Steve Bannon returns to Breitbart: ‘I’ve got my hands back on my weapons’
In his first post-White House interviews, Bannon made clear that he had no intention of going quietly
In his first post-White House interviews, Steve Bannon, the rightwing ideologue who helped propel Donald Trump to the White House, made clear that he had no intention of going quietly.
“I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” the former White House chief strategist, who returned as executive chairman of Breitbart News late Friday afternoon, told the Weekly Standard. “I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”
Just hours after his departure from the Trump administration became public, Breitbart, whose traffic and advertising have fallen significantly since Trump’s election, trumpeted the return of their “populist hero” on its homepage. “The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow said in the publication’s announcement post. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”
Also on Friday, the once-again head of Breitbart told Bloomberg News: “If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents - on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.”
The 63-year-old also retains the backing of hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer. The pair met on Wednesday to plot their future plans, Bloomberg reported.
Bannon’s targets are likely to include the same forces he battled from inside the White House: congressional Republicans and those perceived as moderating figures within the administration, such as chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, national security advisor HR McMaster, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator and former Breitbart editor, wrote on Twitter that he expected Breitbart’s coverage to remain positive toward Trump with Bannon back in charge, but to take aim at Bannon’s enemies, producing coverage that is “more negative overall”.
“Bannon will pose as the ‘conscience of the base,’” Shapiro wrote. “He’ll paint Trump as the innocent surrounded by the swamp ... Breitbart just won’t be nearly as much of a cheerleading site.”
Speaking to the Weekly Standard, Bannon took particular aim at the “Republican establishment”, whom he accused of having “no interest in Trump’s success on this”. Republican lawmakers only mustered a “half-hearted attempt at Obamacare reform” and don’t really support funding a border wall with Mexico, he said.
“They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his program,” he said. “Zero.”