Leahy, Sanders And Welch Denounce Bannon Appointment

Nov 16, 2016

All three of Vermont’s Congressional delegates are voicing strong concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor.

“Bannon in the White House is a major mistake,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy in a tweet. “Instead of bringing the country together, it condones intolerance, hate and disinfomation.”

As NPR reported Tuesday, Bannon was executive chairman at the conservative news site Breitbart, which became an online platform for the fringe conservative movement known as the alt-right. Commentators such as Milo Yiannopoulos have used Breitbart as a platform to advocate for a white nationalist agenda while also decrying feminism and Islam.

David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, commended Bannon’s appointment, according to CNN. Also on CNN, nationally-syndicated radio host Glenn Beck called the alt-right movement "truly terrifying."

Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned Trump’s choice of Bannon as a White House strategist in an interview with NPR.

“It is a very, very bad appointment,” Sanders said. “I hope he rethinks it, and I hope that he understands that in the year 2016, we are not going back to a society rampant with racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia.”

Congressman Peter Welch called on Trump to remove Bannon.

“President-elect Trump should immediately rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor,” Welch said, according to a statement emailed by his office. “Mr. Bannon has proudly fostered a fringe conservative movement in this country that is rooted in anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. He has no place in the White House.”

Welch was one of a number of Democrats in Congress who signed on to a letter to Trump that calls on him to withdraw Bannon’s appointment.