WASHINGTON – In choosing Stephen Bannon to be the CEO of his campaign, Donald Trump has accomplished the extraordinary: He has found somebody as outrageous as he is.
Bannon, who had been publisher of the far-right website Breitbart, has called the pope a “commie” and said Catholics are trying to boost Hispanic immigration because their “church is dying.” He called Gabby Giffords, a former congresswoman who was shot in the head, a “human shield,” and the mayor of London a “radical Muslim.” Hillary Clinton, in Bannon’s telling, is a “grifter” who would take the country to the “last days of Sodom.”
The new Trump adviser calls himself a “populist nationalist” – his hiring has been cheered by white supremacists – and calls his fellow believers a “small, crazy wing” of the conservative movement. He has referred to the Civil War as the “war of Southern Independence” fought over “economic development.” He found “zero evidence” of racial motives in the Trayvon Martin shooting and warned that “cities could be washed away in an orgy of de-gentrification.”
The Trump campaign’s chief executive believes the Obama administration is “importing more hating Muslims” and asks whether Clinton is “complicit in a fifth column.” He doesn’t think Huma Abedin, a Muslim aide to Clinton, should have a security clearance, and he has alleged that Clinton’s vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine, has an “affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.” He argued that Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment case, which forced the ouster of Roger Ailes at Fox News Channel, was a “total dud,” and he alleged the existence of a “militant-feminist legal wrecking crew.”
Fox News, in Bannon’s view, is a “centrist” outlet – and compared to Breitbart, it most certainly is. The site, which was closer to the mainstream under its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, has run these headlines under Bannon’s leadership:
“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
“Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture.”
“Suck It Up Buttercups: Dangerous Faggot Tour Returns to Colleges in September.”
“The Solution to Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Women Should Log Off.”
“Two Months Left Until Obama Gives Dictators Control of Internet.”
“There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.”
“Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard.”
“Khizr Khan Believes the Constitution ‘Must Always Be Subordinated to the Sharia.’”
Bannon’s Breitbart said the gay-pride flag is viewed as a “symbol of anti-Christian hate” and said birth control makes a woman into a “slut” and a “hideous monster,” arguing: “Your birth control injection will add on pounds that will prevent the injection you really want – of man meat.”
Trump echoes conspiracy theories proposed by Breitbart, and Breitbart has relentlessly promoted Trump. In short, Trump found in Bannon a character like himself: a bully who targets racial and religious minorities, immigrants and women. In his writings and broadcast commentary, Bannon, a veteran and former banker, has argued that immigrants – legal as well as illegal – are to blame for crime, terrorism and disease. He disparages “anchor babies” and says FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation not to prosecute Clinton is “inextricably linked” to anti-police violence. He speaks of Megyn Kelly’s “blonde ambition” and alleges that the military is trying to “eradicate Christianity.”
Breitbart has a tag for “black crime” and stokes fear of race wars with headlines such as “Race Murder in Virginia,” “Black Suspects Stalk Robbery Victim in Philadelphia,” “Career Criminal Accused of Assaulting Victim, Calling Her ‘White Bitch,’” “Black Rape Gangs Violate Two Detroit Women” and “Black Mob Swarms Georgia Walmart to See ‘How Much Damage’ They Could Do.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center protests that Breitbart “has been openly promoting the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership.” Breitbart had a “lengthy defense” of white nationalists that ignored their openly racist views, the SPLC said.
Breitbart likened Pamela Geller’s “Muhammad Cartoon Contest” to the Selma-to-Montgomery march. The outlet has gone after the “big gay hate machine” and suggested that “the next step for marriage equality” is “likely polygamy.”
Breitbart ran a doctored photo showing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a bikini on all fours with her tongue out. It reported that Planned Parenthood was “comfortably surpassing Hitler” in its “body count.” It said Trump’s bogus claim that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had been “100 percent vindicated,” and it alleged a “smoking gun” connecting the 9/11 hijackers to a “Bush family friend.”
There is more, but you don’t need to read it here. Just wait for Trump to say it.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter @Milbank.