Herman Cain: 'Steve Bannon is not a white supremacist’

Herman Cain on Tuesday defended incoming White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, arguing President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE’s senior counselor isn't "a white supremacist."

"First of all, I'm a black guy and I know Steve Bannon is not a white supremacist," Cain said on Fox Business Network’s “After the Bell."

“All these attacks on Steve Bannon are because they have nothing else to try and slow Trump down,” the 2012 GOP presidential candidate added. "They want to go back and pull out old dirt that is irrelevant.”

Cain argued that Democratic leaders including Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWebb: Questions for Robert Mueller Steyer's impeachment solution is dead wrong The Hill's Morning Report - House Democrats clash over next steps at border MORE (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) will not pressure Trump into abandoning his campaign's chief executive.

“Democrats are asking Trump to fire Steve Bannon," said Cain, who backed Trump before his White House win.

"Are they nuts? That’s just outright stupid. They don’t understand, first of all, leadership, and they don’t understand Donald Trump. He’s not going to fire Steve Bannon.”

Trump's transition team on Sunday named Bannon to one of the most important roles in his future White House alongside Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman who was named White House chief of staff.

Critics pounced on the announcement of Bannon, a former executive at Breitbart News, which has caught flak for a number of controversial headlines. 

Reid on Tuesday urged Trump to fire Bannon during a fiery speech on the Senate floor.

“If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon. I say to Donald Trump: Take responsibility, rise to the dignity of your office…Stop hiding behind your Twitter account.”

Democratic Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken: It's time to start taking Trump 'literally' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP MORE (Minn.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (Ohio) also called for Bannon to be fired earlier Tuesday.