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The Anti-Defamation League on Sunday criticized Donald Trump’s choice of conservative media executive Stephen Bannon as senior counselor and chief West Wing strategist.
Bannon — who has built a reputation as a brilliant yet polarizing figure, even among conservatives — was executive chairman of Breitbart News before being named as Trump’s campaign chair in August.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued a statement Sunday saying the organization “strongly opposes” Bannon’s appointment.
“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,'” he said. “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.”
He added in a tweet that Bannon “and his alt-right are so hostile to core American values.”
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 14, 2016
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ national executive director, Nihad Awad, also tweeted his opposition to Bannon’s appointment.
We urge President-elect Trump to reconsider the ill-advised appointment of white nationalist #StephenBannon if he seeks to unite Americans.
— Nihad Awad ???? ??? (@NihadAwad) November 14, 2016
He added in a statement: “The appointment of Stephen Bannon as a top Trump administration strategist sends the disturbing message that anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and White nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House. We urge President-elect Trump to reconsider this ill-advised appointment if he truly seeks to unite Americans.”
The New York Times noted Sunday that Bannon’s appointment “signal[s] an embrace of the fringe ideology long advanced by Mr. Bannon and of a continuing disdain for the Republican establishment.”
Bannon has deep ties to the entertainment-media industry that dates back decades and includes plowing millions he banked on an early investment in the Seinfeld sitcom into a string of movies aimed at the political right.
Before joining the Trump campaign, Bannon advised Trump in an unofficial capacity for months, telling him to be his combative self, while other experts advised him to tone down the rhetoric and moderate his agenda, including his tough stance on illegal immigration.
Bloomberg Businessweek last year dubbed Bannon “the most dangerous political operative in America.”
Meanwhile, the ADL commended Trump on his choice of Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff: “Priebus has had a long career in politics and public life, and we wish him well in his new role.”
8:25 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14: Updated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ statement.
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