Bannon Hits Back At Critics Over Controversial Interview: It ‘Drew Fire Away’ From POTUS

Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon defended his interview with progressive magazine American Prospect, arguing it ‘drew fire away’ from President Trump.

Daily Mail UK reports:

Steve Bannon said Thursday that his controversial interview with a liberal magazine writer was a positive for the White House since it slowed down the media’s momentum in covering President Donald Trump‘s remarks about the weekend’s violence in Virginia.

In a freewheeling discussion with the American Prospect, the White House’s chief strategist dished dirt on his internal disagreements with top economic advisers about an ‘economic war’ with China, contradicted Trump’s position on the possibility of a military option to end a North Korean standoff and boasted that Democrats would lose elections if they continued to focus on racial politics.

Bannon told DailyMail.com that his remarks ‘drew fire away from POTUS,’ meaning President Trump, and that he successfully ‘changed the [media] narrative’ with a single phone call.

It’s unclear if there has been any blowback in the West Wing from Bannon’s unexpected on-the-record remarks to the magazine, which came in an unsolicited phone call on Wednesday.

A White House aide told the British paper that Bannon’s interview would be “seen internally as a positive in one respect,” in relation to his strong dismissal of white supremacy.

Daily Mail UK reports:

Separately, a White House aide told DailyMail.com that Bannon’s interview would be seen internally as a positive in one respect – his dismissal of ‘constant arguments about racism’ as a prudent political strategy and his strong criticism of white nationalists as a ‘collection of clowns.’

‘The president doesn’t like all the Democrats’ focus on racism, and it’s good that Steve mocked it as politically stupid,’ the aide said. ‘Plus, distance from actual racists is a good thing.’

Bannon had told American Prospect that Democrats’ fixation on race politics instead of jobs and the economy would be their doom in 2020.

‘The longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day,’ he boasted.

‘If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.’

In a rare interview with the progressive magazine American Prospect on Wednesday, Bannon slammed white supremacists amid national outrage over last weekend’s racist Charlottesville car attack.

Prospect.org reports:

I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump’s base.

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “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,” he added.

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