Letter Re: The Appointment of Stephen K. Bannon

Media 11.21,16

Recipient: Donald J. Trump

View the PDF of this letter here.

Donald J. Trump
President-elect of the United States
Trump Tower
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY   10022

Dear President-elect Trump:

We are writing to you on behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national advocacy organizations that, together, represent tens of millions of Americans from all walks of life. Since its founding in 1950, The Leadership Conference has played a vital role in every debate over legislation affecting civil and human rights. We are writing today on a matter of great concern to our organizations and to the nation as a whole. We strongly urge you to reconsider your appointment of Stephen K. Bannon as your chief strategist and senior counselor in the White House.

As many news sources have documented in the past week, Mr. Bannon has a history of expressing alarmingly biased and uncivil views that demean women, the LGBT community, and religious groups. And as the executive chairman of Breitbart LLC, he turned the website Breitbart.com into what he described as “the platform for the alt-right,”[i] a movement that includes and is heavily shaped by white supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-Muslims, nativists, and other political extremists who are more dedicated to destroying our system than they are to improving it.[ii]

Whether – as his former editor-in-chief recently speculated – Mr. Bannon is simply pandering to a radical and extremist constituency in order to increase his political influence or whether he personally holds these views,.[iii] it ultimately makes little difference. Either way, his presence in the White House will undermine and discredit the pledge you made last week to “be President for all Americans.” It is especially problematic at a time when many communities are facing a dramatic increase in hate crimes and other forms of racial and ethnic harassment.[iv]

As representatives of a coalition with a long history of working with both parties in Washington, we know very well that political opponents in this town have to occasionally put strong rhetoric aside and work together to advance the public interest or to simply keep the government running. “Strange bedfellows” can accomplish truly remarkable things in Washington. Make no mistake, our organizations have been alarmed by and will strongly oppose many of your policy proposals – on the merits, and in good faith. It is our sincere hope that we can find areas where we might be able to work together to improve the lives of all Americans.

Doing so, however, requires a certain level of trust and the belief that despite our differences, we all share certain common values: that all Americans deserve a chance to live up to their potential, that our cultural diversity is a source of strength and not a weakness, and that our government has an important role to play in improving our lives. Mr. Bannon’s record of, at best, catering to people who do not share these values will make it significantly more difficult for the communities we represent to develop trust in your administration as we move forward.

We cannot recall a previous instance in which The Leadership Conference weighed in on a presidential appointment that was not subject to the Senate confirmation process. The Bannon appointment, however, carries with it implications that go far beyond normal internal staffing matters, and will significantly affect not only your presidency but the broader interests of the American public. We strongly urge you to reconsider it.

Thank you for considering our views. If you would like to continue discussing this, please contact Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference, at (202) 466-3311.


9to5, National Association of Working Women

African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA)

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

American Federation of Teachers

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Anti-Defamaton League

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC

Asian Pacific Americans Labor Alliance

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Bend the Arc

Black Women’s Roundtable I

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Responsible Lending

Coalition for Disability Health Equity

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Coalition of Labor Unon Women

Coalition on Human Needs

Council of Korean Americans


Do Justice and Fitting the Description

Equal Justice Society

Family Equality Council

Franciscan Action Network

GlobeWomen Research & Education Institute

Hindu American Foundation

International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

League of United Latin American Citizens




National Action Network

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National Association of Social Workers

National Black Justice Coalition

National CAPACD

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

National Collaborative for Health Equity

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Council of Churches

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of La Raza

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)

National Immigration Law Center

National Immigration Law Center

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Urban League

National Women’s Law Center

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Project Vote

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Restaurant Opportunities Center United

Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund (SALDEF)

South Asian Bar Association

South Asian Bar Association of North America

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

United We Dream Network

Voices for Progress

West Michigan Hindu Temple

Women’s Equality Coalition Greater Kansas City

Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN)

World Without Genocide


Hindu American Foundation

[i] Sarah Posner, “How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists,” Mother Jones, Aug. 22, 2016 at http://bit.ly/2g2oQgC

[ii] See, e.g., “Alt Right: A Primer about the New White Supremacy,” Anti-Defamation League, at http://bit.ly/2g2rfb9

[iii] Ben Shapiro, “3 Thoughts on Steve Bannon as White House ‘Chief Strategist,’” The Daily Wire, Nov. 14, 2016 at http://bit.ly/2g2un6O.

[iv] See, e.g., Azadeh Ansari, “FBI: Hate crimes spike, most sharply against Muslims,” CNN.com, Nov. 15, 2016, at http://cnn.it/2g2ooPI; Editorial, “Hateful acts are on the rise, and it’s Trump’s responsibility to take a stand,” Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2016, at http://wpo.st/fz0F2.