President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBipartisan group of mayors asks for immigration reform Obama offers laments and optimism at last presser Overnight Energy: Trump's EPA pick faces Congress | 2016 is the hottest year on record MORE is drawing praise from the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white nationalist groups for appointing former Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist.
“Perhaps The Donald is for real,” Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party, told CNN in an segment that included interviews with several white nationalists.
Trump’s hiring of Bannon has drawn bitter criticism from Democrats, but white nationalists believe it’s evidence the president-elect intends to live up to his campaign promises to deport illegal immigrants and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
David Duke, a former KKK leader who lost his Senate bid last week in Louisiana, called Bannon’s hiring an “excellent” decision.
In March, Trump disavowed David Duke, but only after he stumbled on the issue a few days prior.
“David Duke is a bad person, who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years,” Trump told MSNBC. “I disavowed him. I disavowed the KKK.”
Bannon will “push Trump in the right direction,” suggested Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. “That would be a wonderful thing.”
“It makes sense to me,” added Brad Griffin, author of the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent.
Bannon “will hold Trump to the promises he has already made during the campaign,” Griffin added.
“We endorse many of those promises like building the wall, deportations, ending refugee resettlement, preserving the Second Amendment.”
Trump has tried to distance himself from white nationalists, but his decision to bring Bannon to the White House has caused those questions to resurface.
Bannon told Mother Jones over the summer that his conservative news outlet was "the platform of the alt-right,” a far-right ideology that promotes white supremacy.
Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart ran headlines such as: “Bill Kristol, Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement's Human Shield,” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
Bannon has also made anti-Catholic comments about Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on his radio show.
Top Democrats – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe Ryan says Trump, GOP 'in complete sync' on ObamaCare Congress has a mandate to repeal ObamaCare MORE of Nevada – and anti-discrimination groups are ripping the president-elect for the choice.
Pelosi said the hire undermines attempts to unite the country.
“There must be no sugarcoating the reality that a white nationalist has been named chief strategist for the Trump Administration,” she said.
And the Southern Poverty Law Center released a statement Monday saying Bannon's appointment goes "directly against Trump's pledge to be a president to 'all Americans.'"
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) got into an uncomfortable back-and-forth with reporters Monday, when they read him a series of racist and misogynistic Breitbart headlines from Bannon’s time at the helm.
“The president has a right to select who he thinks is best to be able to move through,” McCarthy said.