WASHINGTON — The NAACP took aim Wednesday at President-elect Donald Trump, arguing that several of the people reportedly guiding his transition into the White House "indicate a disregard for the equal protection of all citizens."
The Baltimore-based civil rights organization focused mainly on reports that Frank Gaffney, a former Pentagon official under President Ronald Reagan, was advising the transition. On Wednesday, both Gaffney and Trump officials denied Gaffney had any formal role. Gaffney has been criticized for his positions on Islam.
The NAACP also echoed criticism from many Democrats and some Republicans to appoint Steve Bannon to a senior White House job.
Bannon, a Breitbart News executive, has been criticized by opponents for racially charged headlines and appealing to the so-called "alt-right" on the website.
"Both selections are troubling and incongruous with President-elect Trump's recent calls for unity and promises to serve the interests of all Americans," NAACP president Cornell William Brooks said in a statement. "Trump's choices instead indicate a disregard for the equal protection of all citizens and grant favor and influence to a faction with unabashedly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic views."
Trump spokesman Jason Miller defended Bannon on Wednesday. "That's just folks who are bitter the election's over," Miller told reporters at Trump Tower. "They didn't get the result that they wanted.
"Steve Bannon is someone who's done a fantastic job implementing the president-elect's vision on the campaign trail," he added. "He's someone I've had the opportunity to work with over the past three or four months -- someone I've seen very high character from."