The White House slammed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) on Sunday for calling adviser Stephen Miller and former strategist Steve Bannon white supremacists, saying his comments were "outrageous and slanderous."
Brown was asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he agreed with comments made by Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson (Fla.) alleging the White House is "full of white supremacists." Wilson has been embroiled in a feud with the Trump administration this week after she revealed details of a phone call President Donald Trump made to a military widow from her district.
"I agree that Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, and Stephen Miller seems to be, and I know that studies have shown that they have their allies sprinkled around the White House," Brown said.
Brown on Rep. Wilson's comment: "I agree that Steve Bannon is a white supremacist and Stephen Miller seems to be" https://t.co/GJJcoKD8dR
— CNN (@CNN) October 22, 2017
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Brown's remarks indicted Ohio voters after they "overwhelmingly voted for the President's agenda." Trump won Ohio convincingly over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, one of several states Barack Obama won in his elections that Trump flipped to red.
"Senator Brown’s comments are outrageous and slanderous," Sanders said. "The nonstop name calling from the left continues to show an inability to build consensus and fix the problems ailing hardworking Americans."
"Senator Brown needs to understand that when he calls out public servants who are part of the Trump Administration, he is indicting the voters in Ohio themselves who overwhelmingly voted for the President’s agenda," she added. "Instead of performing theatre for the extreme left fringe, his time would be better spent fighting for everyday people by supporting the Trump Agenda of pro-worker trade and immigration policies that will raise wages and living standards for all Americans."
As senior policy adviser, Miller has strong influence on the Trump administration's tough immigration stances. Bannon, who was fired in August and served as chairman of conservative Breitbart News, has rejected being labeled a "white nationalist," saying he's simply a "economic nationalist."
Despite his strong rhetoric, Brown has signaled willingness to work with Trump on tax reform.