WASHINGTON -- Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) blasted one of president-elect Donald Trump's first major decisions, saying his newly-named chief strategist and senior counselor, Stephen Bannon, is unfit to serve in such an important position.
"Bannon won't build bridges, he will burn them. He is unfit to advise America's commander-in-chief," said a Booker statement Tuesday, adding to the criticism of Bannon as someone who catered to racist, anti-Semitic elements as the former head of the right-wing web site Breitbart News. "Donald Trump should reverse the decision to hire him and chart a different course for the good of the American people."
Bannon's appointment has brought an outpouring of criticism from Democrats, some Republicans (though few, if any, in Congress) and civil rights groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League and Council on American-Islamic Relations.
While his associates deny that Breitbart is bigoted, his Web site has been cited as a haven for the nationalistic "alt-right" movement, including some white supremacist groups.
Booker, one of the few African-Americans in the Senate, has vowed to speak out against Trump if the newly-elected Republican encourages racism or divisiveness.
"Over the course of his campaign, Donald Trump degraded and demeaned Americans, threatened our rights, and attacked the privileges of citizenship. He will have a disastrous presidency if he governs that way, and he must show the American people with words and action how he will change direction," Booker's statement said. "Many have offered to give him a chance to do so, despite his divisive campaigning, and he should not squander that opportunity to unite our nation."