Steve Bannon Pulls Out Of Speech At Top Washington Think Tank
WASHINGTON ― White House chief strategist Steve Bannon withdrew from a planned appearance at one of Washington’s premiere mainstream think tanks after scholars expressed alarm that the institution would be giving legitimacy and a friendly forum to one of the most controversial members of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Over the past month, staff members at the center-left Brookings Institution became aware that the think tank’s leadership had invited Bannon to address its board of trustees meeting in June, according to multiple Brookings staff members who requested anonymity to speak openly with HuffPost. Because it would be a board meeting, it would not have been open to the public.
David Nassar, vice president of communications at Brookings, confirmed the invitation.
Scholars at all levels of the organization developed concerns about Bannon’s appearance and whether they would be able to press him and engage in an open dialogue, according to the Brookings staff members. “There were some who thought it was no big deal. Some of us quite decidedly felt it was a very big deal, ethically obtuse and stunningly stupid,” said a senior staff member.
Employees had an opportunity to express their worries to Brookings President Strobe Talbott at three in-person meetings last week, Nassar said.
On Wednesday, Brookings informed staff that Bannon had decided not to attend. They did not state a reason for his decision. The White House did not return a request for comment on why Bannon backed out.
“The rank-and-file worked hard and the leadership was responsive [in the meetings]. I’m proud to say I work here with how this played out,” said a senior staff member who attended one of the meetings.
But when Bannon canceled, Brookings had not yet had the time to consider whether it wanted to change the format of his appearance, let alone inform […]