Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, has just been stripped of his seat on the National Security Council, a seat critics say he never should have held because of is political role in the White House.
It was a sudden, harsh demotion for a man who seemed to revel in his power. In an interview with the New York Times in January, he said the news media should “keep its mouth shut,” and berated a Times reporter by saying, “you have no power.” On Wednesday, the Drudge Report’s lead headline announced, “Bannon Loses Power in White House Shakeup.”
Critics of Bannon’s role on the council said it was wrong for a political strategist to serve, because the council’s decisions should be based solely on national security.
Bannon has an undeniable gift for political strategy and media manipulation. But he was heavily criticized by people on the left even before he joined the Trump Administration because of his leadership of Breitbart News. The Anti-Defamation League said he caters to “white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” The Southern Poverty Law Center accused him of “rebranding” white nationalism.” He has denied being a white nationalist. But he’s never denied a willingness to pick a fight. Here are 11 things you need to know about him.
1. Despite his attacks on the news media, Bannon has used it effectively in the past. A Bloomberg profile described his “anchor left, pivot right” strategy of placing stories damaging to the left in mainstream media publications to give them credibility, and then fanning them from conservative outlets.
2. Bannon stepped down from his role as chairman of Breitbart News to work full time on Trump’s campaign.
3. His news and publicity apparatus wasn’t limited to Breitbart. He also launched the Government Accountability Institute, which investigated both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, one of Trump’s rivals in the Republican primary.
4. TheWrap once reported on a publicist who denied working for Bannon — but turned out to work for Bannon’s publicist.
5. When Bannon was named CEO of Trump’s campaign in August, critics on social media went wild, accusing him of being racist and anti-Semitic. Bannon’s ex-wife said in a 2007 divorce filing that he made anti-Semitic comments and didn’t want to send their daughters to a private Los Angeles girls school with Jews — which Bannon denied.
6. Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in 1996 after his ex-wife claimed that he had attacked her. The case was dismissed when his ex-wife didn’t appear in court, Politico reported.
7. Bannon is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker.
8. He is a former Naval officer and was special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon
9. He holds an MBA from Harvard. “A Jewish classmate said he never heard him say anything anti-Semitic,” the Boston Globe reported.
10. He was an early investor in “Seinfeld.” Yes, the television show. You can read more about it here.
11. Bannon has also invested in several movies that cater to the political right.
13. When Bannon joined the Trump campaign, other news outlets noted some of the headlines that characterized his Breitbart rule, including:
BILL KRISTOL: REPUBLICAN SPOILER, RENEGADE JEW
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORT: TRANNIES 49 XS HIGHER HIV RATE
THERE’S NO HIRING BIAS AGAINST WOMEN IN TECH, THEY JUST SUCK AT INTERVIEWS
and of course…
BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY
Here are some of the harshest tweets from when Bannon joined forces with Trump:
Breitbart's been described as a comment section turned into a website. Trump's been described as a comment section running for president.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 17, 2016
It says here on Twitter that Trump hired the loony head of @BreitbartNews to run his campaign. But that obviously can't be true.
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) August 17, 2016
here's some of Breitbart's great work this year pic.twitter.com/DnDtHJ7XPb
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) August 17, 2016
I've done it too but calling Breitbart "conservative" seems … not quite accurate.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) August 17, 2016
Breitbart is officially Pravda. And my friend Andrew weeps.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) August 17, 2016
Super excited for another day where the candidate with the CEOs of Fox News and Breitbart on his payroll continues whining about media bias
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) August 17, 2016
The RNC shouldn't give a dime or help in anyway a campaign run by Breitbart. It's like funding CDC run by a Witch Doctor.
— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) August 17, 2016
I enjoy politics, I think I have an understanding of it on both sides. I have no idea what Trump is doing w this Breitbart thing.
— SienaSoup (@sienasoup) August 17, 2016
— Paul S (@StrongAmerican) August 17, 2016