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 TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff 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 ReidTrump thanks Reid for warning Democrats not to underestimate him Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump Harry Reid predicts Trump, unlike Clinton, won't become more popular because of impeachment 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 FrankenTake Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show MORE (Minn.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownCritics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Trump administration blocked consumer watchdog from public service loan forgiveness program: report Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 MORE (Ohio) also called for Bannon to be fired earlier Tuesday.