Kaiser offered several tidbits of advice for President-elect Trump to make good on his assurance that he doesn’t seek to “energize” the alt-right: “He should never retweet someone with the name ‘WhiteGenocide’ who lists his address as ‘Jew America,’ that’s what he did in February. He should never ask his supporters again to give the Nazi salute. … If you don’t want the support of the alt-right, don’t choose as a White House counselor … a man who uses the word ‘n—–,’ whose wife says that he did not want his kids to go to a school with too many Jews.”
Just a bit later, Baldwin intervened with her brush-back. Kaiser merely noted that he’s not in the habit of using that hateful term except when he’s quoting “someone who’s been appointed by the president to serve in the Oval Office.”
Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s choice for chief strategist in the White House, appears to be the person that Kaiser was describing. Numerous news reports have highlighted comments from Bannon’s ex-wife to this effect: “He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” according to the ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard. Those comments stemmed from a 2007 declaration relating to a divorce proceeding.
Yet Kaiser’s allegation about Bannon’s use of the n-word follows a cold trail. Though the former executive chairman of Breitbart News surely ran a media organization where the alt-right has found a roosting spot, there’s no readily available substantiation of the hateful behavior that Kaiser attributed to Bannon.
That’s because it was a mistake, Kaiser told the Erik Wemple Blog in a brief chat Tuesday afternoon. “I do apologize for one thing in particular. I mistook Bannon for Sessions. I was mistaking the one for the other,” he said. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is the president-elect’s nominee to serve as attorney general; in 1986, he was rejected for a federal judgeship after allegations that he’d used racist terms. The Guardian reported Monday that he’d faced accusations of referring to a black Alabama official in 1981 as a “n—–.” So that’s the alleged epithet that Kaiser was seeking to mention. Sessions denied having used the term in hearings regarding the judgeship.
Moving on from his apology, Kaiser tells this blog that he probably wouldn’t have used the word if he had a do-over, and yet: “There’s a part of me that feels you can’t fully express the shocking nature of the first appointments of Donald Trump without using the actual words used by these appointees,” he says.
Agreed: If they used this word, it should be repeated by a news organization, no matter what. Of course, here the Erik Wemple Blog runs into something of a hypocrisy problem, considering that Post standards, too, censor the term.