Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon continued his battle against the Republican establishment on Monday during a heated rally in Alabama.
Appearing at the rally to support former Alabama supreme court chief justice Roy Moore, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Luther Strange in tomorrow’s GOP runoff Senate primary, Bannon railed against the Republican leadership who have lined up behind the senator appointed to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year.
The newly reinstated head of Breitbart News dubbed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “one of the most corrupt individuals in this country” and threatened other establishment Republicans who backed Strange.
“For Mitch McConnell and Ward Baker and Karl Rove and Steven Law, all the instruments that tried to destroy Judge Moore and his family, your day of reckoning is coming,” Bannon said.
Bannon’s appearance at Moore’s rally came days after President Donald Trump went to Alabama to campaign for Strange, whom he has endorsed in the election.
But while Strange earned Trump’s official endorsement, the president seemed somewhat lukewarm on the candidate he showed up to support at his Friday-night rally. Trump said on stage that if Moore defeats Strange in the special election, he’s “gonna be here campaigning like hell for him” and that he “might have made a mistake” wading into the primary battle and endorsing Strange.
The race has become a heated proxy fight between Republican leaders and some of the biggest supporters of Trump in the right-wing media, including Bannon, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and others who bucked Trump to back Moore, a conservative firebrand famous for trying to keep the state from allowing gay marriage and refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state judicial building.
Trump’s endorsement of Strange infuriated many of his supporters on the right, who saw Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks as candidates whose positions align more closely with Trump’s worldview. Polls show Moore with a significant lead over Strange.
At the Monday rally, Bannon argued that Moore aligned more closely with Trump’s agenda, and criticised the anti-Moore advertisements that have blanketed the state in recent days.
“They think you’re a pack of morons, they think you’re nothing but rubes, they have no interest at all in what you have to say, in what you have to think or what you want to do,” Bannon said, referring to Republican congressional leadership and donors.
And Bannon, who has reportedly ordered Breitbart to attack Strange and boost Moore around the clock, wasn’t finished.
Appearing in his first cable news interview since leaving the White House, Bannon spent the majority of his interview with Fox News’ Hannity blasting McConnell, whom some Trump backers have blamed for the stalled Republican agenda in Congress.
“I stepped out to make sure that Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment starts to have a Republican’s back,” Bannon said.
“Because Mitch McConnell wouldn’t be the majority leader if Donald Trump didn’t drag a half a dozen senators across the goal line in November. So it’s time for the Republican establishment to step up and have the back of Donald Trump.”
But Bannon was careful not to criticise his former boss directly, blaming Trump’s endorsement of Strange on getting “the wrong information” from someone.
He suggested that “real review has to be done about how President Trump got the wrong information and came down on the wrong side” of the Alabama primary.
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