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Steve Bannon, Unrepentant, Dismisses Far Right as 'Clowns'

Image: Steve Bannon, Unrepentant, Dismisses Far Right as 'Clowns'
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 16 August 2017 08:37 PM

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon dismissed the far right as irrelevant to President Donald Trump's base — "a collection of clowns" — and said the Democrats could be "crushed" if they're busy talking about "race and identity" politics.

"These guys are a collection of clowns," Bannon said of the far right to Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect in an interview published Wednesday.

"Ethno-nationalism — it's losers," Bannon added. "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."

Kuttner said Bannon called him Tuesday to discuss taking a harder line with China and "minced no words" about defeating his rivals in the Trump White House.

Bannon has long been under fire for his ties to the alt-right — and aides have pressured Trump to fire him, according to news reports.

On Tuesday, the President Trump gave Bannon a lukewarm endorsement in a heated session with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

In describing Bannon's demeanor during the interview, Kuttner wrote that "the waters around him are rising, but he is going about his business of infighting, and attempting to cultivate improbable outside allies, to promote his China strategy.

"His enemies will do what they do," the journalist said, adding that Bannon has apparently "decided not to change his routine and to go down fighting."

Further, "the question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up," Kuttner wrote, noting that Bannon — who headed Breitbart News before joining the Trump campaign last year — was "probably the most media-savvy person in America."

Regarding the Democrats, Bannon said that "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em.

"I want them to talk about racism every day.

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

He said that the Trump administration must take are strong economic line against China.

"To me," Bannon told Kuttner, "the economic war with China is everything.

"And we have to be maniacally focused on that.

"If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll never be able to recover."

He cited portions of the Trade Act of 1974 and other formal complaints that could be lodged against Beijing.

"We’re going to run the tables on these guys," Bannon said. "We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us."

As for enlisting China to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions, "they’re just tapping us along," the strategist said. "It’s just a sideshow."

Bannon said that he had a solid plan for removing his enemies at the State and Defense departments, telling Kuttner that "they’re wetting themselves."

His strategy is to "battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right," he wrote.

"I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense," Bannon said. "I’m getting hawks in.

"I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State."

But can Bannon win the fight?

"That's a fight I fight every day here," he told Kuttner. "We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.

"We gotta do this," he said. "The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy.

"Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day."

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White House chief strategist Steve Bannon dismissed the far right as irrelevant to President Donald Trump's base - "a collection of clowns" - and said the Democrats could be "crushed" if they're busy talking about "race and identity" politics.
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 08:37 PM
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