Laura Ingraham rips 'smear campaign' against Bannon
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Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is defending Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse expected to vote on omnibus Thursday afternoon House passes 'right to try' drug bill Spending bill rejects Trump’s proposed EPA cut MORE's appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, calling him a "wonderful person" who helped lead the president-elect to victory. 

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, has faced harsh criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike for ties to white nationalism.

"This is what I really hate most about Washington," Ingraham said Tuesday on "Fox and Friends," calling the coverage a "smear campaign." 

"When they see someone as an ideological threat or someone who could be very powerful advancing a conservative message close to a principle — or actually in a principle position — there are the piranhas that will circle around. They hope to get a little blood in the water and then hope for the big fish to come in and kill them off." 

Ingraham called Bannon a "wonderful person" who "also happens to be really smart." 

"Do not besmirch someone who is a patriot. He's a good man; he's smart; and he is dedicated to improving this country, which, frankly, a lot of those people maligning him should — they should have spent a lot more time focusing on that themselves." 

Democrats and civil rights groups have called on Trump to cut ties to Bannon, citing some of Breitbart's news coverage, including referring to conservative commentator Bill Kristol as a "renegade Jew" in a headline this year and publishing stories that criticize Jews, Muslims and feminists. 
The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have both denounced the hiring. 

Ingraham, rumored to be in the running to be Trump's press secretary, demurred on questions about whether she will join the administration, saying "things are in flux." 

"It's really wonderful to be considered," she said. 

"I'm praying a lot, and we'll see what happens. I'm not prepared to announce anything," she said, adding that it would be a "great privilege" to be asked.