Charleston, SC (WCBD)- Friday night, former White House Strategist Steve Bannon will make his way to the Lowcountry.
Bannon will be speaking at the Patriot Dinner which is hosted by the Citadel Republican Society. His visit has generated some controversy.
State Representative Wendell Gilliard released a statement saying Bannon is not welcome in Charleston, describing the political activist’s behavior as “thug-like.”
Brady Quirk-Garvan, the chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party, also released a statement calling Bannon a racist bigot.
Larry Kobrovsky, the chairman of the local Republican Party, criticized Quirk-Garvan’s statement, telling News 2:
“The overuse of the terms racist and bigot has made it meaningless. And that’s like the last refuge of scandals – if you disagree with somebody, and they’re not sharing your vision of a social justice warrior, you’re a racist and a bigot. And what, I think, should concern all Americans and everybody living here in the Lowcountry is the attempt by the Democrats to be the thought police and shut down speech.”
Bannon’s visit has also drawn the attention of Gov. Henry McMaster and two challengers to his re-election campaign. Governor McMaster, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and Catherine Templeton are all expected to attend Bannon’s speech at the Citadel. Templeton is expected to introduce him to the audience.
News 2 spoke with Cameron Brown, the president of the Citadel Republican Society. He says the student group invited Bannon to speak because he was an impressive speaker.
When asked about the groups that will rally near campus in opposition to Bannon’s visit, Brown said the following:
“The first amendment is an incredible thing. We are glad that it’s such an incredible country, such as ours, we are able to peacefully rally, and essentially give our opinion in different ways. Other people don’t have the privilege of doing. I think it’s a beautiful think to have people rally across the street in opposition to express their differences, and their views, and their opinions.”
Pastor Thomas Dixon is hosting the rally. Dixon believes Bannon is a racist.
“It could be unconscious bias,” Dixon said. “I don’t know, it could be intentional bias. But I know he feeds into a rhetoric that is supported by some seriously volatile groups out here.”
Brown says he has reached out to Pastor Dixon, inviting him to speak to the Citadel Republican Society at a later date.
The Patriot Dinner is a fundraiser for Citadel Republicans. Proceeds from the event will be used to send cadets to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.