peshkov/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Top Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to banking industry leaders encouraging them to condemn and speak out against Donald Trump’s decision to name former conservative news leader Steve Bannon the administration’s chief strategist.
“As leaders in the business community, you have a moral obligation to speak out against this appointment as contrary to the values of this country and to the values of your industry. We urge you to condemn this appointment immediately and without reservation,” the letter reads.
The note signed by some heavy hitters on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who is known for her tough, critical stance when it comes to banking regulation and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), who is favored to be the next chair of the DNC.
The letter lists several controversial headlines from Breitbart News, an organization Bannon used to run and accuses him of promoting prejudice and bigotry through his writings and opinions.
“This moment is a test of the moral leadership of the banking and finance industry…. If you fail to speak up now it will only empower the Trump Administration to go further down this dangerous path,” the letter continues.
The letter was addressed to several CEOs, including the head of the National Association ofCredit Unions, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the American Bankers Association.
Earlier in the day, another group of 169 Democrat Members of Congress signed and sent an additional letter to Trump himself, calling on him to rescind Bannon’s appointment.
That letter was organized by Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), who told ABC News during an interview Wednesday that he was disappointed his Republican colleague had not spoken out. So far Republicans have steered cleared of addressing the issue.
“This is a person who does not belong inside the White House. He will further divide this country,” Cicilline said. He cited the uptick in racially charged acts of violence and intimidation around the country and said there were “real consequences” to Trump legitimizing some of the rhetoric that appears on Breitbart.
A number of members of the Trump team have jumped to Bannon’s defense, including newly minted Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who called him a “very, very smart person.”
“I don’t know where they’re coming from,” Priebus said on “Good Morning America” of Bannon’s critics. “That’s not the Steve Bannon that I know.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway also came to Bannon’s defense.
“I see where the outrage is and that doesn’t surprise me. Same people who are trying to get past the election results,” she said in Washington, DC recently. “Steve Bannon is a Georgetown Harvard MBA grad, a former naval officer, a former Goldman Sachs vice president and really the general, the field general in our successful campaign effort — a brilliant tactician and serves president elect Donald Trump very well.”
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