Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist, went on a tirade against the media during an interview with The New York Times Wednesday.
Bannon, who spearheaded the far-right website Breitbart News until he took over as Trump’s campaign CEO in August, lambasted the press and said it had been “humiliated” by the results of the 2016 election.
“They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States,” Bannon told The Times.
He continued: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
Though Bannon rarely grants interviews, he was a key player in the last leg of Trump’s campaign and will likely have a major role in Trump’s White House.
Six days into his presidency, Trump has already prioritised a number of agenda items that echo Bannon’s own nationalist views: a wall at the southern border of the United States and a crackdown on immigration and refugee admission, among other things.
They two men also share a mutual distrust of the independent press.
“The elite media got [the election] dead wrong, 100 per cent dead wrong,” Bannon said during the interview. That was “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there,” he continued.
He also claimed that the news media was an arm of the Clinton campaign. “Look at the Twitter feeds of [journalists]: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign,” Bannon said, adding that that was why he believed the media “[has] no power. [They] were humiliated.”
Trump’s stunning upset over Hillary Clinton was carried by a wave of “working class hobbits and deplorables,” Bannon said, using the term Clinton had coined to refer to Trump’s supporters during one of her more notable campaign gaffes.
When he was asked about Sean Spicer’s false statement to the White House press corps regarding the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration, Bannon told The Times that he believed losing credibility with the press was a “badge of honour.”
“Are you kidding me?” he said. “‘Questioning [Spicer’s] integrity’ — are you kidding me? The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work.”
He continued: “You’re the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
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