This is Stephen K. Bannon, who is only controversial . (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
Columnist

Listen, what proof do you have that this dead lizard wrapped in the Confederate flag will not make an excellent chief strategist and senior counselor to the president of the United States?

I, for one, believe that everyone deserves a chance.

You’re not wrong that this appears to be a pig’s head slowly rotting on a stake, grotesque insinuations pouring from its mouth as flies buzz around it in the island heat, but I would need to learn more about it, honestly. I’m no expert.

You say that this man just painted a swastika on a church but — couldn’t it be a plus sign? We don’t know. Some people are better at drawing plus signs than others. I wouldn’t read anything into it. Maybe he just loves churches.

Yes, okay, this rabid opossum bit me on the ankle, then handed me an Islamophobic pamphlet, but we have no proof it wrote the pamphlet. This is America, where we give the benefit of the doubt.

You say, “potato enthusiastically supported by the Ku Klux Klan’s David Duke”; I say, “controversial potato.”

Just because something attracts anti-Semites and racists doesn’t mean that it, itself, is either of those things. It doesn’t mean that it supports their views. Who knows why anyone is attracted to anything? Weird coincidences happen all the time.

Listen, when we need to denounce an actual racist, anti-Semite, white supremacist, Islamophobe, you name it, I will be there. I promise. I will not hesitate to do that, when the time comes, clearly and appropriately labeled. I have yet to see one, but when I do, boy, I will light into him! It will be something to see.

This is not that.

I have no doubt that a real racist sexist chauvinist white supremacist will be easy to spot. “I am coming for minorities now,” he will say. “I am an actual racist. I am, literally, Hitler, or at the very least Goebbels.”

In fact, I recently read an article that pointed out, quite astutely, that we are not talking about LITERAL JOSEPH GOEBBELS here, and it reassured me a great deal. (When I think of positive things to say about people, the first place I go to is negative comparisons to Hitler’s inner circle. That was what I said at my best friend’s wedding during the maid-of-honor speech. “We don’t know for a fact,” I said, “that Emily is one of history’s greatest monsters.” If that is not a resounding endorsement of someone’s character, I can’t think what is.)

So I say, as many courageous members of Congress have said with me, what evidence do we have that Breitbart’s Steve Bannon will be anything but a fine chief strategist and counselor to President Donald Trump?

We have no proof that he is threatening, other than his words and actions, the voices that he has given a platform to, and the ugly philosophy he has allowed to spread. We cannot possibly know what is in his heart. So, you know. Who knows.

There is no need to denounce him. We should wait and see. Hear him out.

But when something really counts, you bet I’ll stand up and say something.