Responding to a number of liberals and conservatives, Stephen Bannon, the newly appointed White House chief strategist for President-elect Donald Trump, denied allegations that he is a “white nationalist” during a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
“I’m not a white nationalist,” Bannon told the website’s media columnist Michael Wolff in a Tuesday interview at Trump Tower.
Bannon instead described himself as an “economic nationalist,” decrying the globalist movement he says has “gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia.”
“The issue now,” Bannon told Wolff, “is about Americans looking to not get f***ed over. If we deliver, we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.”
The former Breitbart News executive compared the populism that surrounded Trump’s presidency to the wave of populism that accompanied the presidency of Andrew Jackson.
“We’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” Bannon said. “It’s everything related to jobs.”
“The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement,” Bannon added.
The Bannon interview took place just two days after Trump named Bannon as chief strategist and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff. While most conservatives agreed Preibus’ appointment was a good decision, liberals and conservatives alike criticized Trump’s appointment of Bannon.
TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck, for example, called Bannon “the most dangerous guy in American politics,” adding that he represents a white-supremacist view that should be rejected by the American people.
“If people really want to — in the press — would like to call Donald Trump a racist, you might want to stop on that one and just spend a little time on Bannon. Because Bannon has a clear tie to white nationalists. Clear tie,” Beck said during his radio show Monday.
Bannon’s Breitbart has branded itself as the website for the “alt-right,” a fringe right-wing movement that normalizes white nationalism, anti-Semitism, racism and misogyny.
“I want to make sure that everybody understands that the alt-right is real,” Beck said during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday. “It is truly terrifying, in my opinion.”
Beck added that Bannon has “given a voice” to people who subscribe to the beliefs of the alt-right. “You don’t empower people like that,” Beck warned. “You just don’t. It’s not smart.”
The opposition to Bannon is one issue on which some conservatives and liberals agree, with 169 House Democrats calling on Trump to rescind his appointment of Bannon. According to Politico, the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Trump: “Millions of Americans have expressed fear and concern about how they will be treated by the Trump Administration and your appointment of Mr. Bannon only exacerbates and validates their concerns.”