Most everyday liberals make comments that presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign staff are part of hate groups, part of the KKK, etc. Usually, it’s just bombastic rhetoric and funny jokes. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a fairly damning report that gives credence to the rhetoric and joking — and it’s not funny.
The SPLC revealed in their report that both Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon, CEO of the Trump campaign, have been members of the Council for National Policy (CNP) as recently as 2014. The appointment of Bannon was already controversial enough, since he is the former executive chairman of Breitbart News.
However, when examining what the CNP is known for, the controversy deepens. The New York Times has described the CNP as “the most powerful conservatives in the country.” In fact, ABC News reported that the executive director of the organization, Steve Baldwin, once bragged, “We control everything in the world.”
It’s also described as an “intensely secretive group” that meets privately three times a year. The New York Times also described the super secret society as, “a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country,” and it has met for 23 years. In fact, in a list of rules The New York Times obtained, members are explicitly banned from divulging information about their activities and membership: “The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting.”
The SPLC managed to obtain a copy of the CNP 2014 Membership Directory which consists of 191 pages showing 413 members, 118 members who have died, and 14 former presidents. To give you an idea of the type of people the club invites into their circle, consider that Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, was the vice president of the CNP in 2014.
Tim LaHaye, one of the founders of the CNP, is known for his apocalyptic Christian novels, describing gay men and women as “vile,” and believing the Illuminati want to establish a “new world order.”
Another former member, John Rousas Rushdoony once supported the novel idea of living in a society ruled by Old Testament law that stoned “adulteresses, idolaters, and ‘incorrigible'” children. The SPLC revealed:
‘The 2014 CNP members are paragons of the conservative establishment. There are business titans, Christian college presidents, owners and editors of right-wing media outlets, GOP mega-donors, government staffers, and leading members of conservative think tanks. There are officials of organizations like the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society. There are politicians and political appointees, anti-abortion activists and also some who are less known publicly as conservatives, like Linda L. Bean, who owns L.L. Bean Inc., an outdoorsy clothing company.’
Damn. No more L.L. Bean book bags for me.
With all that said, there are far worse members. But what’s important to note is that Donald Trump’s campaign manager and CEO of his campaign are part of a secretive conservative group that includes neo-Confederates, white supremacists, Obama “birthers,” conspiracy theorists, anti-gay activists, and more scummy sort of people. In fact, Conway was even a member of the executive committee.
How is that important? It’s important because by being in the same secret society, they share some common ideal somewhere. They agree and have some mutual beliefs. We don’t know what common ideals they share, but why would anyone want to be in the same room as some of these people? The SPLC wrote:
‘It’s not known how their contacts within the CNP may have affected Conway and Bannon. But as the SPLC concluded in its May report on the CNP: “At a time of extreme political polarization in our society, in the middle of an ugly presidential contest which has featured an almost unsurpassed record of ethnic, racial, and sexual insults and lies, Americans deserve to know who their ostensible leaders are mixing with as we collectively decide our country’s future.” That is as true of campaign leaders as it is of political candidates.’
Being members of the society, Conway and Bannon mingle with a group of people whose first concerns are issues surrounding Islam and anti-LGBT sentiments. The SPLC also put together an infograph that showed concerns members had with specific issues. Among Kellyanne’s ten concerns, they included “Marriage Issues,” “Immigration,” and “Abortion/Euthanasia.” Bannon’s concerns were not listed.
Whether this has any major impact on the Donald Trump campaign is questionable; however, it comes at a time when Mr. Donald Trump cannot afford to have anymore staffing issues. If he can’t vet his own staff, how can he vet immigrants and refugees? It also shows the morality of the people he mixes with. As one great man once said, “Play in sh*t, you smell like sh*t.”