Stephen Kevin "Steve" Bannon (born November 27, 1953) is a movement conservative who helped guide Donald Trump to his remarkable presidential victory and then stayed on as a top advisor in the White House until August 2017, pushing for Trump to pursue the conservative policy agenda he had campaigned on. Bannon then continued his work as a leading conservative activist at Breitbart News as its executive chairman, a position he also held prior to August 2016. He was forced to resign in January 2018. He is also a former U.S. naval officer and businessman.
Bannon's conservative principles of economic nationalism, populism, and non-interventionism are influential among conservatives and Republicans. Bannon's nationalist and pro-worker positions, as well as his opposition to the establishment globalist faction of the GOP, are also attractive to some on the Left, as well as minorities.
Bannon joined the United States Navy in 1977 and became an officer in six months. He became a strong supporter of Ronald Reagan after he saw Jimmy Carter's destructive left-wing policies – before that, he was apolitical. He served for seven years.
Bannon and Roger Ailes of Fox News Channel knew each other were allies to an extent but also were rivals, competing for their differing visions for the Republican Party and for greater influence over Trump. Bannon won out on the struggle after Trump became the GOP nominee. During the campaign, Bannon warned Ailes about Megyn Kelly, with the former telling Ailes that she would betray him. That came true in July 2016.
The left-of-center Bloomberg News called Bannon "the most dangerous political operative in America" in October 2015, due to his desire to defeat both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential election.
White House Chief Strategist
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump appointed Bannon as his chief strategist, and Bannon took office upon Trump inauguration on January 20, 2017.
Due to his conservative, nationalist views, as well as his strong opposition to the mainstream media, the MSM was ruthless in trying to oust him from the White House. More moderate members in the White House also oppose him. Due to that opposition, Bannon has been falsely claimed to be "racist," even though these claims have been refuted. In fact, Bannon has called white supremacists and racists "a collection of clowns." He was described as the "intellectual heart" of Trump's political movement, and he preferred working on weekends over partying. Bannon strongly supported Israel, advocating for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
On August 18, 2017, the White House announced that Bannon was leaving his role, effective immediately. The UK's Guardian newspaper reported that minutes earlier a White House insider and Trump ally had confided that the leaks over previous days about Bannon's role were "part of an effort to pressure the White House aide to step down." The source claimed: "They are trying to get him to quit." The Guardian also noted that "[Bannon's] absence means more power and influence for figures such as Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and the national economic council chair, Gary Cohn, who have few, if any, ideological ties to the Republican Party and the conservative movement." On the same day his resignation was announced, 20 grassroots conservative groups sent a letter to President Trump asking him to keep Bannon, along with Kellyanne Conway.
Post White House career
After leaving the White House, Bannon campaigned against the establishment Republicans in the U.S. Senate. By October 2017, three of them had either resigned or had been voted out, apparently due to Bannon's efforts, at least in part. However, Bannon was hurt in late 2017 and early 2018 when Roy Moore lost the Alabama Senate election (despite establishment and media gloating, the loss was not Bannon's fault), and when negative comments toward Trump and his family that Bannon had made months earlier were revealed. The latter incident severely hurt his standing with President Trump, and he was forced to resign several days later. He was unsuccessful in defeating the U.S. establishment in the 2018 elections, as he originally hoped to do. By mid-2019, Bannon's standing with President Trump began to improve.
After resigning from Breitbart, Bannon refocused his efforts on promoting right-wing populism in Europe, something he did successfully. He also founded a group with fellow former Breitbart journalist Raheem Kassam to help patriotic forces in Europe. Bannon also developed a close relationship with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his son Eduardo Bolsonaro.
In 2019, Bannon became more publicly active to support President Trump against the Democrats' impeachment investigation.
In August 2020, Steve Bannon was arrested along with 3 others for allegedly defrauding Americans of millions of dollars through the "We Build the Wall" fundraiser.
- "The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States."
- The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election. That's a brutal fact we have to face."
- "The Neo-Nazis and Neo-Confederates and the Klan, who, by the way, are absolutely awful – there’s no room in American politics for that. “There’s no room in American society for that."
- "In the 48 hours after we won, there's a fundamental decision that was made. You might call it the original sin of the administration. We embraced the establishment. I mean, we totally embraced the establishment ... Because ya had to staff a government."
- "America’s built on ... our citizens. ... Economic nationalism is what this country was built on. The American system. Right? We go back to that. We look after our own. We look after our citizen, we look after our manufacturing base, and guess what? This country’s going to be greater, more united, more powerful than it’s ever been. ... And by the way, that’s every nationality, every race, every religion, every sexual preference. As long as you’re a citizen of our country. As long as you’re an American citizen you’re part of this populous economic nationalist movement."
- "That's the geniuses of the Bush administration. I hold these people in contempt, total and complete contempt ... They're idiots, and they've gotten us in this situation, and they question a good man like Donald Trump... By the way, the Obama crowd, almost the same. Clinton crowd, almost the same. It’s three administrations."
- "The elites represented by Mitch McConnell hold me in contempt. They think I’m a bad guy. They think I’m a dangerous guy. I wear their contempt as a badge of honor."
- "We’re a nation of citizens; we’re not a nation of immigrants."
- "A country’s more than an economy. We’re a civic society."
- "I'd actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I'd put the heads [of Anthony Fauci and Christopher Wray] on pikes. I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone."
- "Breitbart reveals owners: CEO Larry Solov, the Mercer family and Susie Breitbart", February 25, 2017. Retrieved on August 10, 2017.
- Lee, Tony (August 24, 2017). Study: ‘Bannon Wing’ Represents ‘Major Part of Modern’ GOP. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Lee, Tony (December 29, 2017). Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace: Media Discover Bannon’s Econ Nationalism Msg Resonates with Dems, People of Color. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- Kennedy, Douglas (March 30, 2017). Fox News Exclusive: The making of Steve Bannon, from young Navy man to White House power player. Fox News. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- Steve Bannon: I Warned Ailes About Megyn Kelly — ‘She’s the Devil’. Breitbart News. April 21, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- Boyle, Matthew (July 19, 2016). Exclusive — Fox News Stars Stand With Roger Ailes Against Megyn Kelly, More Than 50 Fox Contributors, All Primetime, Willing To Walk. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- Green, Joshua (October 8, 2015). This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America. Bloomberg. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
- Kurtz, Howard (April 14, 2017). Bannon bashing: Why the press is targeting the Trump aide as barely hanging on. Fox News. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- Establishment Rising in Trump’s White House: Noonan Says Efforts to ‘Take Out’ Bannon ‘Low, Unseemly, Ugly’. Breitbart News. April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- Steve Bannon's former partner in Hollywood says Trump strategist is no racist. Fox News. May 9, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Siegel, Josh (August 16, 2017). Steve Bannon: 'Fringe' far-right who rallied in Charlottesville are 'a collection of clowns'. Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Pollak, Joel B. (August 16, 2017). Bannon Calls Left-Wing Journalist to Declare Economic War on China. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Bannon calls far right 'clowns,' says enemies are 'wetting themselves,' in rare interview. Fox News. August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Delingpole, James (March 14, 2018). Bannon: Populism and Fascism ‘Are Not Even Related – That’s Just a Smear’. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Lee, Tony (August 20, 2017). Politico: Bannon ‘Intellectual Heart’ of Movement Who Would Rather Work Weekends than Party in Hamptons. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- Klein, Aaron (August 21, 2017). Report: Bannon Urged Trump to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem — Was Blocked by Jared Kushner. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- Jacobs, Ben (August 18, 2017) "Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist, removed from role." London: The Guardian. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
- Moons, Michelle (August 18, 2017). 20 Grassroots Conservative Groups Come Out in Support of Steve Bannon. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
- Easley, Jonathan (August 18, 2017). Bannon back at Breitbart after White House ouster. The Hill. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
- ‘Populist Hero’ Stephen K. Bannon Returns Home to Breitbart. Breitbart News. August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
- Boyle, Matthew (October 24, 2017). Establishment Republicans Fall Like Dominoes: Luther Strange, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake Gone. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
- Stephen K. Bannon Steps Down from Breitbart News Network. Breitbart News. January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- McLaughlin, Seth (August 29, 2018). Steve Bannon's open revolt against GOP establishment sputters. The Washington Times. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- Nelson, Steven (August 16, 2019). Bannon battles back: Former aide regaining Trump's favor. Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
- Lister, Tim (June 23, 2018). How Europe's populists are following the Steve Bannon playbook. CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Mills, Curt (May 25, 2018). Steve Bannon Is Embracing European Populism. The National Interest. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Witte, Griff (May 22, 2018). Steve Bannon makes a comeback in Europe — and promises ‘a brave new world’ as populists prepare to govern. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Horowitz, Jason (March 9, 2018). Steve Bannon Is Done Wrecking the American Establishment. Now He Wants to Destroy Europe's. The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Hosenball, Mark (July 23, 2018). Former Trump aide Bannon sets up group to undermine EU. Reuters. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
- Ordoñez, Franco (March 15, 2019). Steve Bannon flexes influence during Brazilian president visit with Trump. McClatchyDC. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- He, Cathy (April 25, 2019). Chinese Regime Waging Economic War With West, US Experts Warn. The Epoch Times. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- Easley, Jonathan (October 24, 2019). Bannon returns from exile to wage impeachment battle for Trump. The Hill. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- McCaskill, Nolan D. (January 27, 2017). Trump backs Bannon: 'The media is the opposition party'. Politico. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Pollak, Joel B. (September 11, 2017). 25 Key Quotes from Steve Bannon’s 60 Minutes Interview. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
- Lee, Tony (September 10, 2017). Bannon: I’ve Fought for Racial Unity All My Life; Don’t Need Lectures from ‘Limousine Liberals’. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Spiering, Charlie (September 10, 2017). Steve Bannon: ‘Original Sin’ of Team Trump Was Embracing the Establishment. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Pandey, Erica (September 10, 2017). Bannon on 60 Minutes: 9 key quotes. Axios. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Moons, Michelle (September 10, 2017). Steve Bannon: All Citizens of All Backgrounds Are Part of the Nationalist-Populist Movement. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Rodriquez, Katherine (September 10, 2017). Steve Bannon: ‘America Was Built on Her Citizens’. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Lee, Tony (September 10, 2017). Bannon on 60 Minutes: I Hold Bush Admin ‘Geniuses’ in ‘Complete Contempt’. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- Lee, Tony (September 25, 2017). Bannon to Hannity: AL Sen. Race Referendum on McConnell’s Party of Davos—‘I Wear Their Contempt as a Badge of Honor’. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- Binder, John (November 11, 2017). Steve Bannon: ‘We’re a Nation of Citizens; We’re Not a Nation of Immigrants’. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 11, 2017.