Twitter erupted with the hashtag #StopPreidentBannon over the weekend after President Donald Trump’s chief strategist was elevated to a position in the National Security Council (NSC). The position change, coupled with Bannon’s influence in the White House, led citizens to voice their concern via Twitter with #StopPresidentBannon.
According to Time, Bannon was granted a position in the NSC on Saturday, one day after Trump signed an executive order banning visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan.
The National Security Council is the primary group that advises the president on matters of national security and foreign affairs. Bannon’s shift to the NSC on Saturday signaled a shakeup in the normal structure of the of the Council. Since Bannon’s appointment, military and intelligence leadership has been diminished and will only participate when “discussion pertain to their areas.”
Bannon will now be privy to high ranking discussions about national security in the NSC, but Bannon’s influence is unnerving to many people observing the Trump White House. Trump’s executive action that barred immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and Syrian refugees was made more restrictive under Bannon’s direction.
Bannon actively defied the Department of Homeland Security and their recommendation to permit green card holders, lawful permanent residents, back into the country. However, Bannon personally intervened to counter the DHS recommendation and include green card holders in the executive action ban.
Now, citizens who were visiting abroad are returning to the United States only to discover the executive order is in effect. These people are being detained and have had their cellphones confiscated as part of Trump’s “extreme vetting” procedure.
Bannon wields an unusual amount of power in the Trump White House. Bannon is not an elected official, which makes his sway especially uncommon, leading people to believe Trump is more persuaded by Bannon than any other White House confidante. That attitude was echoed on Twitter with the #StopPresidentBannon hashtag.
— Rachel Ilana (@Shira324) January 29, 2017
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) January 29, 2017
— Impeach Donald Trump (@Impeach_D_Trump) January 29, 2017
— Jonathan Riley (@JonRiley7) January 29, 2017
— Darlene Richeson (@AskDarlene) January 29, 2017
Before becoming part of the Trump White House, Bannon was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, a website loosely described as “news” which helped foster prejudicial ideas about Muslims, African American people, women, and encouraged conspiracy theories about Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Breitbart News has often been cited as one of the originators of the “alt-right” movement. The alt-right is a group of right-wing white nationalists that try to separate themselves from neo-Nazis and the KKK. However, the Atlantic reported the group performed “seig heil” salutes and yelled “Hail Trump! Hail Victory!” during a meeting in Washington D.C. after the 2016 presidential election.
Bannon has also been criticized for his nationalist and anti-Semitic views in the past. On Thursday, Bannon told the New York Times, that the media is the “opposition party” and “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
Trump has railed against the media for his entire campaign and into his presidency, but Bannon’s vocal rebuke of mainstream news agencies demonstrates his level of influence over Trump and the White House as a whole. The #StopPresidentBannon hashtag is still trending on Twitter.
[Featured Image by Saul Loeb/Pool Photo/AP Images]