President-elect Donald Trump has made some mildly conciliatory gestures in recent days, but as the Charlotte Observer points out in its lead editorial this morning, his choice for “chief strategist” is extremely worrisome. After noting that Trump’s chief of staff appears to be a responsible adult, the editorial notes that his choice for “chief strategist” does not:
“The one he got wrong? Choosing Stephen Bannon, head of the far-right, ethno-nationalist Breitbart News website, to be his chief strategist. Bannon, who helped lead Trump’s campaign, presided over Breitbart’s inflammatory coverage, which critics have called anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, misogynist and anti-black. One Breitbart headline called a GOP commentator a ‘renegade Jew,’ while another story advised women who suffered online harassment to ‘just log off’ so men can enjoy the internet. White nationalists of the so-called alt-right love it.
Trump needs to steer away from his darker, more divisive impulses….
Minorities and women are rightfully afraid of Trump’s rise, given his talk of Mexican rapists, Muslim terrorists and stop-and-frisk police tactics in the inner cities. His choice of Bannon suggests that Trump doesn’t fully appreciate (or doesn’t care about ) those fears. Those anxieties represent far more than just ‘bizarre hysteria,’ as a Breitbart article put it Monday.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports a spike of more than 200 complaints of hate crimes and harassment since the election – worse than what happened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Social media is swirling with videos such as the one of white middle school kids taunting Latino classmates with chants of ‘build the wall!’ Racist graffiti has appeared on cars belonging to minorities and churches that serve them.”
“He should also reconsider Bannon’s appointment. Surely the man who boasted that he could ‘stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody’ without losing voters can discard a toxic aide without fear of recrimination.
Trump says he wants to unite the nation. His decision on Bannon tells us that’s just another empty sales pitch.”
Click here to read the entire editorial.