WASHINGTON ― President-elect Donald Trump should cut ties with Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon, whose website traffics in white nationalist viewpoints, if he wants to reassure people who are afraid in the wake of his election, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday.
Democrats and civil rights advocates have widely criticized Trump’s selection of Bannon, pointing to his website’s record of promoting alt-right, homophobic and misogynistic ideas ― not to mention some of Bannon’s own offensive remarks. White nationalists have hailed Bannon’s appointment.
Reid, in his first Senate floor speech since Trump won the White House, recounted the tales of children, immigrants and other Americans who are have been abused by Trump supporters in the last week.
“Many of our fellow Americans believe that Trump’s election validates the kind of bullying, aggressive behavior Trump modeled on a daily basis,” Reid said. “How can we teach our children that bragging about sexual assault is abhorrent if we rush into the arms of the man who dismissed it as ‘locker room talk’?”
“By placing a champion of white supremacists a step away from the Oval Office, what message does Trump send to the young girl who woke up Wednesday in Rhode Island afraid to be a woman of color in America?” he asked. “It’s not a message of healing.”
Trump counseled worried Americans during an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday, and told them not to be afraid. However, Reid said Trump needs to reconsider hiring Bannon if he really wants to ease the nation’s fears and heal divisions.
Healing the wounds he inflicted will take more than words. Talk is cheap and tweets are cheaper. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
“Healing the wounds he inflicted will take more than words. Talk is cheap and tweets are cheaper,” Reid said.
“If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon. Rescind it. Don’t do it. Think about this. Don’t do it,” Reid added. “As long as a champion of racial division is a step away from the Oval Office, it will be impossible to take Trump’s efforts to heal the nation seriously.”
He ended by appealing to Trump’s sense of responsibility.
“Rise to the dignity of the office of the President of the United States instead of hiding behind your Twitter account,” Reid said. “And show America that racism, bullying and bigotry have no place in your White House or America.”