Stephen Bannon in 2016..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The ADL and Democratic lawmakers sharply criticized President-elect Donald Trump's decision to choose Stephen Bannon, the former head of the right-wing website Breitbart News, as his senior counselor Sunday.
Trump also tapped Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff, saying that he and Bannon would be "working as equal partners to transform the federal government."
While praising the appointment of Priebus as a fitting candidate who had enjoyed a long career in politics and public service, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblat said that the organization opposes the appointment of Bannon because he and the alt-right movement he represents are "so hostile to core American values."
Greenblatt stated that "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.'"
The ADL called on Trump to instead "nominate Americans committed to the well-being of all our country's people and who exemplify the values of pluralism and tolerance that make our country great."
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Democrats condemned the Bannon appointment as well. Representative Adam Schiff tweeted: "Selection of Steve Bannon for senior WH role unsurprising but alarming. His alt-right, anti-Semitic & misogynistic views don't belong in WH."
Bannon, who served as CEO of Trump's presidential campaign, came under fire for alleged antisemitism in August.
The New York Daily News
reported at the time that court documents revealed Bannon's ex-wife's claim that he did not want the couple's daughters to attend Los Angeles's Archer School for Girls because the elite institution had many Jewish students enrolled.
According to Bannon's ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, Bannon "doesn't like Jews," did not like the way Jews "raise their kids to be 'whiny brats'" and didn't want his daughters going to school with Jews.
Piccard's statement was issued in a 2007 filing of a modification to their divorce agreement, which was originally finalized in 1997, NBC News reported. The documents also include charges of domestic violence. According to court records, Bannon was charged with three misdemeanors for attacking Piccard on February 22, 1996.
Bannon's spokeswoman, Alexandra Preate, denied the claims, saying "Mr. Bannon said he never said anything like that and proudly sent the girls to Archer for their middle school and high school education."Reuters contributed to this report.