Top Republicans Refuse to Attack Trump's Appointment of Bannon

House majority leader insists president-elect has the right to appoint whoever he thinks is best.

Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York, Nov. 11, 2016.
Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump has the right to appoint whoever he wants, Republicans in Washington are saying in response to the U.S. president-elect naming Steve Bannon as his top strategist, American news outlets reported on Monday.

Bannon, who ran the Breitbart news site until he took over Trump's campaign this past summer, has been accused of harboring racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic views.

"The president-elect always gets to pick his team going forward," U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday. "Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus (Trump's chief of staff) worked very closely together on this campaign... The president has the right to select who he thinks to be able to move through." McCarthy (R-CA) said he didn't know Bannon but did speak to him on Sunday.

Other Republicans cast aspersions on criticism of Bannon or said his past had nothing to do with his future, according to the Washington Post

“Did he write it? Give me something that he wrote,” Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), said when asked about Bannon's seedy reputation. “I hear a lot of innuendo of this, but I haven’t seen it.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) commented, “Of course I’d have serious problems with anti-Semitic statements coming out of the White House, but I don’t expect that.”