The media worked itself into a tizzy after Donald Trump appointed Steve Bannon senior counsel for the presidency, wrongly claiming the man’s a “racist” and an “anti-Semite.” Now they have egg on their face, as the ADL was recently forced to backpedal. They could not find anything specific with which to smear the seasoned news executive.
By John Friend
On Sunday, president-elect Donald Trump announced Reince Priebus, a GOP insider and current chairman of the Republican National Committee, will serve as the chief of staff in his administration.
Priebus will play a key role as a liaison between the Trump administration, the Republican-led Congress, and the traditional Republican establishment, which still has factions that are not entirely in Trump’s camp, particularly on key issues such as Trump’s pledge to deport illegal aliens.
Trump also announced the appointment of Steve Bannon, who served as executive chairman of the popular news website Breitbart News prior to joining the Trump campaign as its CEO in August, as his chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon is known for his nationalist and populist views and his hard-line stance on immigration. He is also credited with leading Breitbart to become one of the world’s most influential right-leaning news outlets and will likely have tremendous influence within the Trump administration on both foreign and domestic policy issues.
“Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive,” reads a statement released by Trump following the announcement. “Bannon and Priebus will also work together with Vice President-elect Mike Pence to help lead the transition process in the run-up to Inauguration Day.”
Trump described Bannon and Priebus as “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory” shortly after the announcement was made public. “Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”
Bannon’s appointment has triggered a hysterical, unhinged reaction from radical leftists, establishment Democrats and Republicans, political pundits, journalists, and the organized Jewish community. Unfairly denounced as a “racist” and “anti-Semite,” Bannon’s appointment has led to a media fury, with countless pundits and anti-Trump partisans describing Bannon as a leading figure in the alt-right movement.
Charles Pierce, a writer for Esquire, was delusional enough to equate Bannon and Dr. David Duke, a man known for his open white nationalist and racialist views. “The hiring of Steve Bannon as a WH policy adviser is exactly the same as hiring David Duke,” Pierce hysterically proclaimed on Twitter.
The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that proudly seeks to advance pro-Israel interests, released a statement that it “strongly opposes the appointment of Steve Bannon as senior adviser and chief strategist in the White House.”
“It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’—a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists—is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’ ” remarked Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL. “We call on President-elect Trump to appoint and nominate Americans committed to the well-being of all our country’s people and who exemplify the values of pluralism and tolerance that make our country great.”
The ADL has since backpedaled, releasing a primer on Bannon and noting that it was unable to find anything that Bannon has said or written to be “anti-Semitic.”
Bannon’s supporters, and even some of his critics, have defended him and dismissed the hysterical and entirely baseless accusations that he is a “racist” and “anti-Semite.” Former editor-at-large of Breitbart Ben Shapiro told reporters that he never saw “any direct evidence that Bannon was an anti-Semite,” and also noted that Bannon and Breitbart are strong supporters of Israel. Indeed, Breitbart itself “was founded by Jews, is largely staffed by Jews, and has an entire section (Breitbart Jerusalem) dedicated to reporting on and defending the Jewish state of Israel,” Breitbart News CEO Larry Solov and Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow stated in August after Bannon joined the Trump campaign, which drew fierce criticism from the Hillary Clinton and her supporters.
Trump also has a number of Jewish advisers in his inner circle, including Jared Kushner, who is married to his daughter, Ivanka, and has close ties to right-wing politicians in Israel.
The baseless smearing of Bannon as an “anti-Semite” and “racist”—despite overwhelming evidence and proof to the contrary—represents yet another effort by the political and media establishment to derail Donald Trump’s agenda for America.
Ironically, the more hysterical and unhinged the media and political class becomes in their attempts to discredit and tarnish Trump and his now-forming administration, the more the American public supports the populist president-elect.
John Friend is a writer who lives in California.