Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"The election of Bannon's man Donald Trump as president of the United States has made the globalization of Breitbart and its message infinitely more plausible than it ever was before." (Photo: Carlo Allegri/ Reuters)

"The election of Bannon's man Donald Trump as president of the United States has made the globalization of Breitbart and its message infinitely more plausible than it ever was before." (Photo: Carlo Allegri/ Reuters)

From Trump's White House, Bannon to Bolster Global Alt-Right Movement

While planning international expansion, Breitbart 'will be as close as we are ever going to have to a state-run media enterprise'

Lauren McCauley

The news that President-elect Donald Trump has appointed known anti-semite and white nationalist Steve Bannon to the position of chief strategist is not only raising serious concerns among minorities and rights groups within the U.S. but it also appears to be explicitly linking the global alt-right movement with the White House.

Late Sunday, the Trump transition team announced that Bannon, executive chairman of far-right Breitbart News and CEO of the Trump campaign, will serve as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president, working as an "equal partner" with Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus, who is being appointed White House chief of staff.

Leading rights groups were immediately alarmed. "In President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Steve Bannon—a leading white nationalist—as chief strategist, we are seeing a confirmation of exactly what Trump promised throughout his campaign: the open endorsement of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and antisemitism," said Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) echoed these concerns, saying that Bannon's appointment "sends the disturbing message that...[w]hite nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House."

Under Bannon's leadership, "Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website," said Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer who formerly worked for the news outlet but quit over its allegiance to the Trump campaign. 

Since Bannon took over as executive chairman, "[t]he outlet has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas—all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the 'Alt-Right,'" wrote the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog last spring.

The mainstreaming of these ideas, Hatewatch noted, has occurred "much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people."

Now it appears that with Bannon by the incoming president's side, "[Breitbart] will be as close as we are ever going to have—hopefully—to a state-run media enterprise," said Kurt Bardella, a former Breitbart spokesperson.

What's more, Breitbart is seeking to expand globally to chronicle, and bolster, the rise of the alt-right.

"There is talk of Breitbart bureaus opening in Paris, Berlin, and Cairo, spots where the populist right is on the rise. A bigger newsroom is coming in Washington, the better to cover a president-elect whose candidacy it embraced," according to a New York Times report on Sunday, which Breitbart re-posted.

The site's editor, Alexander Marlow, told the newspaper that Breitbart's "international expansion was tied to upcoming elections in France and Germany," the Times reported.

"There’s an underserved readership" in Europe, Marlow said.

Further, Marlow said that the alt-right news site planned to support the candidacy of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's National Front party.

But as The Daily Beast's Christopher Dickey and Asawin Suebsaeng reported Sunday:

Bannon's support for European far-right parties runs far deeper than his interest in Marion Maréchal-Le Pen or the National Front. He brags about his international Breitbart operation as "the platform" for the American alt-right, and has for years been thinking globally, with an affinity for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the Party for Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, all of which have earned glowing coverage on the pages of Breitbart. 

But the election of Bannon's man Donald Trump as president of the United States has made the globalization of Breitbart and its message infinitely more plausible than it ever was before, and politicians once considered Europe's deplorables are now rushing to bask in the gilded glow of Trump and Bannon.

For her part, Le Pen wrote on Twitter that she welcomes "the invitation of Stephen Bannon...to work together." In an interview with BBC this weekend, Le Pen said that Trump's victory bolstered her chances as well as others' who shared the vision of a "Europe of free nations."

She painted his election, which followed the United Kingdom's shock Brexit vote, as "an additional stone in the building of a new world, destined to replace the old one."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Do Better,' Say Advocates as Biden Seeks to Double Refugee Admissions

"When thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their home to find safety, and Haitians are seeking safety on the southern border, the very least the United States can do is set a resettlement goal that meets the moment."

Brett Wilkins ·


Border Patrol Accused of 'Unfathomable Cruelty' for Cracking Whips on Haitians

"It doesn't matter if a Democrat or Republican is president, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Brett Wilkins ·


As Gov. Tim Walz Proclaims 'Minnesota Climate Week,' Ilhan Omar Says 'Stop Line 3'

"The state of Minnesota simply cannot meet our carbon reduction targets if this pipeline goes through," said the Democratic congresswoman. "Our future is on the line."

Kenny Stancil ·


Supreme Court Announces Date for Case Directly Challenging Roe v. Wade

"The fate of Roe v. Wade and legal abortion is on the line."

Julia Conley ·


Avi Lewis Hoping Canadians' Climate Concerns Deliver Electoral 'Upset of Epic Proportions'

"We need to send Avi to Ottawa to shake up the entire political establishment, including his own party, and tip the scales in favor of people and the planet," said environmentalist David Suzuki.

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo