US: Bannon’s Exit Opens Door for Policy Reversals

(HRW) – The Trump administration should use the announced departure of Stephen Bannon as chief White House strategist to quickly distance its civil rights and immigration policies from white nationalist politics, Human Rights Watch said today. The White House announced that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Bannon have “mutually agreed” that August 18, 2017 will be Bannon’s last day.

“Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House could reduce the toxic influence of white nationalist politics in the White House, but only if coupled by a real shift in administration policies on civil rights and immigration,” said Jasmine L. Tyler, US Program advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “But President Donald Trump himself needs to shift his rhetoric and commit his administration to protecting the human rights of everyone in the United States, across the racial spectrum, if he hopes to regain credibility and distance himself from the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who have embraced him.”

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Human Rights Watch opposed Bannon’s appointmentbecause of his longstanding affinity for the white nationalist movement and has repeatedly called for his removal.

Going forward, the Trump administration needs to uphold the fundamental values of equality and nondiscrimination, Human Rights Watch said. The Trump administration should reverse its decision to eviscerate the mandates and budgets of US civil rights institutions; end its attempt to exclude white nationalism from the federal government’s Countering Violent Extremism programs; and end immigration and refugee policies based on anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiment.

This report prepared by Human Rights Watch.