Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, is a dangerous bigot.
“Stop it.” That’s the strongest rhetoric the President-Elect of the United States could muster in response to a celebratory outpouring of violent white hate that has followed his election. As people of color, women, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community rightfully wonder about their place in Trump’s U.S., his supporters have taken to the streets to threaten Muslims, literally grab women by the pussy, and feel the “N” word on their tongues in public for the first time in a long time. They have, as yet, shown no sign of “stopping it.”
As any 3-year-old who’s ever heard a fable can tell you, actions speak more loudly than words, and President-Elect Trump wasted no time in showing that, to the surprise of no one, his words are very quiet indeed. Compared to hiring the architect of all this white hate to be the most powerful advisor in your administration, “Stop it” may as well have been said in American Sign Language with the President-Elect’s laughably tiny, Tang-colored hands as the audience watched through the wrong end of binoculars.
Trump felt that the right action to lead off his time in power was hiring Steve Bannon, the I.M. Pei of modern race-baiting, as chief strategist and senior counsellor. Before this appointment, it was difficult to argue against letting the democratic process play out and see if President Trump would be any different from Candidate Trump. After, it’s difficult to see how Trump can possibly follow through on his election night promise to be a president for all Americans.
As CEO of the Breitbart “news network,” which he took over in 2012 after the death of its founder, Bannon worked at a goal that he once laughably described as “Leninist” because it was his goal to obliterate the political system. To Bannon and his alt-right army of trolls and fascists, this goal was best achieved in the short-term through articles with headlines like “Which Would You Rather Your Child Had? Feminism or Cancer?” and “Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage.” The latter, by the way, was days after alt-right psychopath Dylan Roof opened fire on a prayer meeting in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.
In the long-term, it was always Bannon’s goal to ingratiate himself into the political machine enough to disrupt it from within. Kurt Bardella, a former Breitbart employee, told reporter Ryan Lizza that Bannon had been determined to get close enough to power to wield his own: “When Sarah Palin was on the rise, he had found a way to become a part of that circle. When the Tea Party was on the rise, he seemed to be right there in that circle. When it was going to be Ted Cruz, he was there. When it was going to be Ben Carson for a hot second, he was there. He’s been someone who’s been in pursuit of that pipeline to power for a long time now.”
How Trump is comfortable with someone so obviously intent on his own power plays so close to his inner circle is a question for another day—the ego alone involved in a Trump/Bannon partnership would be incredible to behold. But one thing is absolutely certain: Trump doesn’t want his followers to “Stop it.” In fact, if his policy is in line with his chief advisor’s he’s more likely to want more animosity between races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions, and want it in short order.