President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to name Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist is drawing the ire of a handful of senators, who issued a scathing letter Wednesday (Nov. 16) calling on financial services trade groups to condemn Bannon’s appointment.
At the center of their dismay is what they call his track record of “bigotry,” which they said “runs counter to the values of the financial services industry and the country.”
The letter was issued by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN).
“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,” they wrote. “We urge you to condemn this appointment immediately and without reservation.”
The open letter to the financial services trade groups focused on some of his most “egregious” comments concerning women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and Muslims and his purported ties to the white nationalist movement. It was sent to the American Bankers Association, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, The Clearinghouse, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, Investment Company Institute, Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America, Credit Union National Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, American Investment Council, American Financial Services Association, Community Financial Services Association of America, Community Home Lenders Association and Community Mortgage Lenders of America.
“You have influence over the conduct of the next administration and a clear opportunity to announce unequivocally that the banking and finance industry will not tolerate bigotry and prejudice,” the letter states. “What message will it send to your customers and employees if you remain silent?”
Some of the examples of his behavior the senators highlight include his website’s comments about hoisting the Confederate flag “high and fly it with pride” two weeks after the massacre of African-Americans in a Charleston church; a report questioning President Obama’s birthplace; and stories that included headlines such as “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”