The following is a statement from Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP:
“As the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country, the NAACP is deeply disturbed by recent reports of President-elect Trump’s intention to appoint Frank Gaffney, well-known as an Islamophobic conspiracy theorist, to his transition team to guide the selection of national security advisors. The news of Gaffney’s new position follows Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, as senior advisor and chief strategist to the White House.
Both selections are troubling and incongruous with President-elect Trump’s recent calls for unity and promises to serve the interests of all Americans. 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. The NAACP strongly encourages the President-elect to build a team that seeks to heal rather than aggravate the wounds of division that afflict our nation.
The announcements of President-elect Trump’s senior advisors coincided with the release of the FBI’s report on hate crimes in 2015. The FBI’s 2015 data showed a 6.8 percent increase from hate crime incidents reported to the police in 2014, including a 67 percent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
The recent election season saw campaigns founded on platforms of hatred and bigotry. Therefore, it is sadly unsurprising that hate crimes – from vandalism and intimidation to church burnings reminiscent of the Jim Crow Era – have continued to rise in 2016. Since the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center received reports of more than 437 hate crimes – equal to 7.5 percent of all of the hate crime incidents reported to the FBI in all of 2015. In North Carolina, on the heels of multiple court decisions calling out the intentional disenfranchisement of black voters, one vandalized building proclaimed, “Black lives doesn’t [sic] matter and neither does your vote.”
These are the dangerous, tangible consequences of derogatory rhetoric and discriminatory policies becoming de rigueur. Trump’s appointment of Gaffney and Bannon further substantiates his most threatening campaign remarks and endorses such a surge in expressions of hate.
During this transition, there are those who say “wait and see.” Having seen these two morally disqualified appointees, the NAACP cannot wait or ignore. The NAACP is working with our 2,200 units across the country to document and take legal and political action against the explosions of hate playing out in the public square. We will continue to monitor the new administration’s words and deeds with the utmost vigilance and fight back against any attempt to roll back hard-won civil and human rights advances.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.