With President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet already taking shape, some Americans are excited, though many others are considerably nervous. Count Maryland’s own Sen. Ben Cardin, Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Steny Hoyer among those on the nervous side.
Over the past couple days, all three Maryland legislators have called for Trump to rethink his pick of alt-right thought leader Mr. Steve Bannon as his chief of staff in the White House. Most recently, Bannon was the chief strategist for Donald Trump’s campaign, but he’s perhaps known best as the former executive chairman of far-right news hole Breitbart News. As Hoyer noted on Monday, Bannon’s news source “provides a voice to radical white-supremacist groups.”
Sen. Cardin said in a pointed statement that Bannon is a “proud poster-child for white nationalism, anti-Semitism and misogynistic views. Unless he can show a clear break from these divisive views, Stephen Bannon should not be allowed anywhere near the White House, let alone advising the President of the United States on all matters.”
Van Hollen was at once reflective and pointed with a quick post on Facebook linking to a Washington Post editorial board piece. “America’s story is rooted in our ongoing struggle to realize a more perfect union,” he wrote. “That’s who we are — and those who would renounce this history do not belong anywhere near the highest office in the land. The selection of Steve Bannon as a top Presidential advisor is abhorrent, and I call for his job offer to be rescinded.”
Hoyer, for his part, noted Bannon’s history of being charged domestic abuse and making anti-Semitic comments, saying those elements should disqualify him from contention.
The three Maryland lawmakers have joined a host of their colleagues in Congress and groups around the country condemning the appointment. Bannon’s editorial staff at Breitbart, meanwhile, have flooded their site with defenses of Bannon’s credibility and rejections of bad things he said.
As of today, it looks like the only Trump Cabinet candidate refusing to accept the role is noted former Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
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