In an appearance on CNN, Sen. Mike Lee blasts House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for making the repeated, unsubstantiated claim to reporters Thursday that White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is a “white supremacist.” Lee says Pelosi (and other liberals in high dudgeon over Donald Trump’s first actions as president) should “focus on the policy” rather than “attacking the person.”
“I think this is nonsense,” Lee told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I think this is defamatory. I think she’s acting with reckless disregard for the truth. I wish people would stop throwing out arguments like that.”
Earlier on Thursday, Pelosi slammed President Trump’s Saturday decision to install Bannon on the National Security Council. Speaking to reporters in the U.S. Capitol, she said that having him on the NSC would make the U.S. less safe.
“It’s a stunning thing that a white supremacist, Bannon, would be a permanent member of the National Security Council,” Pelosi said.
Trump issued an executive memorandum over the weekend making Bannon, a former executive chairman of the conservative Breitbart News media outlet, a member of the NSC. The move drew condemnation from members of both parties who said that political staffers traditionally do not participate in the NSC out of concerns that political considerations would skew national security policy.
Lee lambasted Pelosi’s comments and said the criticism wasn’t constructive or policy-focused.
“If they want to focus on a particular policy, fine,” Lee said. “But it’s time for them to stop throwing around dangerous labels like that one.”