BY: Nisreen Eadeh/ The reality of a President Trump is becoming less foggy with each passing day since the November 8 elections. This week, Trump has begun naming members of his staff who will join him in the White House in January.
While many Americans are choosing to be hopeful for a positive future with less political divide, others are becoming increasingly skeptical of Trump’s ability to unify the country. Much of this concern is stemming from Trump’s White House picks, namely Stephen “Steve” Bannon, who runs the popular conservative news website, Breitbart.
Trump named Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist on Sunday, alarming all corners of the Internet except alt-right groups. The president-elect made the announcement just days after saying it was “time to come together as one united people.”
Bannon is currently the executive chairman of Breitbart News Network, and was Trump’s campaign chief from August 2016 up through the election. The website’s founder, Andrew Breitbart, established Breitbart.com as a pro-Israel news outlet to counter what he saw as overt media bias against Israel. Countless Arab Americans would disagree with this notion that the mainstream media is anti-Israel, but Bannon has moved forward with Breitbart’s original message since taking over in 2012.
Today, Breitbart is heavily criticized as a racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic, anti-immigrant, and inaccurate source of news. Although its purpose was to convey a pro-Israel message, since Bannon has been executive chairman, Breitbart is even called anti-Semitic. The Southern Poverty Law Center refers to Bannon as the “main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.” There is endless documentation of Bannon’s extremist, hateful views, which will now be whispered into the ears of the most powerful man in the country.
For Arab Americans, Bannon’s influence over domestic and foreign policy could be dangerous. Bannon has made it clear that he is not a fan of Arab Americans, Islam, or the Arab world. Headlines alone from Breitbart.com indicate that there is a grim distrust of Arabs of all backgrounds.
Here are some of Breitbart’s most recognizably anti-Arab and Islamophobic headlines:
Trump has echoed similar sentiments to those of Bannon in regards to minorities and the media. During his campaign, Trump accused the so-called mainstream media of being biased against him. And at his rallies, Trump encouraged supporters to “hiss and jeer” at the pen of journalists set up on the outskirts of his audience. Additionally, Trump has advocated for limited First Amendment rights for journalists as punishment for those who have been “unfair” to him. Trump has even gone so far as to threaten to sue major news sources if he won the election.
Put together, the behavioral histories of Trump and Bannon could mean that the legalized suppression of minority and liberal voices are a possibility for the country’s future. People close to Bannon insist that he is not anti-Semitic or racist, but Breitbart’s content says otherwise to readers. If Trump truly wanted to bring the country together, he would not have chosen such a visibly xenophobic chief strategist who hurls hate to minorities for a living.