Remember the controversy from last summer over the whites-only photo House Speaker Paul Ryan took with Republican House interns? At the time, I noted that Ryan’s mentor, the late Republican Congressman Jack Kemp, would have been embarrassed by Ryan’s photo, since he tried in vain to diversify the former “party of Lincoln.”
That loud sound you hear is Kemp turning over in his grave again, as Ryan today blew off concerns about the prospect of Trump campaign CEO and alt-right icon Steve Bannon becoming White House Chief of Staff. If you ever wanted to explain to someone what “white privilege” is, just play the clip of Ryan declaring, in essence, that Bannon’s bigotry is no big deal.
The editorial board of the Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger recognizes that which Ryan chooses to ignore:
The second most powerful man in U.S. government is the White House Chief of Staff, which means the second most powerful man may soon be a propagandist for racists and xenophobes.
Reports say Steve Bannon may be in line to get that job in the Trump Administration. Bannon is best known for running Breitbart News, which is essentially is a 24/7 anthology of fearmongering against minorities and it is valued by a vast readership that believes Fox News is too wimpy…
[Breitbart’s] editors regularly call for a ban of Muslims, and espouse how “immigration is rape culture.” One recently offered this bon mot on Twitter: “British Settlers Built the USA. Slaves built the country much as cows built McDonalds.” It even has a page devoted to “Black Crime.”
That’s the editorial environment Bannon has watched over since 2012.
That is how Breitbart – a.k.a. Trump’s Pravda – frames political debate.
Ryan’s nonchalant attitude about Bannon’s noxious views proves once again that he could not have cared less about his mentor Kemp’s efforts to expand the demographic reach of the GOP. Yes, Kemp believed in supply-side sorcery, but he also believed that the Republican Party should not scorn nonwhites. Considering the way his party has treated President Obama, it’s remarkable that Kemp responded to Obama’s victory over John McCain with something the GOP largely lacks–grace:
Just think, a little over 40 years ago, blacks in America had trouble even voting in our country, much less thinking about running for the highest office in the land.
A little over 40 years ago, in some parts of America, blacks couldn’t eat, sleep or even get a drink of water using facilities available to everyone else in the public sphere.
We are celebrating, this year, the 40th anniversary of our Fair Housing Laws, which helped put an end to the blatant racism and prejudice against blacks in rental housing and homeownership opportunities.
As an old professional football quarterback, in my days there were no black coaches, no black quarterbacks, and certainly no blacks in the front offices of football and other professional sports.
For the record, there were great black quarterbacks and coaches — they just weren’t given the opportunity to showcase their talent. And pro-football (and America) was the worse off for it…
As president, I believe Barack Obama can help lift us out of a narrow view of America into the ultimate vision of an America where, if you’re born to be a mezzo-soprano or a master carpenter, nothing stands in your way of realizing your God-given potential.
Eight years later, a man who was sued by the Justice Department for violating those fair housing laws became the nominee of Kemp’s party and the President of the United States.
Ryan has to know that Kemp would have been disgusted by Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. Doesn’t his conscience bother him? Assuming, of course, that he actually has one…
UPDATE: Politico reports that Trump has selected Bannon as his “chief strategist and senior counselor,” and RNC Chairman Reince Prebius as his chief of staff. Yeah, that’s making America great again…