Fears of ‘alt-right’ anti-Semitic support for Trump mark latest campaign hire

Steve Bannon is Donald Trump’s newest high-level hire for his fledgling presidential campaign staff.

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August 18, 2016 19:18
1 minute read.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night watch party at the Treasure

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night watch party at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on February 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.. (photo credit: ETHAN MILLER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

WASHINGTON – A strain of the Republican Party loosely categorized as a coalition of the “alternative Right” has found a home in recent years on the pages of Breitbart.com, a site that has offered a controversial brand of reporting and conservative commentary since its founding a decade ago.

The former head of that site, Steve Bannon, is Donald Trump’s newest high-level hire for his fledgling presidential campaign staff, which has for months been fighting off a reputation that its base of supporters are bigoted and embittered white males.

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On the day of Bannon’s hire, the site featured an article calling the Anti-Defamation League a “one hallowed” organization that had been transformed and was now defending Jew-haters by condemning “Trump’s call Monday to ban anti-Semites from entering the United States,” i.e. his proposal to introduce religion and ideology tests for potential immigrants and asylum-seekers. “Sadly, for most American Jews, liberalism is much more than an element of Judaism, it is their Judaism, and hence their religion,” the article reads.

“As American Jews move farther to the Left, they grow not only less attached to Israel but increasingly hostile to it,” it continues, adding: “Things have become so Orwellian inside the mainstream liberal Jewish world.”

Another piece from the same day accuses Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and a leader of the “Never Trump” movement, of playing the “anti-Semitism card” for making note of a previous article that Bannon had run on the site accusing him of being a “renegade Jew” for opposing Trump’s candidacy.

In a Bloomberg News profile of Bannon, reporter Joshua Green said that he had spoken with Andrew Breitbart before the website founder’s death. According to Green, Breitbart “described Bannon, with sincere admiration, as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement”– referring to the Nazi propagandist and director of the film Triumph of the Will.

“Trump has decided to double down on his most small, nasty and divisive instincts by turning his campaign over to someone who is best known for running a so-called news site [that traffics in] racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on Wednesday.


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