No white nationalism in White House: Washington state Democrats deliver verdict

Nov 16, 2016

Bellingham Herald: No white nationalism in White House: Washington state Democrats deliver verdict
By Rob Hotakainen

WASHINGTON - Washington state Democrats in the U.S. House delivered a unanimous verdict on Wednesday: Stephen Bannon must go.

All six joined a group of 169 House Democrats that called on President-elect Donald Trump to rescind his appointment of Bannon as a chief strategic adviser due to his ties to the white nationalist movement.

“This isn’t the kind of person I think ought to be advising the president – this is the kind of person a president-elect should be avoiding at all costs,” said Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen.

Democratic Rep.-elect Pramila Jayapal, who will replace Rep. Jim McDermott in January, called Bannon “a known racist” and said his elevation as a close aide to Trump is “just terrifying.”

“It’s just remarkable, just horrendous, absolutely horrendous to have somebody who’s a clear white supremacist leader in that position,” she said.

Led by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the group of 169 sent a letter to Trump saying that “bigotry, anti-Semitism and xenophobia should have no place in our society, and they certainly have no place in the White House.”

All six Washington state House Democrats signed it: Larsen, McDermott and Reps. Adam Smith, Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer and Suzan DelBene.

Washington state Republican Rep. Dave Reichert defended Trump’s right to select Bannon, the executive editor of the Breitbart website and CEO of Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I don’t know Mr. Bannon and I don’t know Mr. Trump. …. But if I were Mr. Trump, I would surround myself with people that I trust and who have knowledge and information and wisdom that will help me do the best job that I can,” Reichert said.

Reichert, who did not back Trump during the presidential campaign, said that many critics of Bannon are also calling people who voted for Trump racists.

“People judge people and sometimes there’s a little inkling of accuracy and most of the times not,” he said.

Larsen said the appointment of Bannon sends a clear signal “of where the president-elect has always been and how he plans to run his presidency.”

“And I think that is terrible for our country,” Larsen said.