14 Jewish Democrats co-sponsor bill requiring Bannon ouster from NSC

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — At least 14 Jewish Democrats are among the sponsors of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would force President Donald Trump to remove Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee and one of the co-sponsors, on Monday cited charges that Bannon has been associated with anti-Semitism as one of the reasons she is backing the bill.

“Let me be clear: Mr. #Bannon is woefully unqualified to serve as a White House official, let alone on the #NSC or the Principals Committee,” Lowey posted on Twitter. “As Chairman of Breitbart, Mr. Bannon espoused right-wing, anti-Semitic, & xenophobic views that aren’t in line with American values.”

Prior to joining Trump’s campaign last summer, Bannon, now Trump’s senior strategic advisor, headed Breitbart News, which he called a platform for the “alt-right,” a loose association of anti-establishment conservatives that has within its ranks anti-Semites as well as strident defenders of Israel.

The site itself is well known for its pro-Israel views – Bannon opened an Israel bureau in part to counter what he said was anti-Israel media bias – and for critical coverage of anti-Semitism in Europe and on U.S. campuses, but tropes about Jewish control and inauthenticity have occasionally crept into its copy.

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The site, which has taken a hawkish stance on immigration and border policies, has also at times featured articles that broadly generalize about Muslims, blacks, and Mexicans.

As of Monday, the congressional bill tracking website showed 113 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats, and 13 Jewish members out of the 20 Jewish Democrats in the House. Lowey did not yet appear on the list but announced her co-sponsorship on Twitter. With no Republicans backing it, the bill has little chance of advancing.

Other senior Jewish members co-sponsoring the bill include Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee; Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., a member of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee; Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking member on the House Middle East subcommittee; and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who has taken the lead in his state in opposing Trump’s initiatives, particularly his travel ban on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Nadler and Deutch last month spearheaded a letter to Trump signed by 50 Democrats calling for Bannon’s ouster.

The bill, introduced by freshman Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., says the president “may not designate any individual whose primary or predominant responsibility is political in nature to serve as a member of the Council.”