Former White House chief strategist and the man behind President Donald Trump’s white nationalist ideology sat down for a freewheeling interview with CBS’ Charlie Rose and made it clear that his war with the Republican establishment is far from over.
Steve Bannon, who also served as Trump’s campaign chair during the presidential election, recently appeared on “60 Minutes” and discussed his long list of enemies while insisting he will continue to fight for his former boss.
However, he did admit the commander-in-chief and his team have made some significant errors since the election, which is honestly putting it extremely lightly.
“In the 48 hours after we won, there's a fundamental decision that was made,” Bannon told Rose. “You might call it the original sin of the administration. We embraced the establishment. I mean, we totally embraced the establishment.”
There is no love lost between the CEO of Breitbart and establishment Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, both of whom have been viciously attacked by the far-right media mogul.
“The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election. That's a brutal fact we have to face,” Bannon continued. “They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. It's very obvious.”
Going back to the first few days after Trump won the election, Bannon called siding with mainstream Republicans a misguided decision for the then-president-elect.
“I think in President Trump's mind, or President-Elect Trump's mind, in Jared [Kushner]'s mind, in the family's mind, I actually agreed with the decision. Because you had to staff a government," he explained. "And to be brutally frank, you know, the campaign, look, I'd never been on a campaign in my entire life, right? You know, I'm a former investment banker who's a media guy, running a little website. We were, our whole campaign was a little bit the island of misfit toys. So he looks around and I'm wearing my combat jacket, I haven't shaved, I got, you know, my hair's down to here, and he says, he's thinking, 'Hey, I've gotta put together a government. I've gotta really staff up something. I need to embrace the establishment.’”
When asked about the sudden and dramatic firing of former FBI Chief James Comey, Bannon insinuated he was against the decision.
“That would be probably, that probably would be too bombastic even for me,” Bannon responded after Rose inquired if Bannon once privately described Comey's firing as “the biggest mistake in political history.”
“But maybe modern political history,” he then added.
"So the firing of James Comey was the biggest mistake in modern political history?" Rose asked, referring to a rumor that Bannon once privately described Comey's firing as such.
“That would be probably, that probably would be too bombastic even for me,” he responded, “but maybe modern political history.”
He also said if it were not for Comey’s abrupt departure, Special Counsel Robert Mueller would not have been appointed to investigate Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“We would not have the Mueller investigation and the breadth that, clearly, Mr. Mueller is going for,” Bannon said. While he also maintained Mueller should not be removed from his position, he continued criticizing the investigation into the potential collusion. “There's nothing to the Russia investigation. It's a waste of time.”
After recounting Trump and his equally incompetent administration’s errors, Bannon went on to brand former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell along with former Vice President Dick Cheney and all GOP national security officials in the George W. Bush administration as “idiots.”
“I hold these people in contempt, total and complete contempt,” Bannon said, blaming them for trade problems with China and the Iraq war. “They’re idiots, and they’ve gotten us in this situation, and they question a good man like Donald Trump.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Joshua Roberts