A retired Navy SEAL who tried to help Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon out of a PR crisis now has landed in one of his own.
Bannon, a former Breitbart News executive, has been hit with accusations of bigotry since the president-elect named him his chief adviser on Sunday. To try to undo some of the damage to his reputation, publicist Maria Sliwa (who, oddly, won’t say who she’s working for) offered up interviews with a Breitbart journalist, and also a retired Navy SEAL named Carl Higbie.
Higbie said in a news release early Wednesday that Bannon “has excelled in every single role he has held dating back to his service in the U.S. Navy.” A few hours later, Higbie appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” and earned a scolding from host Megyn Kelly for raising the subject of Japanese-American internment camps while arguing for a national registry of Muslims.
“It is legal, they say it will hold constitutional muster. I know the ACLU is going to challenge it, but I think it will pass,” Higbie told Kelly regarding the registry.”And we’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago, we did it during World War II with Japanese, which, call it what you will, it may be wrong …”
“Come on, you’re not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope,” Kelly interjected. “You know better than to suggest that. That’s the kind of thing that gets people scared, Carl.”
Higbie clarified that he was not at all in favor of internment camps, which imprisoned Japanese-Americans in World War II. But Trump critics quickly seized on his remarks.
Trump surrogates are already citing Japanese internment camps from WW II as "precedent" for Muslim registry pic.twitter.com/DVnjtom0mc
— Brendan Karet (@bad_takes) November 17, 2016
Though Sliwa declined to say who she works for, she told TheWrap on Wednesday that she was not employed by Bannon. She has, however, worked for Breitbart, and helped promote a graphic novel based on research by a group of which Bannon is the founding chairman.
When a Wrap reporter noted her work for Breitbart, she replied, “Oh God, please no,” and hung up.