It has become clear in the past few days that Democrats, and even some Republicans, aren’t happy with President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for chief strategist in the White House, campaign CEO Steve Bannon.
Bannon, who runs the conservative news site Breitbart, has been called racist, anti-Semitic and white nationalist -- and he runs a site that has, in addition to having been unapologetically pro-Trump throughout the election, is known as a home for the so-called “alt-Right.”
A quick look at the headlines on Breitbart shows that there is substantial fodder for critics of Bannon. Stories published on the site include items such as: “Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew,” “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?” and “Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet.”
And Bannon has also personally made comments that have stirred controversy -- CBS News has compiled some of them here.
ON RACISM / ANTI-SEMITISM:
-- In an interview with Mother Jones in August, Bannon acknowledged that white nationalists and anti-Semites are drawn to the so-called “alt-Right” movement.
“Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe,” he said. “Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.” (Mother Jones, August 2016)
-- In a 2011 radio interview, Bannon had a hypothesis about why progressive women vilify prominent conservative women like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.
“That’s why there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement,” he said, according to BuzzFeed. “That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.” (Political Vindication Radio, 2011)
-- Back in 1994, Bannon launched a series of verbal attacks at Abigail Alling, a former employee who was working on his Biosphere II project, which was meant to stimulate the surface of Mars. Prior to Bannon’s arrival on the project, Alling scheduled a break to warn employees that Bannon was not equipped to adhere to safety standards.
“I’m going to ram it down her f***ing throat,” Bannon reportedly said, referring to what he would do with her safety warnings. Alling and another employee were let go from the company
Bannon also referred to Alling as a “29-year-old bimbo,” and said he would “kick her a**,” comments he admitted to having made in a pretrial interview when Alling and the other employee sued the company for breach of contract and abuse of process. (BuzzFeed, August 2016)
ON REPUBLICANS / THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT:
Bannon also suggested conservatives should “bitch-slap the Republican Party,” according to The Atlantic.
According to the Atlantic, Bannon also told a gathering of conservatives, “We don’t believe there is a functional conservative party in this country and we certainly don’t think the Republican Party is that.” And he added, “It’s going to be an insurgent, center-right populist movement that is virulently anti-establishment, and it’s going to continue to hammer this city, both the progressive left and the institutional Republican Party.”
Bannon himself has described Breitbart as a vehicle of the “anti-establishment,” and has repeatedly dissed House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-’ the permanent political class,” he told the Washington Post. “We say Paul Ryan was grown in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation.” (Washington Post, January 2016)
Bannon also made reference to Ryan’s Catholic faith, complaining that Ryan “is rubbing his social justice Catholicism in my nose every second.” (Philly.com, August 2016)
-- Bannon was dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying they were the “greasiest, dirtiest people. “After making the Occupy movie, when you finish watching the film, you want to take a hot shower,” he said, according to The Atlantic. “You want to go home and shower because you’ve just spent an hour and fifteen minutes with the greasiest, dirtiest people you will ever see.” (The Atlantic, August 2016)