On Thursday, Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, did an interview with the New York Times describing the media as “the opposition party” and saying it should “keep its mouth shut.” Unsurprisingly this has brought renewed attention to Bannon’s role in the White House and there is currently a petition calling for his removal at the official White House petitions site.
Alongside petitions calling for the release of President Trump’s tax returns, and the creation of a blind trust with hundreds of thousands of signatures, the petition for Bannon’s removal has just one signature registered. This is not because only one person has tried to sign the petition, but because the website is not registering additional signatures (thanks to Susan Hennessey for flagging this and reviving my original #RemoveBannon post).
So as not to lose the current momentum in opposition to Bannon, Ben Wittes has created an independent petition site to carry us through until the White House petition site is functioning again.
As others have been noting, there are plenty of challenges ahead in interacting with the Trump Administration. But concerned citizens will be acting with their hands tied behind their backs if there is not a free press to report on the administration’s actions. The first White House press briefing by Sean Spicer raised a terrifying red flag in terms of this administration’s relationship to the media. Bannon’s comments show where this “media-as-enemy” mentality is coming from.
There are many important goals for citizens to be working toward, and removing Bannon is no magic bullet. But it would be a great first step and it is achievable. Many people of good will voted for Trump. No one voted for Steve Bannon.