There was a lot to unpack in President-elect Donald Trump's 60 Minutes interview on Nov. 13. "Stop it," Trump told his supporters who harass minority populations. But Trump appointing Steve Bannon contradicts this statement, Evan McMullin claimed on Twitter. Trump appointed Bannon, the former head of Breitbart, as his "chief strategist and senior counselor," according to a statement issued Sunday. Bannon is a controversial choice for the job, given his potential ties with the "alt-right," which has arguably promoted racism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism time and time again. In fact, Bannon himself has dubbed Breitbart the "platform for the alt-right."
"Saying 'stop it' to racist attacks means little when you name white supremacist darling Steve Bannon chief strategist in the very same day," McMullin wrote in a tweet.
The former independent presidential candidate isn't alone in his criticism of Trump's appointment of Bannon. Opposition to Bannon as chief strategist crossed party lines with Republicans, Democrats, independents, and non-partisan groups making statements against Bannon, NBC News reported. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman and possible front-runner for the next Democratic National Committee chair position, for example, claimed, "Mr. Bannon is adored by white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and the KKK," in a statement. And this isn't just talk; several white nationalist leaders, including head of the American Nazi Party Rocky J. Suhayda, and former head of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke, have publicly celebrated Bannon's appointment.
Considering Bannon headed Breitbart while it published articles with incendiary and offensive titles like "There's No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews" and "Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage," I would say McMullin and other critics of Bannon have a point. But Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who may also soon be appointed to a White House position, doesn't see it that way. Conway defended Trump's choice of Bannon, calling him a "brilliant tactician" according to Politico. She also dismissed claims that Bannon's alt-right connections had anything to do with the Trump campaign.
Conway, however, is firmly ignoring the fact that actions really do speak louder than words. By appointing Bannon, Trump has shown members of marginalized communities — who include people of color, women, Jewish people, and Muslim people — that he is prioritizing the views of a man who upholds the alt-right over their safety and inclusion in his administration.
While it may seem like there isn't much that can be done to remove Bannon from his position, you can still call your representative to protest Bannon. It's a long shot, but Trump may listen if enough people voice their disapproval of his chief strategist.