Steven Bannon Threw Serious Shade at These People in His New Interview
During his recent interview with 60 Minutes, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon threw some serious shade at, well, just about everybody. In what he called “going to war” with the establishment, Bannon shared his raw opinions in his first official interview since his ousting. So without further ado, here’s a comprehensive list of all the people and groups Bannon keeps in his “black book.”
1. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan
Bannon called it as obvious as “night follows day” that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are trying to nullify the 2016 election. “They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented,” said the former White House chief strategist.
He added that McConnell “wanted us to back off” from day one, and put Republican leaders “on notice” for an accountability problem on the hill. Bannon also wants to drain the swamp of the next group himself.
2. The Republican party as a whole
Issuing what would register as a veiled threat from anyone with power, Bannon told Rose, “They’re going to be held accountable if they do not support the president of the United States. Right now there’s no accountability … They do not support the president’s program. It’s an open secret on Capitol Hill. Everybody in this city knows it.”
He further criticized both House and Senate leadership for “overpromising and under-delivering” on health care, noting they promised to repeal and replace Obamacare in the first few months of the administration, as well as overhaul taxes and infrastructure legislation by year’s end. Republican leadership remained unaware of division within their own party “‘til the very end,” according to the former staffer.
Bannon himself is working to bring about that end, by organizing a slate of primary challenges against Republican senators. According to Politico, Bannon is coordinating with mega-donor Robert Mercer to launch an “all-out war” against McConnell and the GOP establishment.
The next hit shows his vitriol is not limited to Republicans.
3. Politicians in general
It’s no secret that Steve “drain the swamp” Bannon harbors no love for politics, but he called embracing the establishment the “original sin of the administration.”
A self-professed Leninist, Bannon’s makes his anti-establishment attitude clear. At a November 12, 2013 event, Bannon told The Daily Beast’s Ronald Radosh of his plans to destroy the establishment. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” If calling out just about everyone whose name he could recall provides any indication, that opinion holds today.
But Bannon didn’t limit his hatred to those inside the political system.
4. Dreamers and DACA
The interview took place the day after the Trump administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides legal protection for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Bannon believes the program should be abolished, saying the president should “focus on American citizens.” He also added that people on the right of the aisle agree with him.
“As long as you’re a citizen of our country. As long as you’re an American citizen, you’re part of this populist, economic nationalist movement,” Bannon said. He included “every nationality, every race, every religion, every sexual preference.”
Bannon consistently pushes his “America first” agenda, even though some of the same leaders he name-dropped as great Americans were immigrants themselves. As NPR explained after the interview, greats like Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and the Roosevelts weren’t as solidly on Bannon’s side as he seems to think.
As NPR’s Steve Inskeep explained, “He’s right that Americans built a powerful country in the 19th century. But that country was diverse, fed off immigration, was constantly changing, and was not really walled off from the world. Any suggestion otherwise is factually wrong.”
Bannon also hit back at institutions he does claim to respect, apparently only to a point.
5. The Catholic Church
One would think Bannon, a practicing Catholic, supports that institution. Wrong. “The Catholic Church has been terrible about this,” Bannon said. “They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. It’s obvious on the face of it,” he said, adding that his church harbors an economic interest in unlimited illegal immigration.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke out against these allegations. James Rogers, the USCCB’s chief spokesman, called Bannon’s comments “preposterous,” and “insulting,” according to CNN. “Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting,” he said.
Although Bannon paid lip service to New York Bishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the cardinal told Sirius Radio he considered Bannon’s statements beneath comment. Next, his religion proves not the only practice Bannon participates in but also condemns.
6. Gary Cohn and White House leakers
Loyal, self-professed street fighter wingman Bannon will defend Trump to the end. “If you’re gonna break, then resign,” he said.
Rose pointed out that despite condemning the leaks, Bannon has poked his fair share of holes. “You know that this White House leaks like nobody’s ever seen a White House leak,” he said. “And they’re getting the story about conflict between you and H.R. McMaster. They’re getting stories about conflict between you and Jared Kushner, and you and Ivanka Trump. They’re getting all these stories because people in the White House, including you, are leaking.”
Axios reported in August that Trump believed Bannon was behind damaging leaks. He reported feeling “fed up” with Bannon’s leakage, which ultimately cost him his White House job.
For a nice change, Bannon did speak out against one group almost the entire world agrees he should.
7. Neo-Nazis and racists
Bannon took issue with Nazis and racists getting a “free ride” from Trump. He noted they add no value to the party, but that David Duke and his clan “show up for every media opportunity.”
So the Breitbart executive takes issue with the “small but vicious” group, not because of their ideology, but their media hunger. He noted the president denounced former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. But as USA Today pointed out, the white supremacist thanked the president for his remarks after protests in Charlottesville, Va.
Bannon’s next target got very geographically specific.
8. Liberals and New Yorkers, in particular
Bannon, who touted his military service and “integrated” Catholic education, said he doesn’t need to be lectured by a bunch of “limousine liberals.” He reported his “lived experience” as integration, but the Benedictine Military High School 1972 yearbook tell a different story. Despite his boss’s New York roots, Bannon spewed particular contempt for them, especially the Upper East Side and Hamptons areas.
His next target challenges his American superiority theory.
Bannon criticized China’s economic policy, saying that “China is at economic war with us.” He also accused China of “cutting out the beating heart of American innovation” through what he calls “forced technology transfer.”
The U.S. does lose up to $600 billion annually in intellectual property thefts, according to an article by former national intelligence officials in the New York Times. True, much of that theft comes from China. China steals trade secrets regularly, but laws don’t make it impossible to do so.
According to cybersecurity expert Greg Austin in Science, “The industry standard for competitive edge in [intellectual property] is in some cases just a couple of years.” He added that shady distinctions between illegal IP transfers and lawful sharing of knowledge make prosecution tough. “Scientists in many countries, including the United States, cooperate actively with the Chinese in quantum research, and it is all perfectly legal.”
Next, Bannon blamed a lot of the Trump administration’s problems on its predecessors.
10. James Clapper, Condoleezza Rice, Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and the entire Bush administration
Bannon holds the Bush administration in total and complete contempt, he told Rose. Calling them “idiots,” Bannon took the entire administration to task for “questioning a good man like Donald Trump.” Although he initially demurred to name names, once Rose got him started, he threw the Obama and Clinton administrations into the mix too.
Every administration inherits the sins and successes of its fathers, and Trump’s takes no exception. That said, the Trump administration uses name-calling as a form of standard communication, so Bannon’s response fits right in.
The Breitbart exec didn’t stop the condemnations there.
11. Everyone who didn’t side with him over Billy Bush
Bannon called the 2005 video in which Bush and Trump described women in vulgar terms “a litmus test.” Of that incident, he quoted The Wild Bunch: “When you side with a man, you side with him.” People who didn’t do that, according to Bannon, included Reince Preibus and Chris Christie. He implied that Christie didn’t get a cabinet position for that reason.
The whole quote from the movie reads, “We’re not gonna get rid of anybody! We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be! When you side with a man, you stay with him!” By contrast, the Trump administration cleans house more often than a high-traffic hotel.
12. The ‘pearl-clutching’ mainstream media
In praising Trump’s use of Twitter, Bannon said Trump goes over the media’s head to talk directly to the people. He lambasted the Washington Post, The New York Times, and CBS News specifically, before turning on Rose directly. “This is another just standard in judgment that you rain upon him in the effort to destroy Donald Trump,” he concluded.
Many of Bannon’s statements did not break with the rhetoric he’s spewed since his appearance on the scene. While this was the first TV interview Bannon gave, don’t think it’s the last we’ve heard of him.