In one of his first official acts after the election, President-elect Donald Trump announced the appointment of a chief strategist even more bigoted and dangerous than he is: Steve Bannon. On Tuesday a number of Democratic senators decided they couldn't stand for that.
Senators Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), and Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen (Md.) held a press conference making it very clear that they did not support the hiring of Bannon, calling him a racist demagogue, and demanding Trump renounce him.
"Donald Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon is the absolute wrong message to send to Americans today. This is someone who has expressed racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT sentiments," said Stabenow. "This is someone whose views do not belong in the White House."
Merkley also launched a petition on MoveOn.org, "Tell Trump: Fire Steve Bannon," giving citizens a voice in the matter and to offer their support for the senators and congresspeople speaking out.
"The outburst of hate speech and attacks on women, immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, and so many others, is a direct consequence of a Trump campaign that embraced Steve Bannon's extreme and hateful worldview," the petitions states. "We call on Donald Trump to rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon, repudiate his horrific, racist, sexist, bigoted views, and call for an end to violence, hate speech, and intimidation."
Democratic Senators Cory Booker (N.J.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Al Franken (Minn.) also spoke separately against Bannon, while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday calling for immediate action. (For those of you who don't know Reid, he's the guy who called Trump a "spoiled brat" and a "human leech" on the Senate floor a few months ago).
See parts of Reid's speech below, including his stellar dig telling Trump to "Rise to the dignity of the office of president of the United States, instead of hiding behind your Twitter account."
The fact that these Democratic senators are already taking action against Steve Bannon is some good news; Trump doesn't need congressional approval to hire advisors, but if enough public officials voice their anger the issue will have to be addressed.
That means keep signing these petitions, but most importantly keep calling your representatives. These seven senators are a good start, but truly all elected officials, Democrat and Republican, should denounce Bannon, a man who does not represent the interests of the American people.
Top photo via Twitter (@SenJeffMerkley)
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