In Radio Show, Steve Bannon Sounded Out Populist Vision
'USA Today,' 'Washington Post' look back at his populist themes
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2017 7:08 AM CST
White House adviser Steve Bannon listens at right as President Trump speaks during a meeting on cybersecurity.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – Top Trump strategist Steve Bannon disdains the media, but he had plenty to say publicly while hosting a daily radio show for Breitbart News before joining Donald Trump's team. USA Today has listened to dozens of hours of recordings from 2015-16, and the Washington Post did a similar deep dive to get a better handle on the views of one of the president's most influential advisers. Both analyses paint a similar picture: He views Islam as a violent religion that poses a direct threat to the US and Christianity, and he pushes American "sovereignty" strongly, hoping to limit immigration and ditch multi-nation trade agreements. Some of the snippets cited:

  • In May, he called President Bush's post-9/11 declaration that "Islam is peace" the "dumbest" comments he made during his presidency. In fact, Bannon called Islam "the most radical" religion in the world.

  • In November 2015, when GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke said the US should stop bringing in Syrian refugees until they can be better vetted, Bannon interjected, "Why even let 'em in?" Vetting is expensive, he said, and the money could be better spent in the US. "Should we just take a pause and a hiatus for a number of years on any influx from that area of the world?"
  • In December, he said: “I think that most people in the Middle East, at least 50%, believe in being Sharia-compliant. If you're Sharia-compliant or want to impose Sharia law, the United States is the wrong place for you." (A former NSA lawyer tells USA Today that Bannon is wrong.)
  • In criticizing "progressive plutocrats in Silicon Valley," he said: "Engineering schools are all full of people from South Asia, and East Asia. ... They've come in here to take these jobs."
  • In November 2015, when talking about national security, he said: "But you know what, we're in a war. We're clearly going into, I think, a major shooting war in the Middle East again."
  • In May, wondering if the nation was ready to follow his lead: "Is that grit still there, that tenacity, that we've seen on the battlefields ... fighting for something greater than themselves?" he asked. That is "one of the biggest open questions in this country."

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