Hong Kong/New Jersey: Activists gathered in central Hong Kong Tuesday to protest the visit of US President Donald Trump’s former top strategist Steve Bannon, chanting “Nazis are not welcome here!” as they donned cartoon Trump masks.
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The protesters stood outside the harbourfront Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong where the 63-year-old was due to speak at a closed-door investors’ forum, holding a rooster-shaped cardboard cut-out capped with Trump’s hairstyle and labelled “toxic nationalist”.
Media were denied access to Bannon’s speech, hosted by CLSA, a Hong Kong-based brokerage firm owned by China’s CITIC Securities, China’s biggest investment bank.
Another banner bearing the faces of Bannon and China’s President Xi Jinping denounced racism and nationalism, with protesters accusing both of using divisive populist agendas to boost political support.
A pugnacious defender of populist and nationalist policies, Bannon was ousted from office last month as the White House was left reeling over the president’s response to a violent white supremacist rally.
He also championed trade protectionism and was seen as the driving force behind Trump’s isolationist and anti-immigrant agenda.
“Racism and bigotry have no borders. We are here in solidarity with global citizens as well as US citizens to condemn Donald Trump’s administration and Steve Bannon’s actions,” said activist Avery Ng of the Hong Kong pro-democracy party League of Social Democrats.
Sally Tang of political organisation Socialist Action questioned the sincerity of Bannon’s populist agenda.
“Bannon is inside with a lot of super-rich billionaires,” she said.
“The Chinese government and the US government are both using nationalism and (propaganda) to raise support inside their own countries,” Tang added.
Since being ousted from office Bannon has returned to the ultra-conservative news outlet Breitbart, which he headed before joining Trump’s team.
He has previously worked in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Christie disputes claims Bannon made about him in interview New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is disputing comments former White House adviser Steve Bannon made about him during an interview with CBS News.
Bannon claimed Christie was passed over for a cabinet position in the Trump administration because the Republican governor was reluctant to publicly support the then-GOP presidential candidate after the release of video showing Trump making vulgar remarks about women.
Bannon said he discussed the issue with Christie. But Christie said Monday night that the conversations never happened, saying he didn’t need to speak with “staffers” because he was speaking directly with Trump.
Christie also said people won’t care about anything else Bannon has to say because the former adviser was “fired.”
The interview with Bannon aired Sunday on “60 Minutes.”
White House suggests ex-FBI director committed perjury
The White House renewed its attack Monday on former FBI director James Comey, justifying his controversial dismissal with suggestions that he committed perjury and leaked sensitive information.
After a top ex-aide to Donald Trump described the decision to fire Comey as a grave mistake, the White House hit back with a volley of allegations against the former lawman.
“The president was right in firing director Comey,” said spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claiming “new information about his conduct” had “only provided further justification” for Trump’s decision.
That new information, Sanders said, included “giving false testimony” and “leaking privileged information to journalists.”
Asked whether she was accusing the ex-FBI chief of committing perjury — which can result in a five-year prison sentence — Sanders said that was something for the Justice Department to examine.
“I’m not an attorney,” she said.
The comments came after former chief strategist Steve Bannon said firing Comey was the worst mistake in “modern political history.”
Trump’s move fuelled allegations of a cover-up of his campaign’s ties to Russia and spurred the appointment of a special prosecutor and the empanelling of a grand jury.