170 House Democrats and 15K+ Lawyers
Called on Trump to Fire Steve Bannon
Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline organized the letter.
There were, however, several non-retiring House Democrats who did not sign including Berniecrat Tulsi Gabbard who was at one point angling for a position in the Trump administration.
Jim Costa (CA-16) / Henry Cuellar (TX-28) / Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) / Dan Lipinski (IL-03) / Collin Peterson (MN-07) / Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) / Bobby Rush (IL-01) / David Scott (GA-13) / Brad Sherman (CA-30) / Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) / Filemon Vela (TX-34) / Pete Visclosky (IN-01)
The letter is below.
Dear President-elect Trump:
Immediately following your victory, many Americans were optimistic and hopeful that you would take the steps necessary to unify our country following the divisive and contentious election. In your election night speech you said, “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. It is time for us to come together as one united people.” Unfortunately, your appointment of Stephen Bannon, whose ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well-documented, directly undermines your ability to unite the country. As elected representatives of millions of Americans from diverse backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities, we strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to appoint Mr. Bannon to White House Chief Strategist.
Since the election there have been a number of incidents across the country in which minorities, including Muslim Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Jewish Americans, have been the targets of violence, harassment and intimidation. Mr. Bannon’s appointment sends the wrong message to people who have engaged in those types of activities, indicating that they will not only be tolerated, but endorsed by your Administration. Millions of Americans have expressed fear and concern about how they will be treated by the Trump Administration and your appointment of Mr. Bannon only exacerbates and validates their concerns.
As the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, Mr. Bannon repeatedly and aggressively pushed stories that promote anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism. During an interview last summer, Mr. Bannon bragged that Breitbart was “the platform for the alt-right,” a movement that upholds White Nationalism while strongly rejecting diversity in any form. Under Mr. Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart has referred to a leading Republican who opposed your election as a “Renegade Jew,” suggested “Young Muslims in the West are a ticking time bomb,” declared that the “Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage,” and praised the alt-right as a “smarter” version of “old-school racist skinheads.”
Disturbingly, leading white nationalists like former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke, American Nazi Party Chairman Rocky J. Suhadya, Richard Spencer, Peter Brimelow, and Brad Griffin have praised the news of Mr. Bannon’s appointment. We believe it should concern you that civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, are widely opposed to Mr. Bannon’s appointment.
We strongly believe that Mr. Bannon’s appointment will not allow the country to heal and come together as one. As one of your top advisors, the White House chief strategist will help set the tone for your administration. The person in this role must be prepared to serve the interests of all Americans, not those of a select few.
Once again, we strongly urge you to rescind this appointment immediately and build a diverse White House staff who are committed to the core American values of inclusiveness, diversity and tolerance.
Nancy Leong , a professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm School of Law, got over 15,000 lawyers to call on members of Congress to “take all possible measures” to make Trump “rescind his appointment of Mr. Bannon”.
The letter is below:
Dear Members of Congress,
We are attorneys whose political views span the ideological spectrum. We write to ask that you call upon President-elect Trump to rescind his appointment of Stephen Bannon as White House Chief Strategist.
As attorneys, we swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. We committed to protect the institutions upon which our democracy depends. We committed to provide zealous representation for all our clients, regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.
Mr Bannon has also enabled and promoted white supremacy. Under his leadership, Breitbart News has become what Mr Bannon himself describes as “a platform for the alt-right” – another term for white nationalism. Through Breitbart, Mr Bannon has intentionally legitimised racism, anti-Semitism, and other hate-based ideologies. Such bigotry runs counter to the values enshrined in the Constitution we promised to defend. Indeed, it threatens democracy itself by undermining the equality of all citizens.
Of course we do not dispute that Mr Bannon has the right to voice his opinions. Indeed, some of us have devoted our careers to safeguarding a robust First Amendment that protects individuals, the media, and other organisations. But these extreme and hateful views do not belong in the White House.
This is not a partisan issue. The white supremacy and political insurgency that Mr Bannon has embraced and amplified contradicts everything we stand for as attorneys and as Americans.
President-elect Trump has promised to be “a president for all Americans.” The selection of Mr Bannon as a key adviser communicates exactly the opposite. We call upon you to take all possible measures to ensure that Mr Trump rescinds his appointment of Mr Bannon.