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The Extremist Steve Bannon Must Resign

A letter to Sen. Cory Booker

Steve Bannon, the senior advisor to President Trump who formerly headed the far-right Breitbart news, is not merely extreme in his views but outright dangerous given his position. (Photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr/cc)

Senator Cory Booker
Newark Office
One Gateway Center
23rd Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Dear Senator Booker,

I am resident of New Jersey, a progressive, and I vote.

I am writing to express my alarm and dismay that Stephen Bannon occupies the role of President Trump’s “Chief Strategist.”

Bannon is a racist, a white supremicist, and an extremist. As the Executive Chairman at Brietbart – and now, in the White House – Bannon has proudly and aggressively championed the racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic agenda of the so-called “Alt-right.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center reminds us that “Under Bannon, Breitbart published a call to ‘hoist [the Confederate flag] high and fly it with pride’ only two weeks after the Charleston massacre when the country was still reeling from the horrors of the murders. Under Bannon, Breitbart published an extremist anti-Muslim tract where the author wrote that ‘rape culture’ is ‘integral’ to Islam.” Glen Beck has called Bannon “a nightmare.”

We all know that this is true of Bannon. His fans and his critics agree.

Steve Bannon does not belong in the White House. He does not belong on the National Security Council. And he most certainly should not be the “Chief Strategist” for the President of the United States. Indeed, the President should be ashamed to take a phone call from someone with Bannon’s appalling political history. Bannon should be seen as a “radioactive” -- too extreme for any mainstream politician.

I understand that a US Senator is not formally empowered to remove a member of the President’s staff.  But you and I – and all Democrats, all progressives, and all of us who reject the toxicity of Bannon’s racism – are empowered to speak up. Indeed, we are compelled, morally and politically, to demand Bannon’s resignation. We are compelled, morally and politically, to shame the Trump Administration for employing such a revolting character. And we are compelled, morally and politically, to shame any Republican who acts as if Bannon’s presence in the White House is “normal” or acceptable.

Recall that, in 2008, the Republican’s faux-shame-machine forced then-candidate Barack Obama to renounce his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright – a decent man who played no role in Obama’s campaign, and had no influence over Mr. Obama’s policy agenda. Later, President Obama was forced to fire the talented activist Van Jones, an adviser on “Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation,” because the GOP and right wing talk radio managed to brand him a radical. And this strategy is not new: in 1993 Bill Clinton was forced to withdraw the nomination of the brilliant Lani Guinier, whom he’d nominated for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. The Right labeled Ms. Guinier “the Quota Queen.” In each of these cases, a Democrat was forced to cut ties with an ally because of an aggressive and effective PR campaign orchestrated by the GOP and the Right.

We cannot act as if this – the central role of Bannon in Trump’s White House -- is normal or acceptable. A President is entitled to choose his advisers, we’re told. Perhaps. Either way, it is undoubtedly true that The Opposition is entitled -- compelled! -- to call the President out when he invites a revolting, hateful demagogue to be his Chief Strategist – his right-hand-man in charting the political future of the United States.

We should, every single day, bellow at the top of our lungs: “Steve Bannon is a racist and a white nationalist. He is not acceptable. He should resign! He should be fired! And President Trump, and all of his GOP enablers, should be ashamed.”

This is not acceptable. This is not normal.


Timothy Koechlin

Tim Koechlin

Tim Koechlin

Tim Koechlin holds a PhD in economics. He is the Director of the International Studies Program at Vassar College, where he has an appointment in International Studies and Urban Studies. Professor Koechlin has taught and written about a variety of subjects including economic, political and racial inequality; globalization; macroeconomic policy, and urban political economy.

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