GOP senator: Pelosi ‘reckless’ to call Bannon a white supremacist

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (R-Utah) blasted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday, accusing her of acting with “reckless disregard for the truth” after she called White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon a white supremacist.

"I think this is nonsense," Lee told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "I think this is defamatory. I think she's acting with reckless disregard for the truth. I wish people would stop throwing out arguments like that."

Earlier on Thursday, Pelosi slammed President Trump’s Saturday decision to install Bannon on the National Security Council. Speaking to reporters in the U.S. Capitol, she said that having him on the NSC would make the U.S. less safe.

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“It's a stunning thing that a white supremacist, Bannon, would be a permanent member of the National Security Council,” Pelosi said.

Trump issued an executive memorandum over the weekend making Bannon, a former executive chairman of the conservative Breitbart News media outlet, a member of the NSC. The move drew condemnation from members of both parties who said that political staffers traditionally do not participate in the NSC out of concerns that political considerations would skew national security policy.

Lee lambasted Pelosi’s comments and said the criticism wasn’t constructive or policy-focused.

"If they want to focus on a particular policy, fine," Lee said. "But it’s time for them to stop throwing around dangerous labels like that one."

"That's not helpful," he continued. "That's not part of productive discourse for this country and I encourage Speaker Pelosi and anyone else who is inclined to use language like that to respectfully refrain from it. Focus on the policy. Stop attacking the person."

Bannon has been a target of Democratic criticism since he joined Trump’s presidential campaign as chief executive in August. Bannon has previously said that he turned Breitbart into a "platform" for the alt-right, a conservative movement that includes white nationalists.