Before Stephen K. Bannon became a close advisor to Donald Trump, he hosted “Breitbart News Daily,” a radio show, on which he interviewed Trump nine times. The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold discusses what those interviews tell us about their relationship. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

As enraging as it is that President-elect Donald Trump ran a racist and xenophobic presidential campaign, it is even more galling that he is elevating the man who unabashedly took white supremacy out of the shadows to a senior position in the White House.

When he was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen K. Bannon served as the alt-right’s sherpa from far-right fringe to mainstream. And he did so using Trump’s coattails, first by championing the candidate on Breitbart and then serving as Trump’s campaign chief executive. What passed for news on that website was nothing but breathtaking racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic garbage. That Bannon and his influence will be just steps from the Oval Office as chief White House strategist and senior counselor is beyond outrageous, especially in light of what happened with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Surely, you remember him.

[Michael Steele: Donald Trump is “the freeest president we’ve had in a generation”]

Wright was the legendary pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ  in Chicago. A young Barack Obama wrote fondly of him, his role in helping the biracial community organizer find himself and the spiritual home the minister provided. Wright was the one who married Obama to his wife, Michelle. His importance in their lives then cannot be understated. But that all changed when an incendiary phrase from a Wright sermon from 2003 was unearthed and played on a feedback loop to a stunned nation in 2008.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” Wright said. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright speaks in Jackson, Miss., on March 25, 2012. (Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press)

The impertinent rhetoric and fiery delivery seemed to confirm fears that the black man with a funny-sounding name not only was not really American, but he also was a closet reverse racist who neither loved America nor white people.

The ensuing controversy put Obama’s presidential campaign on life support. It took a beautifully nuanced speech on race about a week after the sermon surfaced to save his White House ambitions. Because of other sermons that surfaced and Wright’s negative reaction to the harsh spotlight, Obama disavowed Wright and resigned his membership in the church. If you want an excellent explanation of Wright’s religious philosophy and the Obama-Wright relationship and controversy read “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” by Michael Eric Dyson.

“I won’t go to a church that’s friends with a racist and an anti-Semite,” Sean Hannity said on his Fox News program on March 12, 2008, while pressing Dee Dee Myers on whether she would attend a church like Wright’s.

[Why lies about Obama resist the truth]

“The fact is, you have a president who for years went to a church whose pastor said stunningly hateful things about Americans,” former house speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said of Obama in January 2015.

“He spent 17 years in the church of Jeremiah Wright, and this is the guy who said ‘God damn America, not God bless America,’ ’’ former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said in February 2015, in one of his many critical, disrespectful aspersions against the president.

Those folks above who slammed Obama because of his association with Wright have proven themselves Grade-A hypocrites when it comes to Bannon.

Steve Bannon, campaign chief executive for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 11. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

“[T]hey’re attacking Steve Bannon as something that I know that he’s not,” Hannity said last week, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

“The Bannon-priebus team is a tremendous choice by President elect Trump,” Gingrich tweeted last week. “Bannon for key strategies,priebus for daily management. great team[.]” Notice how Gingrich, lover of protocol and titles, placed Bannon’s name before that of Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. That Gingrich lauds Bannon for “key strategies” speaks volumes.

“He is a patriot. He loves America,” Giuliani generously said of Bannon last week. “He may have a different view of America than you or I, but he loves America as much as you or I do.”

[Giuliani continues his ugly race to the bottom against Obama]

Wright was kicked to the curb because he delivered caustic sermons that proved politically problematic for a parishioner on his way to the presidency. And throughout his two terms, Wright’s words were used to question Obama’s loyalty to the United States and delegitimize his presidency. Meanwhile, Bannon openly trafficked in racism, xenophobia and misogyny to help elect Trump and appeasers are attempting to divorce the man from what he actively championed at Breitbart and on Trump’s campaign as he stands ready to assume enormous power as senior counselor to the president.

“I’m not a white nationalist,” Bannon told Michael Wolff of the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Friday, “I’m a nationalist.” Translation: don’t believe your lying eyes.

President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Nov. 10. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The America I was taught to love demanded more from its leaders. Our presidents were held to high and seemingly impossible moral standards because they were considered a reflection of our better selves. They are more than who we are. They are who we aspire to be. That a majority of the American people voted for Hillary Clinton is an affirmation of those aspirations. Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency and the senior counselor who will guide him during it are stunning shows of contempt for who we have always sought to be.

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