On Sunday, Donald Trump announced that former executive chairman of Breitbart News and Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon will serve as chief strategist in the incoming administration, working as “equal partners” with chief-of-staff-to-be Reince Priebus. Neo-Nazis around the country are thrilled.
White supremacists of all stripes—whether they call themselves white separatists, white nationalists, the alt-right, or just straight-up Nazis—have supported Donald Trump’s candidacy from its inception. Bannon’s move from the movement’s flagship site to the campaign itself over the summer was seen as an enormous victory. That Bannon should only gain more power as Trump enters the White House has the racists and bigots who put him there giddy with the possibility that he really did mean all those things he said during the campaign.
“Strategist is the best possible position for Steve Bannon in the Trump White House,” Richard Spencer, who runs the white nationalist “think tank” National Policy Institute, wrote on Twitter. “Bannon will answer directly to Trump and focus on the big picture, not get lost in the weeds.”
Rocky Suhayda, the chairman of the American Nazi Party, told CNN that he was “a wee bit surprised” that Trump actually picked Bannon for such a high-ranking position. “I thought that his stable of Washington insiders would have objected too vociferously,” Suhayda wrote to CNN in an email. “Perhaps The Donald IS for ‘REAL’ and is not going to be another controlled puppet directed by the usual ‘Wire Pullers,’ and does indeed intend to ROCK the BOAT? Time will tell.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” blog points out two other prominent white supremacists celebrating the appointment:
Tony Hovater, a key member of the white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), who recently ran as a candidate for a New Carlisle, Ohio, City Council seat (and lost) responded gleefully on Facebook to Bannon’s appointment. “What timeline are we even on anymore? We’re like one or two degrees of separation away from the fucking President.”
Ken Reed, the national director of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Renaissance Society, posted a news story about the Bannon appointment to a Facebook group with the comment, “Can you say WINNING boys and girls???” and followed with the hashtags #WhiteLivesMatter and #AltRight.
“Bringing Steve Bannon into the White House is an alarming signal that President-elect Trump remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign,” minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement today. “There must be no sugarcoating the reality that a white nationalist has been named chief strategist for the Trump Administration.”
Bannon’s view of race, according to Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, is that “white people have lost power and privilege. That’s wrong and needs to be fixed by taking protections away from people of color and immigrants. Other groups will be pushing back, but because someone has staked out such a racist, bigoted position, that moves the compromise.”
“Trump is putting people into power who are incompetent, arguably suffering from mental illness, neofascist, antifeminist, misogynist, white nationalists,” Berlet told Jezebel. “It’s horrifying. People need to resist, in any way they feel comfortable.”