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 has catered.
Bannon at one point called the website “the platform for the alt-right,” and Breitbart has promoted controversial groups that fit in that mold.
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.
When asked about scenes from the white nationalist group’s conference, Bannon said he did not follow Spencer’s group or know much about it. 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, Bannon said, if he delivers on a “unifying message” of education, safety, and job growth.
“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’s during his time in Hollywood said Bannon occasionally spoke of a genetic superiority of some people and once expressed a desire to limit voting rights to property owners.
“I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,'” the colleague, 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.'”