On the campaign trail, Donald Trump vowed to "drain the swamp" on Capitol Hill. Instead, he's made clear with his staff appointments so far that his intention is to pump it full of toxic sludge, nourishing the monsters and goblins who burble beneath its surface.
On Sunday, for example, Trump's transition team announced that former campaign chief executive and Breitbart Media Chairman Steve Bannon would serve as President Trump's chief strategist and senior council. Bannon, who dresses his racist and xenophobic rhetoric in the gauzy veil of "nationalism," will share power with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus who was appointed Chief of Staff.
"It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the 'alt-right'—a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed Anti-Semites and racists—is slated to be a senior staff member in 'the people's house,'" said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
As if Bannon's record of bigotry and accusations of domestic violence and voter fraud weren't enough to truly terrify us, the Washington Post scoured his spooky radio interviews with Trump during the campaign. There are nine of those with a cumulative two hours of one-on-one babble, and they further illustrate Bannon's horrorshow belief system. To pluck one remark from the many that may hit home in Silicon Valley, here's Bannon on Asian people in technology:
“When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think.. ” Bannon trailed off. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.”
For the record, The National Foundation for American Policy found in March that "51 percent, or 44 out of 87, of the country’s $1 billion startup companies had at least one immigrant founder."
WaPo observes that throughout the interviews for Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM's Patriot radio, Bannon flatters and coaxes Trump, calling him "sir" and playing "bad cop" to Trump's "good." When Bannon made the above comment about Silicon Valley, he positioned his anti-immigrant stance as nearly absolute, which even Trump appeared to question.
“We have to be careful of that, Steve. You know, we have to keep our talented people in this country,” said Trump, having just mentioned Ivy League students. “I think you agree with that,” Trump asked Bannon. “Do you agree with that?”
Apparently not. Later, Trump added that “I still want people to come in... but I want them to go through the process.” Bannon's rejoinder: “You got to remember, we’re Breitbart. We’re the know-nothing vulgarians." Not anymore. You're the Chief Strategist for the President of the United States, sir.