|Donald Trump wants controversial Steve Bannon as one of his top advisors.|
THE NOMINATION of Steve Bannon as President-elect Donald Trump's chief strategist might be more than a little worrisome to Asian/Americans.
If you didn't already know that Bannon is the CEO of a news website that celebrates the "glorious" history of the Confederate flag, and under whose leadership has become the chief outlet for ultraconservative, racist views of the alt-right and whose biased and often misleading reports under the guise of real and accurate news is the primary source of information for Trump, then the following should give you pause.
In an interview in November 2015 with candidate Donald Trump, during which host Bannon fawned and manipulated his guest by massaging his ego, Bannon put forth some views about Asian/Americans which suggests he harbors strong anti-Asian sentiments.
Trump told Bannon that he was concerned that foreign students attending Ivy League schools have to return home because of U.S. immigraiton laws.
"I think that's terrible," Trump said on the show, referring to immigrants from Asia who went to "Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Stanford, all the greats" and then got thrown out of the country.
"We have to be careful of that, Steve," said Trump. "You know, we have keep our talented people in this country.
After a pause, Bannon mustered up all his intellect and said, "Um."
"I think you agree with that," continued Trump. "Do you agree with that?"
"When two-thirds or three-quaters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think ..." Bannon paused trying to think of a way to say his next statement without sounding racist. "A country is more than an economy," he finally said. "We're a civic society."
Bannon’s “facts” were, in fact, well off. A May 2015 study found that 27 percent of professionals working in Silicon Valley companies were Asian or Asian-American. They represented less than 19 percent of managers and under 14 percent of executives, according to the report.
Rep. Judy Chu, D, Calif., wrote a letter to Trump protesting Bannon's appointment. "At Breitbart News, Bannon, she said, "aggressive pushed stories that promoted anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism."
Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill,” the Southern Poverty Law Center tweeted on Sunday, linking to Breitbart articles under Bannon’s leadership with headlines including: “Hoist it High and Proud: the Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage,” written two weeks after the a mass killing of Black parishioners at a church in Charleston last year.
The SPLC has identified Bannon as a member of a white nationalist hate group.
“The ADL strongly opposes the appointment of Steve Bannon as senior advisor and chief strategist in the White House," said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Sunday.
"It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house.’”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alternative Right, or Alt-Right, “is a loose set of far-right ideologies at the core of which is a belief that ‘white identity’ is under attack through policies prioritizing multiculturalism, political correctness and social justice and must be preserved, usually through white-identified online communities and physical ethno-states.” SPLC adds that “racist ideas, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas –– all key tenets making up [this] emerging racist ideology.”
“The appointment of Stephen Bannon as a top Trump administration strategist sends the disturbing message that anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and white nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations, in a statement Sunday. “We urge President-elect Trump to reconsider this ill-advised appointment if he truly seeks to unite Americans.”
Having Steve Bannon as one of Trump's close advisors is a frightening prospect considering his apparent world view.