Washington: A total of 168 Democratic lawmakers, including Indian-American Ami Bera, have asked President-elect Donald Trump to rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist for the latter's alleged links with white nationalists.
"We strongly believe that Bannon's appointment will not allow the country to heal and come together as one. As one of your top advisors, the White House chief strategist will help set the tone for your administration. The person in this role must be prepared to serve the interests of all Americans, not those of a select few," the Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to 70-year-old Trump yesterday.
"We strongly urge you to rescind this appointment immediately and build a diverse White House staff who are committed to the core American values of inclusiveness, diversity and tolerance," the letter delivered to the Trump Towers in New York said.
In a strongly worded letter, the Democratic lawmakers said Trump's appointment of Bannon, whose ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well-documented, directly undermines his ability to unite the country.
"As elected representatives of millions of Americans from diverse backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities, we strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to appoint Mr Bannon to White House Chief Strategist," the letter said.
The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to media queries on this issue, but in the last few days the Trump Campaign has strongly defended the decision of the President-elect.
Lawmakers rued that since the election there had been a number of incidents across the country in which minorities, including Muslim Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Jewish Americans, have been the targets of violence, harassment and intimidation.
"Bannon's appointment sends the wrong message to people who have engaged in those types of activities, indicating that they will not only be tolerated, but endorsed by your Administration.
Millions of Americans have expressed fear and concern about how they will be treated by the Trump Administration and your appointment of Bannon only exacerbates and validates their concerns," they said.
As the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, Bannon repeatedly and aggressively pushed stories that promoted anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism, the lawmakers wrote.
"Disturbingly, leading white nationalists like former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke, American Nazi Party Chairman Rocky J Suhadya, Richard Spencer, Peter Brimelow, and Brad Griffin have praised the news of Bannon's appointment," the letter said.
"We believe it should concern you that civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, are widely opposed to Bannon's appointment," the Democrats said.