Steve Bannon Isn’t Coming to Harvard Anymore
Steve Bannon, the alt-right icon and strategist for Donald Trump, has cancelled his trip to Harvard.
“We were informed today that Mr. Bannon will not be attending the campaign managers conference here this week,” Kennedy School spokesman Doug Gavel wrote in an email late Tuesday afternoon. The Harvard Crimson was first to report the news.
Bannon had been scheduled to be on campus during a post-election discussion hosted by the Institute of Politics, which includes journalists and statisticians and features Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Hillary Clinton campaign head Robby Mook—all of whom are still expected to attend the conference, Gavel says.
It was not immediately clear why Bannon cancelled the visit. A Crimson source attributed the decision to a scheduling change.
Protesters planned to gather on campus Wednesday afternoon to for a peaceful demonstration to oppose inviting Bannon and other Trump advisors to the campus. “Trump brought racist ideologues into the mainstream,” the event’s description reads. “By treating this situation as normal, Harvard is normalizing what Bannon stands for. We do not accept hate and bigotry as normal or legitimate.” More than 3,000 said on Facebook they were interested in attending.
The protest is “most certainly” still on, says Tom Arabia, one of its organizers, in an email. “[W]e are protesting all those complicit with and responsible for the Trump agenda of war, oppression and attacks on the working class. [W]e count Bannon’s cancellation as a success and wind in our sails, not as a reason to rest on our laurels.”
Kennedy School leaders had defended inviting the Trump team to Harvard, and Dean Doug Elmendorf planned to read a statement at the start of the conference about maintaining the decades-old tradition of inviting major campaign players “even if their actions or words are abhorrent to some members of our community or are in conflict with the values of the Kennedy School itself.”
But this was never going to be friendly territory for Bannon.
Among critics of the president-elect—and his policy proposals and rhetoric—Bannon has become perhaps Trump’s most reviled appointees. But that is certainly the case in Massachusetts, where he’s been targeted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, formerly of Harvard, and has been condemned by the entire state delegation.
He also began the week facing new criticism after claims surfaced that he had once said suppressing the black vote would be “not such a bad thing.”
Also on Tuesday, hundreds of professors at nearby MIT published a statement signed by nearly 400 faculty members who opposed Trump’s picks to lead his administration, the website for which singled out Bannon specifically. Organizers, though, said the open letter wasn’t directly related to the conference.
This month, more than 1,000 women affiliated with the Harvard Business School—of which Bannon is an alum—signed a letter condemning his selection for a role in the White House.