The co-author of the letter is a professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.
The letter campaign, first reported in Bloomberg Law last week, calls on members of Congress to do everything in their power to get President-elect Donald Trump to rescind his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist. Bannon is the former head of Breitbart News and ran Trump’s campaign.
The letter was delivered Wednesday to members of Congress and to Trump’s transition team with 15,000 signatures.
Nancy Leong, an associate professor at DU and one of the letter’s authors, told Huffington Post that the signatures were all matched to bar numbers and that she and other letter organizers manually removed signatures associated with email addresses that appeared fake.
That is, to the best of their ability, this letter represents the concerns of some 15,000 actual attorneys from across the political spectrum.
These are their objections to Bannon:
Mr. Bannon has demonstrated his opposition to the stable, democratic form of government that our profession embraces and strives to maintain. His words could not be more clear: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too . . . I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” This contempt for our longstanding governmental institutions has no place in a crucial leadership position.
Mr. Bannon has also enabled and promoted white supremacy. Under his leadership, Breitbart News has become what Mr. Bannon himself describes as “a platform for the alt-right” — another term for white nationalism. Through Breitbart, Mr. Bannon has intentionally legitimized racism, anti-Semitism, and other hate-based ideologies. Such bigotry runs counter to the values enshrined in the Constitution we promised to defend. Indeed, it threatens democracy itself by undermining the equality of all citizens.
Bannon’s appointment has drawn praise from white supremacists and strong criticism from a variety of quarters. Colorado Democrats signed on to a letter opposing the appointment and some issued their own statements, while Republicans have stayed largely quiet.
Some Republicans have defended Bannon by saying they know him personally, and he is not a white supremacist or an anti-Semite. Newt Gingrich made the highly questionable assertion that Bannon couldn’t be an anti-Semite because he worked at Goldman Sachs and in Hollywood.
“It is not relevant whether Bannon himself is a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, etc.,” Leong told Huffington Post. “He has shown himself willing to profit personally from a website that encourages those ideologies (he himself has called Breitbart ‘the platform for the alt-right’). That’s more than enough to demonstrate that he shouldn’t hold a key position in the White House.”