After violence erupted and claimed the life of an anti-racist protester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump is facing growing pressure to fire chief strategist Steve Bannon

Advertisement
Steve Bannon
Credit: Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump tours The AMES Companies, Inc., with the president in Harrisburg, Pa., Saturday, April, 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

After violence erupted and claimed the life of an anti-racist protester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, President Donald Trump faced growing pressure on social media to fire chief strategist Steve Bannon — the man who once proudly proclaimed his Breitbart News website as “the platform for the alt-right.”

The hashtag #FireBannon was trending on Twitter for much of Sunday evening and into Monday as celebrities and politicians called for Trump to axe Bannon, who is often cited as the nexus between the president and white nationalists.

“White supremacy has no place in America,” tweeted Star Trek actor George Takei. “Let’s start with the White House. #FireBannon.”

The president so far has stayed silent on the online call for Bannon’s firing.

On Monday, facing widespread criticism that he didn’t go far enough to condemn white nationalists for the violence at Saturday’s rally, Trump gave a press conference denouncing white supremacy and declaring, “Racism is evil.”

Trump did not acknowledge that his initial response blamed “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, simply saying: “As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.”

Earlier on Monday, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at an African-American pharmaceuticals mogul who resigned from the president’s manufacturing council to protest Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville.

At the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Saturday, white supremacist protesters clashed with counter-protesters who were demonstrating against the event. A 20-year-old man whom police identified as James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of ramming his car into a group of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Authorities said two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates, were also killed Saturday afternoon in a helicopter crash as they were responding to the rally.

For House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and many others, Trump’s condemnation of racism on Monday comes too late.

Pelosi knocked Trump’s “long overdue” Monday statement and urged the president to fire Bannon, saying: “If @realDonaldTrump is sincere about rejecting alt-right white supremacists sympathizers, he should start at the White House. #FireBannon.”

“The President’s statement on Saturday was a direct reflection of the fact that his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is an alt-right white supremacist sympathizer and a shameless enforcer of those un-American beliefs,” Pelosi also said in her statement.

RELATED VIDEO: Exclusive: Natasha Stoynoff Speaks Out: ‘I Don’t Want Women to Feel Afraid’

Meanwhile, Trump’s former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci ,who lasted only days in his position, said during an appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos that Trump’s much-criticized response to Charlottesville was influenced by Bannon.

“You also got this sort of Bannon-bart influence in there, which I think is a snag on the president,” Scaramucci said in his first TV interview since being fired from his short-lived White House post. “If the president really wants to execute that legislative agenda that I think is so promising for the American people, the lower-middle class people and the middle class people, then he has to move away from that sort of Bannon-bart nonsense.”