editorial21

President-elect Donald Trump must now lead a country in which many are anxious by his xenophobic, race-baiting presidential campaign.

In his acceptance speech, Trump urged Americans to “come together as one united people.”

President Barack Obama and others have urged Americans to welcome President-elect Trump with an open mind. We have urged the same.

But Trump’s early actions are not matching the words of his acceptance speech.

Trump’s decision to appoint campaign chairman Stephen K. Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor is deeply disturbing signal from the President-elect. Bannon’s post is expected to wield significant clout within the Trump administration.

Bannon is not your average right-wing conservative.

Bannon has connections to the so-called alt-right movement which promotes white nationalism.

As the chairman of Breitbart News, Bannon gave voice to white supremacists ideology and anti-Semitic views.

According to the Associated Press, “Under Bannon, Breitbart kept a running tab of news stories titled “Black crime,” which cataloged the activities of supposed “Black rape gangs” and “Black mobs.” The site used a slur for transgender people in headlines and stories. And during the campaign — a period in which Bannon stepped aside from running the site — Breitbart.com sometimes went out of its way to identify Trump critics as Jews.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Bannon’s selection “sends the disturbing message that anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and white nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House.”

Even some Republicans find Bannon’s appointment unacceptable.

“The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office,” said John Weaver, a Republican strategist who ran the presidential campaign of Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio and previously advised Senator John McCain of Arizona. “Be very vigilant, America.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, insisted that “Trump should rescind this hire.”

House Democrats have sent a letter to Trump asking him to rescind the appointment of Brannon as a senior White House adviser. The letter, which has signatures from 169 out of the 188 Democrats in the House, says the appointment of Brannon undermines Trump’s ability to unite the country. It points out stories from the website that is derogatory toward Jews and Muslims, among other groups. “Millions of Americans have expressed fear and concern about how they will be treated by the Trump Administration and your appointment of Mr. Bannon only exacerbates and validates their concerns,” the letter reads.

House Democrats and others are right to ask Trump to rescind the Bannon appointment. although he is unlikely to do so. Still Bannon and proponents of the alt-right movement must be strongly opposed. In that regard, Twitter has suspended the accounts of several prominent members of the so-called “alt-right” in an apparent purge.

Twitter declined comment, but noted that its policies forbid violent threats, hate speech or harassment, adding that it will take action against repeat offenders.

Americans must speak out against Trump when he makes appointments or policies that attempt to normalize and promote racism and extremists.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/trump-sends-a-disturbing-signal/article_cac63e1e-a91b-5662-b977-ae0590029df3.html

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