President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial incoming chief strategist told his hometown newspaper in a story published Monday that race-based nationalism has “no future” in America and that Trump must condemn racism and hatred.
“I don’t think it stands the test of logic, and there is no future for that, really, in America,” he said.
Speaking with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Steve Bannon was asked to address the alt-right, a fringe group made up of many white nationalists that became elevated during Trump’s campaign and to which the Bannon-run website, Breitbart News, catered.
Bannon at one point called the website “the platform for the alt-right,” and Breitbart has promoted controversial groups that fit in its mould.
A Breitbart post titled “an Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” for example, highlighted Richard Spencer — the leader of the National Policy Institute who gained mainstream attention last week for leading a gathering in Washington that included Nazi-esque salutes — on a list of “dangerously bright” alt-right intellectuals.
Bannon said he did not follow Spencer’s group or know much about it when asked about scenes from the white nationalist group’s conference. He told the Times-Dispatch that Breitbart’s mission calls for “more voices, not less,” with no one ideology dominating the site.
Trump can gain the support of African-Americans and Hispanics, he added, if a “unifying message” of education, safety, and job growth is delivered upon.
“And condemning any kind of form of racism or hatred that’s out there,” he added.
In a New York Times story published Sunday, a colleague of Bannon during his time in Hollywood said Bannon occasionally spoke of the genetic superiority of some people and once expressed desire to limit voting rights to property owners.
“I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,'” the writer, Julia Jones, recalled. “He said, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’ I said, ‘But what about Wendy?'” referring to Bannon’s assistant. “He said, ‘She’s different. She’s family.'”
But an African-American friend of Bannon from his time as an investment banker, who called Bannon his “only token white guy” at an annual New York dinner, said: “Hell no, he’s not a white nationalist.”
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