Rep. Gilliard says Bannon visit is inappropriate, has message for Citadel cadets
S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard has a meeting at The Citadel today, related to the upcoming visit of Steve Bannon to the military college's campus.
Gilliard said he is meeting with Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa and believes the visit is not appropriate.
Rep. Gilliard has also written a letter to citadel cadets sharing his thoughts on Bannon's visit, saying he believes the former strategist of President Donald Trump stands for hate and division. Gilliard said he believes in free speech but argues there are times that decorum and taste must override the gaudy display of politics.
He also wrote, "I call on each student at The Citadel to focus on those things that strengthen the integrity of the Corps of Students and not those of division and hate."
Bannon is scheduled to speak at The Citadel Republican Club's annual fundraising dinner on November 10.
The Citadel released the following statement earlier this week in response to those with concern's about Bannon's visit:
“The Citadel greatly values civility, and although all members of the college community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community. The Citadel’s regulations are clear that the college is committed to protecting and promoting free expression, which are essential to an academic institution.” - Col. John Dorrian, Vice President, Citadel Office of Communication and Marketing
In a recent interview, former legislator Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, said while he respects the work of Rep. Gilliard he believes in free speech. He said Bannon should be allowed to speak and people should be allowed to protest. (VIEW INTERVIEW)
Gilliard and Lt. Rosa will be meeting privately this afternoon.
Check back with ABC News 4 as we continue to follow this story.