Civil rights leaders and members of Congress praised the dismissal of Chief Strategist Steve Bannon from the White House; Bannon’s exit is just the latest departure from the chaotic Trump administration that has yet to win a major legislative victory.
Bannon seemed to be in good spirits after the White House announced that he would be leaving the coveted post.
In an interview with The Weekly Standard, Bannon said that he felt “jacked up.”
“Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” Bannon told The Weekly Standard. “Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”
He also told the magazine that he could be more effective without the constraints of the White House.
“I can fight better on the outside,” Bannon said. “I can’t fight too many Democrats on the inside like I can on the outside.”
In a statement about Bannon’s dismissal, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said that Bannon needed to go, but so do other White supremacists working in the Trump Administration.
“Firing Steve Bannon is not enough, because the issue of him working in the White House has never only been about him,” said Richmond. “It’s also been about the racist and discriminatory policies he’s helped draft and implement which hurt African Americans.”
The CBC released “A Top Ten List of the Trump Administration’s Racist and Discriminatory Policies.” The list included:
1. Voter Suppression Commission
2. Supporting Texas’ Discriminatory Voter ID Law
3. Reinstating the War on Drugs
4. Attacking Affirmative Action at Colleges and Universities
5. Rolling Back Consent Decrees that Keep Police Accountable
6. Muslim Ban
7. Mass Deportation
8. Rolling Back Civil Rights Enforcement Across Federal Agencies
9. Reinstating the Use of Private Prisons
10. Refusing to Protect Americans and the Nation from White Supremacists
In a separate statement on Bannon’s removal, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) called the ousted Breitbart chief the standard-bearer for the worst instincts in American society.
“Whether Bannon personally trades in violence, racism, and bigotry, he allowed Brietbart, his media organization, to become a platform for White nationalism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigrant sentiment of the worst kind,” said Conyers.
Although Conyers said that he was pleased that Bannon was no longer serving in the White House, he added that Bannon’s removal will not undo the damage that has already been done and it will not reconcile the hate-filled agenda of the Trump Administration.
“President Donald Trump has shown us his true colors,” said Conyers. “He sided with un-American White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and all those who give racism and hatred a voice. Trump’s failure to reflect on his dangerous rhetoric continues to embolden these groups and ideals.”
Civil rights leaders also voiced their support of Bannon’s exit.
Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said that Bannon was the driving force behind the racial turmoil that threatens to tear this country apart.
“Such a divisive figure has no place in the White House,” Clarke said in the statement.
Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said that Bannon’s departure was the right result, but not for the right reason.
“The president, who continues to sow hate and division, clearly did not fire Bannon because of his White supremacist views and ties to the so-called ‘alt-right,’” said Gupta. “Someone like Bannon should have never worked in the White House to begin with.”
Gupta continued: “President Trump must address the deep wounds he has created by ridding his administration of Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, and any other staffers who stoke bigotry, hate, and division. Unless and until the president calls out evil; disavows neo-Nazis, White nationalists, and White supremacists; fires these staffers; and abandons his administration’s anti-civil rights agenda, he will continue to have no moral credibility.”
White House insiders have claimed that Bannon submitted his resignation letter earlier this month, but the announcement was delayed, because of the violent White supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left one dead and 19 injured.
Since July 21, four senior staffers have departed the White House; Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, and Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.
Derrick Johnson, the interim president and CEO of the NAACP, said that the group was glad to see Bannon out of the White House.
“Ousting one key staffer, however, can’t erase the words used by President Trump this week in defense of domestic terrorists, neo-Nazis and White supremacists,” said Johnson, in the statement about Bannon’s dismissal. “President Trump provided permission for these hate groups to exist. Following the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, numerous other rallies and White supremacist groups are being mobilized across the country.
Johnson continued: “These groups are not rallying for peace, or for the preservation of Confederate memorabilia. They exist purely to foment hatred and violence. And they march with the president’s blessing.”
Lauren Victoria Burke is the White House correspondent for NNPA and a writer and political analyst. NNPA’s Freddie Allen contributed additional reporting for this story.