Steve Bannon's Citadel visit prompts civil rights groups to plan demonstrations
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - On Friday, The Republican Society at The Citadel will host former senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.
Bannon is not being welcomed by everyone in the Lowcountry, however.
The Rev. Thomas Dixon along with a host of other groups say they'll be exercising their right to rally peacefully in opposition to Bannon's visit.
“Freedom of expression does not run one way, but it runs both ways. Freedom of speech is a dual street,” Dixon said.
Dixon, the National Action Network, Indivisible Charleston, and a host of other groups all met Monday afternoon to discuss their rally on Friday.
“Many people foolishly assume that in organizing this rally our intention is to force the powers that be to stop Bannon from coming here -- to shut down his free speech and the right of The Citadel cadets to invite him here," Dixon said. "Whether those same people accept it or not, we agree with freedom of expression.”
Dee Partridge with Charleston S.U.R.G.E said Bannon spreads a divisive message.
“I think his actions, his support of white nationalist(s) and his viewpoints, especially when he was advising our current president, is very clear on what he believes. He’s not ambiguous,” says Partridge. “It’s easy to turn a blind eye, that’s what we’ve been doing for hundreds of years, but it’s time to stop doing that, it’s not going to change, and if we are silent it is a form of violence.”
In light of initial backlash, The Citadel Republican Society released a statement about Bannon's visit, saying he "has been at the forefront of conservative thought and policy for the last 20 years," and would be "by all measures an impressive and interesting speaker."
Catherine Templeton will introduce Bannon when he speaks at The Citadel Republican Society event Friday.
Templeton is running for governor. In a recent radio interview, she said Bannon represents "the voice of the rest of us."
The rally will take place at 68 Hagood Ave. on Friday, 5-8 p.m.