EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline and other Democrats are increasing calls for President-elect Donald Trump to drop former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, whom Trump named as White House Chief Strategist.
Bannon has come under fire for Breitbart’s ties to the “Alt-Right” movement and it’s purported links to white nationalism.
In a letter to Trump that Cicilline is circulating on Capitol Hill, he writes,
“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.”
Cicilline’s office says more than 100 of his colleagues have signed the letter. Among them was Congressman Jim Langevin, who released a statement on Wednesday.
“My office has been absolutely flooded with phone calls, emails, and social media comments from constituents who are rightfully afraid of the influence that Bannon could potentially have on public policy in this administration. While the President-elect has the right to surround himself with the advisers of his choice, I believe this appointment sends a dangerous message to the American people,” said Langevin. “I have always tried to work in a bipartisan way, and I am ready to work with the incoming administration, as well, but I am not willing to do so at the expense of common decency.
“As I said earlier this week, we cannot let Bannon’s divisive behavior and rhetoric be normalized,” he continued. “This isn’t about political affiliations; this is about cultivating an environment in this country where people of every race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation feel safe, valued, and empowered.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Senate Democrats said in a news conference that elevating Bannon to a top White House post undermines Trump’s claims that he wants to unite the country.
“Actions speak louder than words. It’s easy to look at a TV camera and tell people to stop the hate. But when you say that and look at the TV camera, and the next moment the action you take is to appoint Steve Bannon? You’re sending a very different and stronger message in the opposition direction.” – Sen. Chris Van Hollen Jr., D-Maryland
Members of Trump’s staff have defended Bannon, denying claims that he is prejudiced.
Unlike cabinet positions, Trump’s picks for his White House Staff do not require congressional approval.