As many conservatives are likely aware, former White House Chief Strategist and current Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon gave an exclusive interview — to date, his first and only extensive one with a major media outlet — to CBS’ 60 Minutes in early September. For many insiders both inside and outside Washington, this was an extraordinarily rare peek into the mind of a man who some political-watchers have called “the most media-savvy figure in America.”
Bannon was given free rein to extol at length about subjects like President Trump, trade with China, the ongoing crisis with North Korea, immigration issues, public relations in the White House and, perhaps most controversially, factions he said were at war with one another within the Republican Party. Although Bannon spent several hours with 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose, there are a number of key takeaways that can be related that are of particular interest to conservatives. Here are a few of them:
1. Bannon believes the Republican Party is at war with itself.
As Bannon sees it, the Republican Party can be split into those who have joined President Trump’s “populist revolution,” who support “economic nationalism” and are against globalism, and those who have not, and are not. When Rose tried to call Bannon out on who he thought was against much of the president’s agenda, Bannon pulled no punches and frankly said he believed both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and, to a lesser degree, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan were blatantly trying to obstruct the president’s agenda. In fact, Bannon’s exact words were that he felt McConnell, Ryan and a number of other key Congressional leaders were in effect trying to “nullify the results of the 2016 election” when it came to the president and many of his policies. As just one example, Bannon related the story of when Mitch McConnell first attended a meeting with the president and his team at Trump Tower. McConnell reportedly said to Bannon at the end of the meeting that the Trump team’s constant talk of “draining the swamp” had to cease immediately.
While Bannon believes the Republican Party is currently embroiled in a large-scale internecine conflict, he considers this healthy for the party, and furthermore, he believes that President Trump will win this bitter battle in the end. Bannon also believes that the Democratic Party is similarly fractured internally, but its fissures have not yet broken through to the surface, and he believes that the Democrats won’t be able to regain majority political power until this occurs and is resolved to a degree.
2. Bannon believes that Obamacare may not be able to be killed off.
In one of the most stunning segments of Rose’s interview, Bannon seemed to grudgingly admit that Obamacare may not be able to be discarded by Congress.
In what seemed like an admission that “the swamp” was winning this battle, Bannon said he thought that Obamacare likely would not be able to be repealed and that instead, it probably would only be reformed, to the extent that Congressional lawmakers are pushed — many against their will — to make changes to the controversial program. Despite great popular support for replacing Obamacare, it seems clear that moneyed interests have a vested interest in seeing much of the legislation remain in place.
Until Congress is shaken up — vis a vis the ongoing Republican conflicts mentioned above and Republican retaking of additional seats in the Senate (which Bannon predicts for 2020) — not much is likely to change from the gridlock that was in evidence around health care reform earlier this spring and summer.
3. Bannon believes the “Deep State” may take decades to be eradicated.
In another stunning admission, Bannon stated that he believes the “Deep State” swamp may take decades to drain. “The permanent political class, as represented by both parties… you’re not going to drain that in eight months,” said Bannon. “You’re not going to drain it in two terms. This is going to take 10, 15, 20 years of relentlessly going after it.” Bannon explained that nine of the U.S.’s wealthiest counties were the ones encircling Washington, D.C. “The swamp is a business model,” he told Rose.
Presumably, this means that even if President Trump is reelected in 2020 and continues his agenda to try and rid Washington of this bureaucracy, the effort will probably need to stretch beyond Trump.
4. Bannon believes Trump’s biggest mistake was firing James Comey.
In another bombshell, Bannon said he believed President Trump’s biggest mistake so far was firing former FBI Director James Comey. When Rose questioned him on exactly why, Bannon explained that he believes in federal departments and agencies as Washington institutions, and therefore, the FBI as an entity and as a culture is larger than any single person — Comey included — it simply can’t be eliminated or changed by dismissing just one person; there’s a philosophy and a modus operandi that’s in place at the Bureau that’s part and parcel of its identity.
Furthermore, Bannon said he believed that had Trump not fired Comey, the president would likely not have Special Counsel Robert Mueller (a former FBI Director) performing an independent investigation into potential Russian collusion and/or influence on the 2016 election.
5. Bannon believes that immigration could be a way the Democrats could take on Republicans in 2018.
Regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Admissions (DACA) status that the president has indicated he wants to get rid of in six months, Rose accused Bannon of callousness, saying, “There’s no path to citizenship, no path to a green card and — no amnesty. Amnesty is non-negotiable… It’s what people respect America for; it’s that people have been able to come here, find a place, contribute to the economy. That’s what immigration has been in America. And you seem to want to turn it around and stop it.”
But Bannon refused to be drawn out. “You couldn’t be more dead-wrong,” he bluntly answered Rose. “America was built on her citizens… Look at the 19th century. What built America is called the American system, from Hamilton to Polk to Henry Clay to Lincoln to the Roosevelts. A system of protection of our manufacturing, a financial system that lends to manufacturers, and the control of our borders. 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 citizens, we look after our manufacturing base, and guess what? This country’s going to be greater, more united and more powerful than it’s ever been.”
Bannon said that deep division in the GOP over immigrant amnesty could cost Republicans at the ballot box in 2018 midterm elections. Ominously, he warned, “[i]f this goes all the way down to its logical conclusion, in February and March, it will be a civil war inside the Republican Party that will be every bit as vitriolic as 2013. And to me, doing that in the springboard of primary season for 2018 is extremely unwise.”
~ American Liberty Report