Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy
for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After his military service, he worked for two years at Goldman Sachs
as an investment banker. In 1993, he became acting director of the research project Biosphere 2
. He became an executive producer
, and produced 18 films between 1991 and 2016. In 2007, he co-founded Breitbart News, a far-right[i]
website which he described in 2016 as "the platform for the alt-right
In August 2020, Bannon and three others were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud
and money laundering
in connection to the We Build the Wall
campaign. The defendants allegedly enriched themselves, despite promising that all contributions would go to building a wall. Bannon pleaded not guilty and was pardoned by Trump before his trial date.
Early life and education
Stephen Kevin Bannon was born November 27, 1953
in Norfolk, Virginia
, to Doris (née Herr), a homemaker, and Martin J. Bannon Jr.,
who worked as an AT&T
and as a middle manager.
He grew up in a working class family which was pro-Kennedy
and pro-union Democrat
He is of Irish, and some German, descent. Much of his mother's side of the family settled in the Baltimore area, a hotspot for German arrivals to America throughout the 19th Century.
Service as naval officer
In 1980, Bannon was deployed to the Persian Gulf
to assist with Operation Eagle Claw
during the Iran hostage crisis
. The mission's failure marked a turning point in his political world-view from largely apolitical to strongly Reaganite
, which was further reinforced by the September 11 attacks
Bannon has stated, "I wasn't political until I got into the service and saw how badly Jimmy Carter
fucked things up. I became a huge Reagan admirer. Still am. But what turned me against the whole establishment was coming back from running companies in Asia in 2008 and seeing that Bush
had fucked up as badly as Carter. The whole country was a disaster."
After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs
as an investment banker
in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department.
In 1987, he relocated from New York to Los Angeles, to assist Goldman in expanding their presence in the entertainment industry.
He stayed at this position with Goldman in Los Angeles for two years, and left with the title of vice president.[b]
In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon became acting director of the earth science research project Biosphere 2
in Oracle, Arizona
. Under Bannon, the closed-system experiment project shifted emphasis from researching human space exploration and colonization toward the scientific study of earth's environment, pollution, and climate change. He left the project in 1995.
Entertainment and media
Bannon in 2010
Bannon persuaded Goldman Sachs to invest, in 2006, in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment
Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media, and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was the chair and CEO of Affinity Media.
In 2007, Bannon wrote an eight-page treatment
for a new documentary called Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Facism
(sic) in America
. The outline states that "although driven by the 'best intentions,' institutions such as the media, the Jewish community and government agencies were appeasing jihadists aiming to create an Islamic republic."
In 2011, Bannon spoke at the Liberty Restoration Foundation in Orlando, Florida, about the Economic Crisis of 2008, the Troubled Assets Relief Program
, and their impact in the origins of the Tea Party movement, while also discussing his films Generation Zero
(2010) and The Undefeated
Bannon was executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute
, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization
(where he helped orchestrate the publication of Breitbart News senior editor-at-large
Peter Schweizer's book Clinton Cash),
from its founding in 2012 until his departure in August 2016.
For the years 2012 through 2015, he received between $81,000 and $100,000 each year; the organization reported that he worked an average of 30 hours per week for the organization.
He has also worked as vice president of the board of Cambridge Analytica
, a data-analytics firm which allegedly used illegal tactics to target American voters in the 2016 election and is owned largely by the Mercer family
the family that also co-owns Breitbart News.
In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite
's list of the "25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015".
Bannon also hosted a radio show (Breitbart News Daily
) on the SiriusXM Patriot
satellite radio channel.
Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News,
news, opinion and commentary website. Philip Elliott and Zeke J. Miller of Time
have said that the site has "pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and antisemitic
material into the vein of the alternative right".
Bannon said that Breitbart's ideological mix included libertarians, Zionists, the conservative gay community, same-sex marriage opponents, economic nationalists, populists, as well as alt-right, the alt-right comprising a very small proportion overall. Conceding the alt-right holds views with "racial and anti-Semitic overtones," Bannon said he has zero tolerance for such views.
In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart's death, Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News.
Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach toward its agenda.
In 2016, Bannon declared the website "the platform for the alt-right".
Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: "We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class."
On August 18, 2017, Breitbart announced that Bannon would return as executive chairman following his period of employment at the White House.
On January 9, 2018, he stepped down as executive chairman.
, a former Breitbart editor and colleague of Bannon, called Bannon a "bully" who "sold out [Breitbart founder] Andrew's mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump."
On August 17, 2016, with 88 days until the 2016 presidential election, Bannon was appointed chief executive of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
Bannon left Breitbart, as well as the Government Accountability Institute
and Cambridge Analytica,
to take the job. Shortly after he assumed the chief executive role, the chairman of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort
, was dismissed.
A placard criticizing Bannon at an anti-Trump protest
On November 13, following Donald Trump's election to the presidency, Bannon was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to the President-elect.
His appointment drew opposition from the Anti-Defamation League
(ADL), the Council on American–Islamic Relations
, the Southern Poverty Law Center
, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
, and some Republican strategists because of statements in Breitbart News that were alleged to be racist or antisemitic.
A number of prominent conservative Jews, however, defended Bannon against the allegations of anti-Semitism, including Ben Shapiro,David Horowitz
, Pamela Geller
, Bernard Marcus
of the Republican Jewish Coalition
and the Zionist Organization of America
and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
at first defended Bannon, saying there was no evidence he was antisemitic,
but then in a later piece stated that Bannon had made bigoted statements against Muslims, women, and others.
The ADL stated "We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon."
Shapiro, who previously worked as an editor-at-large at Breitbart, said he had no evidence of Bannon being racist or an antisemite, but that Bannon was "happy to pander to those people and make common cause with them in order to transform conservatism into European far-right nationalist populism".
Bannon had referred to French National Front (now National Rally
) politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen
as "the new rising star".
On November 15, 2016, U.S. Representative David Cicilline
of Rhode Island released a letter to Trump signed by 169 Democratic House Representatives urging the President-Elect to rescind his appointment of Bannon. The letter stated that appointing Bannon "sends a disturbing message about what kind of president Donald Trump wants to be",
because his "ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well documented"; it went on to present several examples of Breitbart News's alleged xenophobia.
Bannon denied being a white nationalist and claimed, rather, that he was an "economic nationalist."
In an interview with The New York Times
in late November, Trump responded to the controversy over Bannon's appointment, saying, "I've known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him."
In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Bannon said that his role was to "recalibrate" the campaign which had at that point lost its message. He "stepped in and got the campaign refocused", but he rebuffed the idea that he was the reason Trump won the presidency, saying "Trump is unique in American political history, he's his own closer". But that his role was to make sure that Hilary Clinton was held up as a "guardian of a corrupt and incompetent establishment" and this that was key to winning votes in states that Trump needed to win.
National Security Council
At the end of January 2017, in a departure from the previous format of the National Security Council
(NSC), the holder of Bannon's position, along with that of the Chief of Staff
, were designated by presidential memorandum as regular attendees to the NSC's Principals Committee, a Cabinet-level senior inter-agency forum for considering national security issues.
The enacted arrangement was criticized by several members of previous administrations and was called "stone cold crazy" by Susan E. Rice
, Barack Obama's last national security adviser.
In response, White House spokesman Sean Spicer
pointed to Bannon's seven years experience as a Navy officer in justifying his presence on the Committee.
Bannon and other advisors watching Trump sign an executive order
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon shakes hands with WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
at 2017 CPAC
Presidency of Donald Trump
Several days after Trump's inauguration
, Bannon told The New York Times
, "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. I want you to quote this: the media here is the opposition party. They don't understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States."
In February 2017, Bannon appeared on the cover of Time
, on which he was labeled "the Great Manipulator".
The headline used for the associated article was "Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?", alluding to Bannon's perceived influence in the White House.
In 2018, Michael Lewis
published a quote ascribed to Bannon, made while the transition team for Trump was supposed to be preparing for the next administration, and The Guardian
has used it twice in the title of an excerpt from the 2018 Lewis book entitled, The Fifth Risk
The book examined the difference between the transition preparations provided by the administration that was exiting and what did or did not occur, and it revealed a profound lack of preparedness and concern, as expressed in the quote.
In a March 14, 2019 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
, Commerce Department
Secretary Wilbur Ross
was questioned about his conversations regarding the adding of a citizenship question to the 2020 census surveys, which he had with Bannon, who in turn had referred him to immigration hardliners Kris Kobach
and Attorney General Jeff Sessions
. Missouri Democratic Representative Lacy Clay
accused Ross of being "complicit" regarding his efforts to weaken minority group voting rights, additionally accusing him of committing perjury with respect to those contacts. Clay called for Ross to tender his resignation, saying, "You lied to Congress. You misled the American people and you are complicit in the Trump administration's intent to suppress the growing political power of the non-white population." Ross said the change was in response to a request by the Justice Department for statistics to protect voting rights.
On April 23, 2019, the United States Supreme Court
heard arguments regarding appeals of rejections by three circuit courts of the proposed inclusion of the survey question.
It was reported that he intentionally published stories to undermine H. R. McMaster
. Bannon allegedly did this by leaking information to the alternative media, including alt-right writer Mike Cernovich
It was also reported that the Trump administration retroactively granted Bannon a blanket exemption from federal ethics rules that allowed him to communicate with editors at Breitbart News,
which according to former Breitbart consultant Kurt Bardella would be proof of the administration's intent to allow him to continue being "the de facto
editorial director of Breitbart".
In the final hours of Donald Trump
's administration Steve Bannon was issued a presidential pardon for being a "... important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen"
Bannon was removed from his NSC role in early April 2017 in a reorganization by U.S. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster
, whom Bannon had helped select.
Some White House officials said Bannon's main purpose in serving on the committee was as a check against former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn
, who had resigned in February 2017 for misleading the vice president about a conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Hence, with Flynn gone, Bannon was no longer needed.
Bannon reportedly opposed his removal from the council and threatened to quit if president Trump went forward with it, although Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer
urged him to stay.
The White House said Bannon had not attempted to leave, and Bannon said any indication that he threatened resignation was "total nonsense".
Bannon only attended one NSC meeting.
Departure from the White House
Bannon's employment in the White House ended on August 18, 2017, less than a week after the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally
which degenerated into violence and acrimony. Whereas members of both political parties condemned the hatred and violence of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right activists, The New York Times
noted that Trump "was the only national political figure to spread blame for the 'hatred, bigotry and violence' that resulted in the death of one person to 'many sides'".
The decision to blame "many sides" was reported to have come from Bannon.
released a statement saying that while they "acknowledge and appreciate President Trump's disavowment of the hatred which has resulted in a loss of life today", they called on Trump "to take the tangible step to remove Steve Bannon – a well-known white supremacist leader – from his team of advisers". The statement further described Bannon as a "symbol of white nationalism" who "energized that sentiment" through his current position within the White House.
Some sources stated that White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly
asked Bannon on August 18, 2017, to submit his immediate resignation in lieu of being fired.
Bannon, however, stated he was not fired but rather submitted his two-week resignation notice on August 4, 2017.
He reminded The Weekly Standard
that he had joined then-presidential candidate Trump's campaign on August 14, 2016, and said he'd "always planned on spending one year," but that he stayed a few more days due to the Unite the Right rally
in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In an official statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
said: "John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."
The same day, Breitbart News announced that Bannon would return to the site as executive chairman.
Several weeks after his departure it was reported that Trump still called Bannon using his personal cell phone, and was only calling when chief of staff Kelly was not around. The Washington Post
reported in October 2017 that Trump and Bannon remained in regular contact.
Post-Trump administration activities
After leaving the White House, Bannon declared his intention to become "the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement."
He toured Europe to speak at events with various far-right
political parties there, in a bid to build a network of right-wing populist-nationalist parties aspiring to government.
Bannon visited France's National Front (now the National Rally
the Italian League
the Five Star Movement
the Brothers of Italy
, Alternative for Germany
the Polish Law and Justice
the Sweden Democrats
the Dutch Party for Freedom
the Freedom Party of Austria
the Swiss People's Party
the UK Independence Party
the Flemish Vlaams Belang
the Belgian People's Party
the Finns Party
the UK Conservative Party
the pan-European identitarian movement
, Republika Srpska
's Alliance of Independent Social Democrats
and the Israeli Likud
Bannon believes that these movements – along with Japan's Shinzo Abe
, India's Narendra Modi
, Russia's Vladimir Putin
, Saudi Arabia's Mohammad bin Salman
, China's Xi Jinping
, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan
, and America's Donald Trump
, as well as similar leaders in Egypt, the Philippines, Poland, and South Korea – are part of a global shift towards nationalism.
Bannon's attempt to build a network of far-right parties in Europe had only limited success;
while he appeared at events with the French National Rally's Marine Le Pen
and the Italian League's Matteo Salvini
, the Sweden Democrats said that had "no interest" in Bannon's initiative, the Flemish Vlaams Belang
called it "poorly organized", and the Alternative for Germany cited divergent views among the parties.
Right-wing populist parties did not achieve a surge in support in the 2019 European Parliament elections
cited a number of factors inhibiting Bannon's project, including differing national and ideological views among the European far right and U.S.-skeptical views held by some parties of the European extreme right.
Bannon supports the Dignitatis Humanae Institute
, a right-wing Catholic organization in Italy formerly based in what was previously Trisulti Charterhouse
; Bannon drafted a leadership course curriculum for the group to train conservative Catholic political activists.
In 2018, Bannon announced that he planned to establish a right-wing academy on the site,
with the support of Benjamin Harnwell, a British associate of Bannon's who underwrote the project and aimed to create a "gladiator school for culture warriors."
However, in 2019, the group's rights to use the former monastery were revoked by the Italian government due to failure to pay rent and conduct maintenance work.
Roger Stone trial
In November 2019, Bannon gave evidence in the federal criminal trial of Roger Stone
. Bannon did not voluntarily testify; rather, he was compelled to give evidence under subpoena
Bannon testified that Stone was WikiLeaks
' access point for the Trump campaign
; the testimony helped establish that Stone lied to Congress. Stone was subsequently convicted on all charges (lying to Congress and witness tampering
but on July 10, 2020, his federal prison sentence was commuted by President Trump.
Asked for a comment after Bannon himself was arrested on August 20, 2020, Stone replied, "Karma is a bitch. But I am praying for him."
Work with Guo Wengui
In October 2017, after leaving the White House
, Bannon met exiled Chinese billionaire businessman Guo Wengui
(also known as Miles Kwok), and the pair cultivated a partnership, frequently meeting in Dallas, at Guo's apartment at The Sherry-Netherland
in New York, and on Guo's yacht.
In 2017, Guo reportedly gave a $150,000 loan to Bannon shortly after he left the White House, and a Guo-linked company entered into a $1 million consulting contract with Bannon, beginning in August 2018.
In early 2020, Bannon and Guo raised hundreds of millions of dollars in a private offering
for a company called GTV Media Group
. In August 2020, the Wall Street Journal
reported that the fundraising for the company was under investigation of federal and state authorities.
Guo has allowed Bannon to use one of his two private jets, and during the 2018 election campaign, Bannon flew on Guo's Bombardier Global Express
to events in support of Republican congressional candidates in New Mexico and Arizona.
The flights were revealed in February 2020 by ProPublica
Bannon made the flights under the auspices of his dark money
group, Citizens of the American Republic
Several campaign finance experts who spoke with ProPublica
said the trips could violate federal campaign finance law, which prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to candidates in U.S. political campaigns (including in-kind
contributions such as payment for campaign-related travel).
Guo and Bannon denied that the travel was for campaign activity; an attorney for Bannon's group stated that the trips on the private jet were to promote Bannon's film, Trump@War
On June 3, 2020, Bannon and Guo participated in declaring a "New Federal State of China
" (also called "Federal State of New China"). It was proclaimed that they would overthrow the Chinese government. In New York City, planes were seen carrying banners which said "Congratulations to Federal State of New China!".
On August 20, 2020,Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed criminal charges Thursday against Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and three other men they alleged defrauded donors to a massive crowdfunding campaign that claimed to be raising money for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After Bannon’s arrest, Guo Wengui hurriedly cut ties with Bannon, stressed that he was not involved in Bannon’s affairs, and would no longer allow Bannon to continue to serve as a member of Guo Media’s board of directors. 
Republican Senate primaries
Bannon has made efforts to unseat incumbent Republican members of Congress he deemed to be insufficiently supportive of Trump's agenda.
In October 2017, Bannon said he planned to sponsor primary challenges against six of the seven incumbent Republican senators in the 2018 elections. He said he had two requirements for a candidate to earn his support: they must pledge to vote against Mitch McConnell
as Senate Majority Leader
and to end the Senate filibuster
Bannon received credit for helping Roy Moore
defeat incumbent Senator Luther Strange
in the September Republican primary for the 2017 special Alabama Senate election
, despite Trump's having endorsed Strange.
After nine women alleged sexual misconduct
, Bannon doubled down on his support for the candidate, raising doubt about the veracity of the accusations.
When Ivanka Trump
condemned Moore's campaign in Alabama, saying "there's a special place in hell for people who prey on children", Bannon responded, "What about the allegations about her dad and that 13-year-old?", in reference to a woman who accused Trump and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein
of raping her at that age. (In August 2018, the New York Post
alleged that Bannon was then trying to restore Epstein's favor for financial gain.)
In what had been considered a safe Republican seat, Moore lost the election on December 12, 2017. Bannon's reputation as a political strategist was questioned by Republican commentators.
Quotes in Michael Wolff books
In his 2019 book Siege
, Wolff wrote, "Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise," then quoted Bannon as saying, "I think we can drop the 'semi' part." Wolff wrote that Bannon predicted investigations into Trump's finances would be his political downfall, quoting Bannon as saying "This is where it isn't a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50 million instead of $10 billion. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag."
Ouster from Breitbart, relationship with Trump, and media ventures
In January 2018, after excerpts from Fire and Fury
were published, Trump promptly disavowed Bannon, saying that Bannon "lost his mind" when he left the White House, and attacking him in multiple angry statements.
Trump asserted in a tweet that Bannon had "cried when he got fired and begged for his job"
and publicly referred to Bannon with an unflattering nickname
("Sloppy Steve") in reference to Bannon's disheveled appearance.
On January 7, 2018, Bannon expressed regret over his delayed response, declared his "unwavering" support for Trump and his agenda, and praised Donald Trump Jr.
Bannon said his remarks about the campaign meeting were aimed at Manafort instead of Trump Jr., a claim which Wolff contested.
Because of the break with Trump, Bannon's position as head of Breitbart News
was called into question by Breitbart's owners,
and on January 9, 2018, he stepped down as executive chairman.
The billionaire funders of Breitbart, Robert
and Rebekah Mercer
reportedly decided to push out Bannon from Breitbart in part because of his break with Trump, and in part because they had become weary of Bannon's "impulsive and attention-seeking antics" and Bannon's expenditures on "travel and private security."
After being ousted from Breitbart, Bannon established Citizens of the American Republic as a new vehicle for his political activities; in 2018, Bannon focused on group on an attempt to keep Republican control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 election
The group is a dark money
Bannon declined to "describe his donors or how much money the group has raised."
Despite Trump's disparagement of him, Bannon retained ties with Trump.
In an appearance in August 2019 on CNBC
, Bannon praised Trump as a "great leader as president" and "amazing campaigner"; in response, Trump called Bannon "one of my best pupils" and "still a giant Trump fan" and said he "loved working with" Bannon.
In 2018, Bannon released a pro-Trump documentary, Trump @ War
through his production company, Victory Films; the film aimed to galvanize Trump supporters ahead of the 2018 elections in a bid to keep a Republican majority in the House.
In October 2019, Bannon began co-hosting War Room: Impeachment
, a daily radio show and podcast in which he offered advice to the Trump administration and its allies on how to counter the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump
In 2020, Bannon began a podcast War Room: Pandemic
, broadcast from his Capitol Hill townhouse; Bannon told friends that Trump had "told others that he watches the program and that the president was familiar enough with it to cite specific interviews he had seen when the two men spoke this summer."
Recovering Hunter Biden's laptop
After Rudy Giuliani
was given a laptop suspected of belonging to Hunter Biden
, Giuilani told Bannon, who then passed the information to the New York Post
in October 2020. Bannon bragged on Dutch television that he had Hunter Biden's hard drive.
Two weeks later, Bannon and Giuliani made a copy of the hard drive and Giulani delivered the hard drive to the New York Post
. Giuilani later gave the laptop to the FBI.
Social media suspension
War Room has been suspended from Twitter and YouTube.
- On November 5, 2020, after an episode of War Room: Pandemic called for beheading U.S. government officials, Twitter permanently suspended Bannon's War Room account for "glorifying violence" while Facebook and YouTube removed the episode from their platforms.
- On January 9, 2021, Rudy Giuliani appeared on War Room and said he blamed Democrats for the storming of the Capitol. Hours later, YouTube removed the podcast channel, citing a "violation of YouTube's Terms of Service."
Federal fraud indictment
Federal prosecutors allege that Bannon and the three other men conspired to use a non-profit group run by Bannon, and a shell company
controlled by one of the other defendants, to make payments to themselves, despite promises to donors that their contributions would go to build a wall. Prosecutors also alleged that Bannon received more than $1 million in connection with the plan, some of which was paid to Kolfage in secret
and some of which Bannon and two other defendants allegedly used for personal expenses ranging from paying off credit cards to personal travel.
Prosecutors stated that they plan to seize the assets of Bannon's non-profit Citizens of the American Republic, as well as other organizations "politically aligned with [Donald] Trump".
Bannon was arrested by U.S. Postal Inspectors
on Long Island Sound
, off the coast of Connecticut,
on board People's Republic of China expatriate Guo Wengui
's luxury yacht
. Later that day, Bannon pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Bannon was released pending trial on a $5 million bond, of which Bannon was required to put up
He was required to surrender his passport and his domestic travel was restricted.
Following the indictment, Donald Trump
and his son, Donald Trump Jr.
distanced themselves from Bannon. Trump Jr. had originally been supportive of Bannon's fundraising efforts for the Trump wall
At a preliminary hearing
on August 31, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres
set a trial date for May 24, 2021.
Prosecutors revealed that they had collected a large number of emails found on various devices and online storage accounts after search warrants were executed—some earlier in the year.
On January 20, 2021, Trump granted Bannon a pardon from the federal charges.
CNN reported in February 2021 that since the pardon the Manhattan district attorney
had issued subpoenas to Wells Fargo Bank
, which had provided accounts for the venture, signaling that a criminal investigation on state charges was advancing.
Ban from Twitter after call for beheadings
During the November 5, 2020 edition of his webcast, Bannon called for the beheadings of Anthony Fauci
, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, and FBI Director Christopher Wray
. Bannon said that if it were up to him, after beheading Fauci and Wray, "I'd put the heads on pikes
" and display them outside the White House "as a warning to bureaucrats" who dared oppose Trump. By the end of the day, Facebook
had deleted the video from their platforms, and Twitter
had permanently banned his account. Mailchimp
also disabled Bannon's email newsletter.
The next day, Bannon was dropped by a lawyer who had been defending him against federal charges of fraud.
Bannon told journalist Michael Lewis
in February 2018, "We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall. This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls." He added, "The Democrats don't matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone
Bannon favors raising federal income taxes to 44 percent for those earning incomes over $5 million a year as a way to pay for middle class tax cuts.
He also supports significantly increasing spending on infrastructure, describing himself as "the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan".
He generally believes in reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy, declaring at the Conservative Political Action Conference
he favored the "deconstruction of the administrative state".
He was a strong opponent of the Paris climate agreement
within the administration, successfully persuading the President to withdraw from it.
Bannon favors reducing immigration
, both legal
and illegal immigration
, to the U.S. and asserts that immigration threatens national sovereignty.
Bannon has suggested that too many Silicon Valley
chief executives are Asian or South Asian,
and that this undermines "civic society."
In a 2015 radio appearance, Bannon expressed opposition to resettling any refugees of the Syrian Civil War
in the U.S.
In a 2016 radio appearance, Bannon asserted that illegal immigration was "horrific" but that legal immigration was "the beating heart of this problem"; that levels of legal immigration to the U.S. were "scary"; and that legal immigrants had "kinda overwhelmed the country."
Overseas military intervention
Bannon has described U.S. allies in Europe, the Persian Gulf
, the South China Sea
, the Strait of Malacca
, as well as South Korea and Japan, as having become "protectorates of the United States" that do not "make an effort to defend [themselves]", and believes NATO
members should pay a minimum of 2% of GDP on defense.
Bannon opposes upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The Middle East
During his tenure as White House Chief Strategist, Bannon opposed the 2017 Shayrat missile strike
, but lost the internal debate on the matter to Kushner.
He also expressed skepticism about the 2020 assassination of Qasem Soleimani
, questioning whether it was "necessary to kill this guy and to kill him now and to exacerbate the military issues", and warned that an escalation with Iran could undermine Trump's support with "working-class, middle-class people, particularly people whose sons and daughters actually fight in these wars."
Bannon reportedly speaks often with Trump donor Sheldon Adelson
, and has been alarmed at a push for a renewed Middle East peace process.
He has described Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
as a "terrorist".
He has advocated giving the land in the West Bank
to Jordan and in Gaza
Bannon urged Boris Johnson
, who Bannon said in July 2018 that he had known "over the last year" and was "very impressed" with, to challenge Prime Minister Theresa May
According to a Buzzfeed News
report, Bannon was in private contact with Johnson during his visit to Britain that month, and the two men were previously in text communication during their respective tenures as White House Chief Strategist and British Foreign Secretary.
Steve Bannon on the future of Europe
Bannon has defended Trump's ties to and praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin
He expressed a belief that Traditionalists see Russia as an ally. Bannon said they "believe that at least Putin is standing up for traditional institutions, and he's trying to do it in a form of nationalism—and I think that people, particularly in certain countries, want to see the sovereignty for their country. They want to see nationalism for their country" rather than a "pan-European Union".
According to the book War for Eternity
Bannon met notorious Russian ideologue Aleksandr Dugin
in 2018 to advocate closer relations between the United States and Russia, as well as Traditionalist
In 2018, Bannon announced plans to launch a new political operation beginning with an attempt to unite populist parties across Europe before the 2019 European Parliament election
. With the project to be based in Brussels
, he indicated he would spend 50 percent of his time in Europe from the following November working at locations throughout the continent.
Later that year, Bannon formed a foundation called The Movement
to connect far-right groups throughout Europe.
Bannon is supportive of European right-wing populist national conservative
movements such as the Hungarian Fidesz
, the French National Front (now National Rally
), the Spanish Vox
, the Dutch Party for Freedom
, Alternative for Germany
, the Italian Northern League
, the Brothers of Italy
, the Freedom Party of Austria
, the Sweden Democrats
, the Finns Party
, the Flemish Vlaams Belang
, the Belgian People's Party
, the Polish National Movement
, and the Swiss People's Party
In his talk delivered to a small conference in the Vatican during 2014, Bannon said: "If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing. I think they kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna
, or Tours
, or other places ... it bequeathed to us the great institution that is the church of the West".
He is reputed to believe Putin's Russia and Trump's America are Christian allies against the Islamic State
and "radical Islamic terrorism".
Overview and influences
At a party congress in March 2018, Bannon gave members of the French right-wing populistNational Front
(NF) what has been described as a "populist pep talk".
He advised party members to "Let them call you racist, let them call you xenophobes, let them call you nativists. Wear it like a badge of honor. Because every day, we get stronger and they get weaker. ... History is on our side and will bring us victory." Bannon's remarks brought the members to their feet.
Critics expressed concern that Bannon was "normalizing racism."
Bannon was influenced by Fourth Turning theory
, outlined in Neil Howe
's and William Strauss
's The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy
one of Bannon's favorite books.
The theory proposes that "populism, nationalism and state-run authoritarianism would soon be on the rise, not just in America but around the world. [... Once one strips] away the extraneous accidents and technology, you are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to recur in a fixed order" and cyclically.
The book was major influence on Bannon's film Generation Zero
Bannon's political beliefs have been influenced by René Guénon
, a form of anti-modernist thought that views "certain ancient religions, including the Hindu Vedanta
, and medieval Catholicism" as being repositories of spiritual truth under attack by Western secularism; he synthesizes Traditionalist beliefs with Catholic social doctrine, particularly the idea of subsidiarity
, as expressed in the 1931 papal encyclical
, Quadragesimo anno
, defending that political matters ought to be handled by the lowest, least centralized competent authority.
According to Bannon's former friends, he was particularly influenced by the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita
and the ancient Chinese military treatise The Art of War
Bannon has also cited the Russian neo-fascist Alexander Dugin
who promotes a Russian nationalist variant of Traditionalism called Eurasianism
and described himself as a fan of Dugin's book, The Fourth Political Theory
However, Bannon has urged Dugin to abandon his anti-American
Bannon has also described Brazilian Traditionalist thinker Olavo de Carvalho
as "one of the great conservative intellectuals in the world".
Lebanese-American author Nassim Nicholas Taleb
blogger Curtis Yarvin
and conservative intellectual Michael Anton
have been pointed out as three of the main influences in Steve Bannon's political thinking.
Bannon is an admirer of paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan
Bannon's favorite columnist is academic Walter Russell Mead
Political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke
has also been described as a major influence on Bannon's ideological outlook.
In a 2014 speech to a Vatican conference, Bannon made a passing reference to Julius Evola
, a twentieth-century, Nazi
-linked Italian writer who influenced Benito Mussolini
's Italian Fascism
and promoted the Traditionalist School, described by a New York Times
writer as "a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions." Bannon's interest in the ideas of the Traditionalist School was driven by Evola's book Revolt Against the Modern World
, and Guénon's books Man and His Becoming According to the Vedanta
and The Crisis of the Modern World
In March 2016, Bannon stated he appreciates "any piece that mentions Evola."
In referring to the associated views of Vladimir Putin
, who is influenced by Evola follower Dugin, Bannon stated "We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what he's talking about as far as Traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism."
He has likewise quoted French anti-Enlightenment
writer Charles Maurras
approvingly to a French diplomat.
Bannon has also repeatedly referenced the controversial French novel The Camp of the Saints
(1973) by Jean Raspail
, which depicts Third World
immigration destroying Western civilization.
He has embraced what BBC News
describes as Savitri Devi
's "account of history as a cyclical battle between good and evil".
Bannon told an interviewer in 2018 that he is "fascinated by Mussolini", noting: "He was clearly loved by women. He was a guy's guy. He has all that virility. He also had amazing fashion sense, right, that whole thing with the uniforms."
A former Breitbart writer has claimed Bannon stated in 2015 that alt-right publication American Renaissance
was "fighting the same fight" as him.
Bannon has expressed admiration for German Conservative Revolutionary
philosopher Martin Heidegger
, praising his "ideas on the subject of being".
German film director Leni Riefenstahl
, who produced propaganda films for the regime in Nazi Germany
, is said to have influenced Bannon's film-making techniques, with Bannon once describing himself to writing colleague Julia Jones as the "Riefenstahl of George Bush", modifying the ending as "the GOP" when Jones was horrified.
The opening of Bannon's documentary film The Hope & The Change
(2012) consciously imitated Riefenstahl's film The Triumph of the Will
(1935), which depicted the Nuremberg Rally
held in 1934.
Bannon in 2018
Bannon has been married and divorced three times. He has three adult daughters. His first marriage was to Cathleen Suzanne Houff.
Bannon and Houff had a daughter, Maureen, in 1988 and subsequently divorced.
Bannon's second marriage was to Mary Louise Piccard, a former investment banker, in April 1995. Their twin daughters were born three days after the wedding. Piccard filed for dissolution of their marriage in 1997.
Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence
, and dissuading a witness in early January 1996 after Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The Santa Monica Police Department crime report
states that after Piccard called 911, an officer arrived at their home and observed red marks on Piccard's wrist and neck.
The charges were later dropped when Piccard did not appear in court.
In an article in The New York Times
, Piccard stated her absence was due to threats made to her by Bannon and his lawyer:
Mr. Bannon, she said, told her that "if I went to court, he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty" ... Mr. Bannon's lawyer, she said, "threatened me," telling her that if Mr. Bannon went to jail, she "would have no money and no way to support the children." ... Mr. Bannon's lawyer ... denied pressuring her not to testify.
During their divorce proceedings, Piccard alleged that Bannon had made antisemitic
remarks about her choice of schools, saying he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girls
because there were too many Jews at the school, and Jews raise their children to be "whiny brats". Bannon's spokesperson denied the accusation, noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.
Bannon's third marriage was to Diane Clohesy; they married in 2006 and divorced in 2009.
Bannon has been a producer, writer, director or actor on the following films and documentaries:
- ^ a b Bannon was erroneously referred to as a captain, but a correction was given.
- ^ Bannon was erroneously referred to as a "managing partner."
Breitbart called far-right
Breitbart associated with alt-right
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- ^ See, e.g.:
- Eli Stokols (October 13, 2016). "Trump fires up the alt-right". Politico. ... the unmistakable imprint of Breitbart News, the 'alt-right' website ...
- "The rise of the alt-right". The Week. October 1, 2016. Another major alt-right platform is Breitbart.com, a right-wing news site ...
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- ^ Per a Harvard Crimson article, but note that some places mistakenly claim Bannon graduated in 1983, which was his *first* year at Harvard, according to the Boston Globe.
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Last edited on 15 May 2021, at 13:42
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