segunda-feira, 14 de novembro de 2016

Who are Trump appointees Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon? / Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon denies antisemitic remarks

Who are Trump appointees Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon?
A Washington insider who could help push Trump’s agenda through Congress and the chair of a far-right website who has been accused of peddling white supremacist rhetoric

Nadia Khomami
Monday 14 November 2016 11.32 GMT

Donald Trump has named Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff and Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counsellor, describing them as “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory”.

The president-elect has said that Priebus and Bannon, neither of whom have served in elected office, will work as “equal partners to transform the federal government”.

Stephen Bannon
Bannon, 62, replaced former lobbyist Paul Manafort as Trump’s campaign chief when Manafort left after reports of his past ties to pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politicians.

Bannon was the executive chairman of the far-right website Brietbart News for much of the past decade. The site is the most widely read conservative news and opinion site in the US, but it is charged with being racist, antisemitic and sexist, and of repeatedly peddling conspiracy theories to further its agenda.

Breitbart has, among other things, accused Obama of “importing more hating Muslims”, compared conservative commentator Bill Kristol to a “renegade Jew”, likened Planned Parenthood’s work to the Holocaust, said young Muslims in the west were a “ticking time bomb”, and advised female victims of online harassment to “just log off” and stop “screwing up the internet for men”.

Bannon stands on the far right of the Republican party. Following his appointment, the Anti-Defamation League’s chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, issued a statement calling Bannon “hostile to core American values”.

“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 antisemites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house’,” Greenblatt said.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said: “It is easy to see why the KKK views Trump as their champion when Trump appoints one of the foremost peddlers of white supremacist themes and rhetoric as his top aide.”

Bannon is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Business school. He is a former US Navy officer and investment banker at Goldman Sachs. He has also made documentary films celebrating Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, and was an early investor in the sitcom Seinfeld.

In 2007, Bannon’s ex-wife accused him of making antisemitic remarks when the two battled over sending their daughters to private school. Mary Louise Piccard said her former husband had objected to sending their twin daughters to an elite Los Angeles academy because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews”, an accusation Bannon denied.

In 1996, Bannon faced domestic violence charges after Piccard accused him of grabbing her by the neck “violently” and destroying a telephone when she tried to summon police. The charges were dropped after his estranged wife did not show up at the trial, according to court records.

In August this year, the Guardian found that Bannon was registered to vote in Florida, a key swing state, at an empty house where he did not live, in an apparent breach of election laws. The revelation followed years of aggressive claims by Breitbart News that voter fraud was rife among minorities and in Democratic-leaning areas, an allegation that was repeated forcefully on the campaign trail by Trump, who predicted that the election would be “rigged”.

Bannon subsequently changed his registration.

He co-owns a condominium in Los Angeles and is known to stay at the so-called “Breitbart embassy”, a luxurious $2.4m townhouse beside the supreme court in Washington DC, where Breitbart staff work from basement offices.

Bannon has repeatedly criticised Republicans for not moving far enough to the right of the political spectrum. While Priebus’s selection signals an attempt to build bridges with the old Republican guard, Bannon’s appointment by Trump shows a commitment to the president-elect’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington.

“We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory,” Bannon said of Priebus in a statement. “We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

Reince Priebus
Priebus, 44, is the long-serving chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and loyal adviser to the Trump campaign.

He is a Washington insider, having worked in government since 2004, and his friendship with the House speaker, Paul Ryan, is expected to be instrumental in securing early legislative victories for the Trump administration.

A lawyer by training, Priebus served as state treasurer in Wisconsin and worked his way up through the Wisconsin Republican party to become chairman in 2007.

After he led his party to success in the November 2010 elections in the state, which had previously been held by the Democrats, Priebus, together with Ryan and Scott Walker, became known as part of a rising Republican movement in Wisconsin that was influential at a national level. “A trio of young Wisconsin politicians are now positioned to have a substantial influence on the future direction and success of the Republican party,” the Washington Post wrote in 2011.

Priebus was elected to the job of chairman of the RNC in 2011, unseating Michael Steele, for whom he once served as general counsel. As part of his bid, he promised to put the committee’s finances in order and to modernise the party.

He later led the so-called “autopsy report” after the Republicans failed to win the 2012 presidential election, recommending efforts to win over Hispanic and women voters.

Priebus consistently appealed for unity within the Republican party, regardless of who would become the nominee, and forged a positive relationship with Trump following his victory in the primaries. He worked hard over several months to persuade rebellious factions to fall into line behind Trump, who, among others, had alienated the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, the Bush family, as well as a handful of outspoken senators such as Susan Collins.

In August, Priebus said when it came to personal issues with Trump “I go with the flow”, and the following month, he suggested the party may take punitive action against failed presidential candidates who reneged on pledges to support him.

He earned Trump’s trust after steering the RNC’s resources behind the candidate despite Republican officials urging him to abandon the businessman. When Trump’s candidacy was steeped in controversy following the release of a 2005 tape in which he boasted of groping and kissing women without their consent, Priebus stood by his candidate and worked hard to salvage his run for office.

In the final stages of the campaign, Priebus travelled with Trump and held a critical position in helping him prepare for the debates against the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Trump praised Priebus during his victory speech, stating: “I never had a bad second with him. He’s an unbelievable star.”

Priebus’s reward is his appointment to one of the most powerful positions in Washington, from which he will be charged with ensuring that the president’s agenda passes uninhibited through Congress. His links to the Republican establishment will be significant for Trump, who has never served in government and has few links to mainstream figures in the party, many of whom turned away from him due to his mockery of disabled people and prisoners of war, as well as the string of sexual assault allegations that followed him throughout his campaign.

On Sunday, Priebus said in a statement that the Trump White House would “work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism”.

Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon denies antisemitic remarks

In sworn court declaration following their divorce in 2007, Bannon’s ex-wife said he ‘didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews’

Saturday 27 August 2016 06.06 BST Last modified on Sunday 13 November 2016 14.59 GMT
This article is 2 months old

An ex-wife of Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, said Bannon made antisemitic remarks when the two battled over sending their daughters to private school nearly a decade ago, according to court papers.

That revelation came a day after reports emerged that domestic violence charges were filed 20 years ago against Bannon following an altercation with his then-wife, Mary Louise Piccard.

In a sworn court declaration following their divorce, Piccard said her ex-husband had objected to sending their twin daughters to an elite Los Angeles academy because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews”.

“He said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiney brats,’” Piccard said in a 2007 court filing.

Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, took the helm of Trump’s campaign last week in yet another leadership shake-up. The campaign has been plagued by negative stories about staffers, including charges lodged against his former campaign manager following an altercation with a reporter, and questions about his former campaign chairman’s links with Russian interests.

Alexandra Preate, a spokeswoman for Bannon, denied on Friday night that he made antisemitic remarks about the private school. “Mr Bannon never said anything like that and proudly sent the girls to Archer for their middle school and high school education,” she said.

Trump has previously been criticized for invoking antisemitic stereotypes, including tweeting an anti-Hillary Clinton image that included a Star of David on top of a pile of money.

He also raised eyebrows when he spoke in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition and declared, “I’m a negotiator like you folks were negotiators.”

Clinton has tried in recent days to highlight Trump’s popularity with white nationalist and supremacist groups. She delivered a speech on Thursday that linked him with the “alt-right” movement, which is often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity”, oppose multiculturalism and defend “western values”.

Trump has pushed back, defending himself and his supporters, and labeling Clinton “a bigot” for supporting policies he argues have ravaged minority communities.

Trump has noted that his daughter, Ivanka, would soon be giving birth to another Jewish child. Ivanka Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, a young real estate developer who has become a driving force in his father-in-law’s campaign.

The court filing was among several documents related to Bannon and Picard’s voluminous divorce case, filed in 1997, which was revisited several times as Piccard sought support for tuition and other expenses. The documents reviewed were part of a request for Bannon to pay $25,000 in legal fees and to cover the $64,000 in tuition it cost to send both girls to the Archer School for Girls for the 2007-08 school year.

Trump deletes tweet with image of the star of David, Hillary Clinton and money
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Bannon’s remarks about Jews followed other comments that caught Piccard’s attention when they were visiting private schools in 2000.

At one school, she said, he asked the director why there were so many Hanukkah books in the library. At another school, he asked Piccard if it bothered her that the school used to be in a temple.

“I said, ‘No,’ and asked why he asked,” Piccard said. “He did not respond.”

Piccard said Bannon wanted the girls to attend a Catholic school.
In 2007, when the girls were accepted at Archer, he told Piccard he objected because of the number of Jews in attendance.

Piccard filed for divorce in January 1997, just over a year after she told police Bannon roughed her up on New Year’s Day 1996 following a spat over money, in which she spit on him.

A police report said he grabbed her wrist and “grabbed at” her neck. When she tried to call 911, she told police that Bannon grabbed the phone and threw it across the room. An officer who responded reported seeing red marks on her wrist and neck.

Bannon was charged in 1996 with misdemeanor witness intimidation, domestic violence with traumatic injury and battery, according to a Santa Monica, California, police report. The charges were dropped after his estranged wife did not show up at trial, according to court records.

Piccard said in her declaration that she skipped the trial after Bannon and his lawyer arranged for her to leave town. She said Bannon had told her the lawyer would make her look like the guilty party if she testified and the attorney told her she would be broke if Bannon went to jail.

The Trump campaign declined to comment on the abuse charges. Preate said police never interviewed Bannon. She added that Bannon has a great relationship with his ex-wife and kids.

On Saturday, Senator Joni Ernst, a Trump supporter, told reporters at an event in Iowa which the candidate was scheduled to address: “I can’t speak to Trump and who he hires [but] we all know … I stand very firm on this, that sexual assault or domestic violence is never OK.”

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