(JTA) — A Jewish lawmaker’s letter asking that the White House appointment of Stephen Bannon be rescinded has received nearly unanimous support from his Jewish colleagues in the House of Representatives.
Some 169 House members, all Democrats, have signed on to the letter launched Wednesday in the House by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., with all but two of the 19 Jewish representatives signing. The two who have abstained are Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who is retiring at the end of his term in January. No Republicans have signed the letter.
The letter protests Donald Trump’s appointment of Bannon as his chief strategist and calls on the president-elect to rescind it. Naming Bannon, the letter suggests to Trump, “directly undermines your ability to unify the country.”
It notes Bannon’s former position as chairman of Breitbart News, a website that Bannon has called “a platform for the alt-right” — a loose movement of the far right whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.” The letter says Bannon’s “ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well-documented.”
“Mr. Bannon’s appointment sends the wrong message to people who have engaged in those types of activities, indicating that they will not only be tolerated, but endorsed by your Administration,” the letter reads, referring to recent attacks targeting religious and ethnic minorities. “Millions of Americans have expressed fear and concern about how they will be treated by the Trump Administration, and your appointment of Mr. Bannon only exacerbates and validates their concerns.”