This is Part 1 of a series of articles examining Donald Trump’s cabinet appointees and to extrapolate evidence alleging that they are extremists.
If the victory of Donald Trump was the subject of liberal hatred last week, the following week their acrimony seemed to have redirected to the president-elect’s cabinet appointees.
Within hours of confirming the names of the individuals he would be working with, Trump amassed a great deal of animosity for his future office-holders.
Mainstream media flooded viewers with sensationalist headlines, ranging from “President Trump’s Cabinet will be Filled with Deplorables” from Rolling Stone to “Trump is Stocking His Administration with White Nationalists” from the ultra-liberal Think Progress.
Among the names criticized were Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a war hero and decorated soldier whose only “crime” was to praise Russian president Vladimir Putin, and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani who as mayor saw a drastic reduction in crime rates of the city.
Yet, none of the names floated garnered as much attention (and criticism) as Stephen Bannon – Breitbart.com executive chairman and CEO of the Trump presidential campaign.
That article from the New Yorker states a quote from Bannon calling himself a “Leninist”, yet in the proceeding paragraph they brand him as a “far-right leader”.
The latter allegation seems questionable; Bannon after all gained prominence (or notoriety) working for Andrew Breitbart, a pro-Israel American Jew. They formed a rapport after collaborating on a project and Bannon was then appointed a board member of Breitbart.com.
Even The Intercept, generally a critic of the Trump campaign identified the pro-Israel rhetoric of Breitbart.com under Bannon’s leadership.
When news broke out of Steve Bannon’s appointment, Morton Klein – leader of the pro-Israel lobby the Zionist Organisation of America – quickly defended him from anti-Semitism allegations.
Also worth mentioning, when Bannon was elevated to the executive chairman of Breitbart one of the employees he promoted first was Joel Pollack – another pro-Israeli Jew – to the role of editor-in-chief.
That same Joel Pollack wrote an op-ed on Breitbart, defending Bannon from the mainstream media and declaring him, “a friend of the Jewish people and a defender of Israel.”
These do not sound like symptoms of an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic individual given how friendly he is to Zionist groups and how revered he is among prominent Jewish personalities.
The other charge laid out against Steve Bannon is that he is supposedly a “white nationalist“. The only shred of evidence the article presents to back that claim is his involvement with Breitbart.
A quote by Michelle Keegan, head of left-wing think tank, calls Breitbart.com as “a home for the white nationalist right that elevates racist, xenophobic, antisemitic tirades and conspiracy theories.”
The connections that Keegan has already indicates that her statement is biased, but the argument for Bannon being a white nationalist is pretty much that of guilt by association.
An article by Think Progress, another left-leaning publication critical of the Trump campaign, also backed up their accusations of Bannon by quoting Ben Shapiro – Breitbart.com’s former editor-at-large who left on his own volition due to his disapproval of the Trump campaign.
However, Shapiro’s argument shares semblance to that of Keegan and the majority of mainstream media in that Bannon is being depicted as a white nationalist because he runs a website frequented by the type.
As with any presidential campaign, a number of undesirable individuals latch onto a candidate for reasons only known to them.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who is widely considered a progressive hero due to his “New Deal” policies, was supported by voters who supported putting Japanese-Americans into internment camps.
Trump happens to be supported by white supremacists, Steve Bannon’s Breitbart.com happens to be frequented by white nationalists – neither of them had any control over that.
Answering the allegations himself, Bannon refuted such claims of white nationalism and instead labelled himself as an “economic nationalist” in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
In the interview he says: “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia.” Bannon then adds that the task of the Trump presidency is to ensure these Americans “do not get fucked over anymore”.
He also indicates his desire to run a successful first term to ensure re-election in 2020 by a landslide, looking to increase the vote share from non-white Americans.
Again, this rhetoric coming from Bannon himself – as opposed to the liberal, mainstream media – shows no semblance of a white nationalist demagogue. Rather, what this demonstrates is vision and a gumption to be successful in the task at hand.
In other words, Bannon’s words shows competency.
At the end of the day, that is what matters most for any government appointee -competency. That I believe, Bannon has in abundance.
He has a masters in security studies and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a plethora of work experience with top corporations including Goldman Sachs. If Bannon was an extremist of any stretch, then he would be classified as extremely competent.