Pelosi: Bannon ouster ‘worthless’ if Trump doesn’t change  

Pelosi: Bannon ouster ‘worthless’ if Trump doesn’t change   
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that the ouster of White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon will mean nothing unless President Trump himself tones down his nationalist approach.

"Steve Bannon's firing is welcome news, but it doesn't disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance,” Pelosi said in a statement.

"President Trump's growing record of repulsive statements is matched by his repulsive policies,” she added. “Personnel changes are worthless so long as President Trump continues to advance policies that disgrace our cherished American values.” 

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Bannon has been a target of the Democrats since the former Breitbart News executive signed on to steer Trump’s campaign last August. Bannon had once said that the conservative news site is “a platform for the alt-right,” and his self-styled nationalist populist approach — particularly on the issue of immigration — made him anathema to most Democrats. Just this week, Pelosi had urged Trump to oust Bannon, calling him “a white supremacist.”

On Friday, one year and one day after Bannon joined the Trump campaign, the president did just that. The pair had reportedly been estranged for weeks over Bannon’s infighting with other West Wing staff and Trump’s suspicions that his chief adviser was behind a series of leaks to the press.

Trump is also under fire for his equivocal response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where a counterprotester was killed and many more injured over the weekend. The Democrats have linked Trump’s defense of some of the white supremacist marchers to the influence of Bannon and other nationalist voices in the White House. 

In a letter to Trump on Tuesday, a group of liberal and minority Democrats said the hate groups were empowered by Bannon and two other top aides, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka. They urged the president to fire all three — a message Pelosi and Democrats are continuing to send in the wake of Bannon’s release.

"The Trump Administration must not only purge itself of the remaining white supremacists on staff,” Pelosi said, “but abandon the bigoted ideology that clearly governs its decisions.”