The typically press-averse Steve Bannon, who serves as chief strategist to President Trump, gave two interviews that were published yesterday. Bannon spoke with The American Prospect, a left-leaning magazine, and The New York Times. The American Prospect boasted a wide-ranging conversation with Bannon and magazine co-founder Robert Kuttner whereas The New York Times included Bannon’s take in a larger article with how the Republican Party is grappling with Trump’s comments on white nationalists.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Bannon’s interview with the Prospect drew parallels with former communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s interview with The New Yorker, especially once Axios reported that Bannon was not aware that it was an interview. Kuttner also addressed this in his article, writing, “The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press.”
“He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America.”
The interview was so popular that the Prospect’s servers could not handle the traffic and went down for a period of time following publication.
Of the North Korean nuclear crisis, Bannon effectively said that Trump was bluffing when he discussed a military response, “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it.” In addition, he said of the North Koreans, “They got us.”
Bannon also discussed the white nationalist element of the country that many have accused him of emboldening with his work at Breitbart, however he said, “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
“These guys are a collection of clowns.”
Bannon then gave a third interview to the Daily Mail’s David Martosko where he spun the Prospect interview as a positive. Bannon told the Daily Mail that he “changed the [media] narrative” away from criticism of President Trump by giving the interview. However by Thursday morning, most of the media had resumed talking about Trump’s response to the Charlottesville terrorist attack. This was in part because the President had invited the attention himself with several tweets on the matter that morning.