(CN) - President-elect Donald Trump on Monday morning faced a growing backlash over his naming campaign chairman and former Breitbart News publisher Stephen Bannon his chief White House strategist.
As head of Breitbart News, Bannon was seen as having close ties to white nationalists and the so-called "alt-right" movement, which is associated with white supremacist ideas that oppose multiculturalism and defend "Western values."
After he became the Trump campaign's chief executive in August, Bannon pushed Trump to paint rival Hillary Clinton as part of a global conspiracy made up of the political, financial and media elite, bankers bent on oppressing the country's working people.
Immediately after Bannon's appointment was announced Sunday, Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked for Ohio Gov. John Kasich's presidential campaign, tweeted, "The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant, America."
The chorus of unease grew louder Sunday night and Monday, as Democratic officials and civil rights organizations weighed in with their discontent.
“It is easy to see why the KKK views Trump as their champion when Trump appoints one of the foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric as his top aide. Bannon was ‘the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill,’ according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
The Anti-Defamation League also criticized Donald Trump's choice on Sunday, its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, issuing a statement Sunday that said, "It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the 'alt-right' — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the 'people's house.'"
These sentiments were echoed by Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D- Nev., who said the "choice of Steve Bannon as his top aide signals that white supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump’s White House.”
But the Trump campaign stood firmly behind Bannon Monday, insisting the controversy was evidence the president-elect's critics and the media were trying to "divide the people."
Appearing on CNN's "New Day" program Monday morning, Jason Miller, the spokesman for Trump's presidential transition team, said Bannon has done a "fantastic" job since becoming part of the Trump team.
He also said that Trump himself has adopted a "measured tone" since his election last Tuesday and that the president-elect has "made it very clear that he’s going to get to work for the American people right away and that he’s moved past the election. What I think is frustrating is when we see so much news coverage … on the issues that divide us following the election. I think that’s irresponsible.”
The controversy over Bannon overshadowed Trump's other appointment Sunday -- his naming Republican party chairman Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff.
Hoping to talk about how he intended to help Trump advance his legislative agenda, Priebus instead spent Monday morning explaining that inflammatory headlines on the website were written by unspecified staffers, and not Bannon himself.
Priebus is seen as an uncontroversial choice for chief of staff, and his appointment something of an olive branch to the Republicans who control both houses of Congress.
Among other things, Priebus has close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite.