Donald Trump continues to try to dupe gays into supporting him despite the pact that he made with a veritable who's who of American Christofascists and anti-gay hate groups. Likewise, with his trip to Mexico today, he seemingly is seeking to fool those offended by his strident anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic demagoguery. As part of this Trojan Horse effort, Trump shook up his campaign's leadership and brought in Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon. Now it turns out that both Conway and Bannon are members of the secretive Council for National Policy ("CNP"). What is frightening about CPC is the many extremists who belong to the organization and the hatred that is their stock in trade. The Southern Poverty Law Center ("SPLC") - which tracks hate groups across the nation - has a report on CPC and Bannon and Conway's membership. Here are excerpts:
Longtime Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News operation, were named on Aug. 17 as, respectively, the Trump campaign’s manager and its chief executive officer. The appointment of Bannon was by far the more controversial choice, given his role at a “news” outlet known for bashing immigrants, Muslims, women and others.The Council for National Policy ("CNP") is an intensely secretive and shadowy group of what The New York Times once described as “the most powerful conservatives in the country.” It is so tight-lipped that it tells people not to admit their membership or even name the group. Revealing when or where the group meets, or what it discusses, is also forbidden. The organization, which can only be joined by invitation and at a cost of thousands of dollars, strives mightily to keep its membership rolls secret.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which publishes Hatewatch, obtained a copy this spring of the CNP’s 2014 membership directory, a closely held document. It shows that Conway was a member of the CNP’s executive committee that year, and that Bannon was a regular member. It is not known if they remain.
They include people like Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate who for years was on the board of the white supremacist League of the South; Jerome Corsi, a strident Obama “birther” and the propagandist hit man responsible for the “Swift boating” of John Kerry; Joseph Farah, who runs the wildly conspiracist “news” operation known as WorldNetDaily; Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel leader who has worked to re-criminalize gay sex; Philip Zodhaites, another anti-gay activist who is charged with helping a self-described former lesbian who kidnapped her daughter from her former partner and fled the country; and a large number of other similar characters.
The CNP is not controversial so much for the conservatives who dominate it . . . . as for the many real extremists who are included. . . . people who regularly defame LGBT people with utter falsehoods, describe Latino immigrants as a dangerous group of rapists and disease-carriers, engage in the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theorizing for which the John Birch Society is famous, and even suggest that certain people should be stoned to death in line with Old Testament law.”
The revelation of Conway and Bannon’s CNP memberships comes at a time when the Trump campaign has suffered a number of reverses and internal problems.
Bannon is in some ways even more controversial. His Breitbart news operation has specialized in extreme-right propaganda that . . . recently published a defense of the “Alternative Right” that included defending well-known white supremacist ideologues Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer.
[T]he SPLC concluded in its May report on the CNP: “At a time of extreme political polarization in our society, in the middle of an ugly presidential contest which has featured an almost unsurpassed record of ethnic, racial and sexual insults and lies, Americans deserve to know who their ostensible leaders are mixing with as we collectively decide our country’s future.”
Anyone who falls for Trump's effort to pretend his has moderated his positions is, in my view, nothing less than a fool and an idiot.