President-elect Donald Trump’s appointed chief strategist has a Facebook page that is linked to an openly racist Facebook group, according to a Mother Jones report.
The apparent Facebook page of Steve Bannon is connected to Vigilant Patriots, a conservative Facebook group that posts racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Islamic pictures and memes and has called for President Obama to be executed. Others in the group have posted photos of Obama dressed in an SS uniform and Obama sitting on a truck filled with watermelons while lauding others who have called Obama racial epithets.
Mother Jones reported that Bannon, whose apparent Facebook page is sparse and not updated, joined the group seven years ago. The group has nearly 3,600 members. Facebook told Mother Jones it would not confirm whether it was Bannon’s page, and though it’s not entirely clear that the page belongs to Bannon, Mother Jones reported that it “does appear to be legitimate.”
Two Trump spokespeople did not respond to a Daily Dot request for comment about whether Bannon’s Facebook page was real and whether the Trump transition team was OK with that affiliation.
Bannon is the former executive director of the alt-right Breitbart News, and white nationalists have applauded Trump’s move to make him such an important figure on his transitional team. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck recently said Bannon has a “clear tie to white nationalists.” Beck added recently on his radio show:
“He’s a nightmare and he’s the chief adviser to the president of the United States now. He’s built Breitbart as a platform for the alt-right. He is on record saying that. He’s on record defining the alt-right. He knows what it is. He is a guy who wants to tear this system down and replace it with a new system. He is a frightening … No, he is a terrifying man. A terrifying man.”
The Trump campaign has described him in more positive terms. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said this week the criticism of Bannon’s viewpoints has been unfair.
“I promise you he’s not as scary, and he is as brilliant a tactician—and our campaign general, frankly, on the field—as everyone is also saying,” she said. “I know him well, I worked hand-in-glove with him. I feel that these charges are very unfair.”