Warning: Some of the links below lead to highly offensive Breitbart.com content.
The horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend have spurred a renewed debate on the Trump administration’s disgraceful tolerance — and even embrace — of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and their sympathizers. President Trump’s reluctance to unequivocally condemn racist and anti-Semitic extremism may have had something to do with the fact that numerous members of his senior staff have well-established links to white nationalist groups and figures. Here’s what you should know about some of the worst and most prominent offenders:
Title: White House Chief Strategist
Qualifications: Investment banker and former editor of Breitbart News
Steve Bannon serves as the White House Chief Strategist. The announcement of Bannon’s hiring set off a torrent of criticism, given Bannon’s close ties to the extreme right. As the editor of Breitbart News, Bannon presided over the leading website and mouthpiece of the “alt-right” movement, which the Anti-Defamation League has deemed “a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart trafficked extensively in racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and homophobia.
Title: Senior Counterterrorism Advisor to President Trump
Qualifications: Has a dubious PhD and close friends in the Hungarian far right.
Sebastian Gorka is a senior counterterrorism advisor to Trump, and reportedly a favorite of the president, who enjoys Gorka’s fiery television appearances. Prior to joining the White House, Gorka was well-known for his Islamophobic positions and advocacy. He’s long argued that Islam is a naturally violent religion and has supported the monitoring of American mosques. Just a few months before joining the Trump administration, Gorka was fired from the FBI, where he had been employed to give analytical lectures on terrorism that he turned, instead, into vicious anti-Muslim diatribes.
But more recently, The Forward uncovered Gorka’s deep ties to a Nazi-allied Hungarian group — and evidence that he’s sworn allegiance to them. They’ve also revealed other disturbing associations with anti-Semitic institutions. As recently as 2007, Gorka founded a new political party with former leaders of Jobbik, a Hungarian neo-Nazi party. Gorka has also served as an advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who Senator John McCain has called a “neo-fascist dictator.” He has penned a number of pieces for Magyar Demokrata, an openly anti-Semitic Hungarian paper. While Gorka himself has tried to steer clear of overt anti-Semitism, his ties to neo-Nazis run deep.
In the White House, Gorka has continued to dabble in extremism and peddle conspiracy theories. Last week, Gorka insinuated that a terrorist attack on a Minnesota mosque could have been a false flag attack carried out by “left-wing individuals.” When pressed on why Trump was far quicker to condemn another recent attack in London, on which Trump quickly blamed “Islamic extremists” Gorka responded that it was “obvious in that case who the perpetrators were.”
Title: Senior Advisor for Policy to President Trump
Qualifications: Worked for some of the most extreme members of Congress, has a glowing endorsement from Ann Coulter.
A former staffer to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller brings his own long-running associations with white supremacists to his role as Senior Policy Advisor to President Trump. Miller, who is himself Jewish, was allegedly a close associate of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer during their time at Duke University.
While Miller has since denounced Spencer and denied any association, he has made a name for himself in Washington as an outspoken ultranationalist. He has worked for some of the most extreme members of Congress — including Rep. Michele Bachmann. During his time as then-Senator Session’s Communications Director, he was reportedly instrumental in blocking efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. In that role, he built close ties to Steve Bannon and the alt-right.
Extremists like Ann Coulter welcomed Trump’s hiring of Miller during the campaign. They haven’t been disappointed since. During his short tenure in the White House, Miller has played a role in the formulation of some of the Trump administration’s most abhorrent initiatives and rhetoric, including the original iteration of the the refugee ban that was blocked in court. Miller came under fire recently for a heated exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta over immigration, where he seemed to imply that Emma Lazarus’s famous poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty is un-American. During the exchange, he accused Accosta of harboring a “cosmopolitan bias” — a historical xenophobic and anti-Semitic epithet.
Tell General Kelly: Fire Bannon, Miller and Gorka