Angered by multiple news reports that U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D–Hawaii, didn’t sign a letter with 169 of her Congressional colleagues denouncing President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of white nationalist Stephen Bannon to be his “chief strategist,” Hawaii Rep. Angus McKelvey, D–West Maui, sent Gabbard a letter of his own. The strongly worded letter criticizes Gabbard for not standing stronger against Bannon’s extremism and support for white supremacists.
As you are aware, Mr. Bannon–the former executive of Breitbart News, has earned a reputation as a racist xenophobe who promotes anti-Semitism and takes a radical approach to illegal immigration,” McKelvey says in his Nov. 17 letter (there’s a link to the complete letter at the end of this post). This flies in the face of what Democrats–particular Hawaii Democrats–stand for. In fact, criticism of Bannon appears to come from both Democrats and Republicans alike. The House Democrats’ opposition letter cites praises on Bannon’s appointment from white nationalist leaders, representing organizations such as the KKK and the Nazi Party, as disturbing. Indeed, this is beyond disturbing. This is something that everyone in America should find reprehensible especially here in Hawaii as we are living, breathing tapestry of a multitude of cultures and races.”
Gabbard’s office has not responded to repeated voicemails and emails asking why she didn’t sign the Bannon letter. On the morning of Monday, Nov. 21, Gabbard met with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Multiple news organizations reported that Gabbard’s under consideration for a possible job at the Departments of State or Defense or as a possible UN Ambassador (click here for our story on the meeting). Her post-meeting statement mentioned only that she discussed foreign affairs with Trump.
But all of that happened after McKelvey sent his letter.
“All of this begs the question of why you–an elected Democrat representing constituents in a highly Democrat district–support an individual who has a propensity for racism, antiimmigration [sic], anti-Semitism, and ties to White Supremacists groups,” McKelvey added in his Nov. 17 letter. “Your silence on this issue also infers to many that you would rather see our country continue its current course of disorder and turmoil instead of unity for the good of all the people.”
Reached by phone, McKelvey said he hasn’t received any response from Gabbard to his letter. “I’m shocked,” he said of the whole affair. “I’m stunned. If she had campaigned on this, I think Shay [Chan Hodges, Gabbard’s primary election challenger] would have won. Someone has to call her out. Her agenda has been the Tulsi agenda, not our agenda.”
Here’s McKelvey’s letter to Gabbard: 161118_tg_bann_letter_pos_clar_02
Photo courtesy Angus McKelvey