Merkley harshly criticizes 'white nationalist' Bannon's appointm - KPTV - FOX 12

Merkley harshly criticizes 'white nationalist' Bannon's appointment to Trump White House

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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). In this Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, file photo, Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). In this Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, file photo, Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York.
Senator Jeff Merkley (KPTV file image) Senator Jeff Merkley (KPTV file image)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Senator Jeff Merkley had some harsh words for President-elect Donald Trump following the appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor.

"There should be no sugarcoating the truth here: Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government," Merkley said in a statement Monday morning.

Bannon is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, a politically conservative website that aligns itself with the alt-right movement, which has drawn accusations of racism, white nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Merkley criticized the site's editorial slant and called on Trump to rescind Bannon's appointment.

Here's Merkley's full statement:

"There should be no sugarcoating the truth here: Donald Trump just invited a white nationalist into the highest reaches of the government. Bannon has boasted that he made Breitbart News 'the platform for the alt-right,' which is the politically correct term for the resurrection of white nationalism. 

"Under Bannon's leadership, Breitbart News created news sections such as 'Black Crime' and compared the work of Planned Parenthood to the Holocaust. Under his leadership, Breitbart News ran this headline following the massacre of nine church-goers at an African American church in Charleston: 'Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.' He called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a 'renegade Jew.' Steve Bannon bears substantial responsibility for the open and disgusting acts of hatred that are sweeping across our nation.

"After running a campaign built on inciting divisions and hate, Donald Trump has claimed he wants to unite America. Yet he has done nothing meaningful to stop the wave of hate crimes and hate speech he has unleashed, and now has brought that strategy right into the Oval Office.  

"Donald Trump needs to forcefully denounce the hateful actions and efforts to intimidate people that some of his supporters are undertaking and rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon."

Merkley joins a growing list of people criticizing Trump for choosing Bannon for his team.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, posted on Twitter Sunday that his organization "strongly opposes" the appointment.

Republican National Committee chairman and newly-designated White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Monday defended Bannon, saying the two make a great team.

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