Senate Democrats slam Trump over Steve Bannon choice

Democrats slam U.S. President-elect Donald Trump over his choice of Stephen Bannon as a key aide, saying it would elevate the white nationalist movement into the top levels of the White House.

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 15, 2016) (SENATE TV) – Senate Democrats slammed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday (November 15) over his choice of right-wing firebrand Stephen Bannon as a key aide, demanding he rescind the appointment, just one day after announcing it.

“If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said. “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. So I say to Donald Trump, take responsibility. Rise to the dignity of the office of the President of the United States instead of hiding behind your twitter account.”

Making his first appointments since last week’s upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump picked Bannon as his chief strategist and counselor and Washington insider Reince Priebus as his chief of staff on Sunday, saying the two would share the task of steering his administration as “equal partners.”

Democrats and advocacy groups on the left called Bannon a promoter of racism and misogyny and noted his appointment has been applauded by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

“We are calling upon him to exclude the discrimination and the hatred from the ranks of his administration, and specifically Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon is the absolute wrong message to send to Americans today,” said Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, standing next to a giant sign reading “Fire Bannon”.

“It is time for president Trump to act boldly, and powerfully and put the nation on a path of healing,” said Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was an editor of Breitbart News, a website which has promoted far-right views.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, speaking after his Republican colleagues nominated him to another term as Speaker, said the country would unite behind President-elect Trump and his team.

“This leadership team is unified. This entire house Republican conference is unified,” Ryan said.