When the history books are written about the four-year nightmare that was the Donald Trump era, a lot of ink will be spilled about how despicable and outright criminal behavior was not only condoned, but endorsed, by either Trump or his acolytes. Without a doubt, one of the worst offenders in this regard is far-right activist Steve Bannon.
Trump plucked Bannon from his post as impresario of Breitbart News to lead his then-flailing 2016 campaign. After Trump’s upset victory, Bannon briefly served as Trump’s chief strategist before being pushed out in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville. He promptly returned to his old post as chairman of Breitbart, only to be shunted aside in January 2018 after he was quoted as making a number of unflattering comments about members of the Trump inner circle in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury.”
By all rights, though, Bannon should have been pushed out long before then. In October 2017, Buzzfeed reported that Bannon actively used Breitbart in an effort to normalize white supremacists and white nationalists. If Buzzfeed was able to uncover this, how were those who vetted Bannon for his posts on the Trump campaign and the West Wing unable to uncover it?
If there was any doubt that Bannon is one of the worst people in the world, it was erased on Thursday. During that day’s edition of his daily podcast, “War Room: Pandemic,” Bannon made terroristic death threats against infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray. NBC News’ Frank Figliuzzi got a clip.
Bannon claimed that if it were up to him, he would behead Fauci and Wray and “put their heads on pikes,” then display them outside the White House “as a warning to bureaucrats” who dare refuse to knuckle under to Trump’s demands.
Before the day was out, Facebook and YouTube had deleted that episode from their platforms, and Twitter had permanently banned the show’s account. The following day, the lawyer who had been helming Bannon’s defense against federal fraud charges pulled out of the case.
In light of these developments, a video posted by the Oak Initiative, the religious right activist group helmed by leading pro-Trump pastor and “prophet” Rick Joyner, looks questionable at best. On Saturday morning, the Oak Initiative saw fit to post a clip from Bannon’s show to its Facebook page.
Bannon was telling his audience about a supposed operation called “Project Hammer,” which is designed to change votes after they’re cast. Supposedly, Barack Obama would have lost to Mitt Romney if not for this Stalin-era system.
The fact that a Christian organization promoted such blatant disinformation is disturbing enough in and of itself. But for Joyner to give a platform to Bannon so soon after Bannon called for two government officials to be beheaded is simply outrageous. When the best case is that Joyner and the social media team at the Oak Initiative haven’t been paying attention to the news, that’s not a good sign.
But even if Joyner and his team weren’t paying attention, there were plenty of reasons not to give Bannon a platform. After all, in 2017, Buzzfeed extensively documented how Bannon used Breitbart to give platforms to some of the worst people in the world–white nationalists, white supremacists, and outright Nazis. Even before then, we knew he had documented ties to white supremacists and white nationalists. We knew that his editorial meetings sounded like white supremacist rallies. We also knew that he frequently quoted from a staggeringly racist French novel during his appearances on “Breitbart News Daily.”
Every one of these anecdotes would be enough in and of themselves to make any pastor with an iota of decency run away from Bannon. Additionally, Bannon’s terroristic threats against Fauci and Wray would be enough to make any pastor with an iota of decency balk at giving Bannon a platform.
All together? The fact that we even have to wonder why Joyner would give a platform to a man who has long since proven himself to be one of the worst people in the world should be reason enough to make anyone think twice about associating with him.
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