The Macomb County GOP have booked a speaking engagement for ex-Trump strategist Steve Bannon at the Andiamo Celebrity Showroom as part of their Republican Unity Dinner. Bannon has long been a proponent of white supremacist ideology, through his online tabloid Breitbart, or attempted Executive Branch policy such as the Muslim Ban and mass deportations of Arabic/Latinx residents. By booking him for the keynote speaking engagement, the Macomb County GOP and Andiamo choose to endorse his hateful views, and Metro-Detroit Political Action Network (MDPAN) will be hitting the pavement to protest their support of one of America's most evil citizens.
In addition to aligning with white supremacy, there was an element of cheek to the date and choice of speaker. "It is fitting that Mr. Bannon would come here, to Macomb County, to mark this occasion since our community provided nearly five times the margin President Trump needed to win Michigan," said Macomb GOP Chair Cathy Kirk. Macomb has consistently voted Democrat since 1988, but gushed red in 2016 by a margin of almost 50,000 votes in favor Trump. That swing was enough to hand Trump the state, which he won by 10,704, on November 8th.
Andiamo Banquet and Event Center owner Joe Vicari has defended the choice of speaker, stating that his business does not discriminate against groups booking events. During MDPAN's call campaign, some members questioned how far that went, asking if he'd book ISIS/ISIL. To that, the company's management offered no comment.
By selecting Steve Bannon to headline a Republican Unity Dinner, the Macomb County GOP may be signaling a shift in philosophy. While running his Mercer-funded propaganda outlet, Breitbart, Bannon has drawn support from prominent Neo-Nazis such as Richard Spencer and Ku Klux Klansmen like David Duke. The site has provided a platform for anti-Muslim extremists such Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, including a multi-article series attacking fallen US soldier Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in a suicide bombing while serving in Iraq in 2004. Under his stewardship, Breitbart also embraces misogyny, publishing headlines reading "Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?" and repeated attacks on Planned Parenthood's support of the right to choose. In addition to espousing white male supremacy, Bannon also vows to attack the Republican establishment for not showing enough loyalty to Trump and his anti-immigrant agenda. He also claims to be attacking crony capitalism and tax cuts for billionaires, despite that being Trump's exact economic policy, reflected in cabinet choices such as Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin.
Once in power, Bannon turned his words into policy. He gutted staff in numerous federal government departments, particularly organizations such as the EPA, which he also hamstrung with the removal of environmental protection regulations, all to serve the agenda of coal and oil magnates. Bannon also advised Trump to attempt to ban Transgender service members in late July. He made repeated attempts to ban Muslim refugees fleeing terrorism in the Middle East, and mobilized ICE to detain and deport people of color. Michigan's Chaldean community was particularly hard hit by the latter policy, despite their Christian faith.
It is clear what brand of conservativism the Macomb County GOP embraces by the support of Bannon. As the recent counter-protest of white supremacists in Tennessee proves, coming out in numbers to shout down proponents of a white ethnostate is effective. Join MDPAN in demanding there be no hate in our state!