler, renegade Jew.” Others asked, “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?” and “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy.”
Republican National Committee Chairman and Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, defended Bannon on Monday.
“That wasn’t his writing,” Priebus said of Bannon on NBC. In the months Priebus has worked with Bannon on the campaign, he said, the media executive “has exhibited none of those qualities.”
Still, Democrats and even some Republicans who opposed Trump during the GOP primary raised raised alarm Monday.
“Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon to a senior position at the White House is deeply disturbing,” Rep. Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland said in a statement. “His leadership of Breitbart, which provides a voice to radical white-supremacist groups, allegations about his comments on Jews, and charges of domestic abuse ought to be seen as disqualifying for a role at the White House.”