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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Bannon recalls Trump Access Hollywood tape fallout: 'They don't care'

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President Donald Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon opened up about the fallout from the infamous Access Hollywood tape during his first extensive interview since leaving the White House.

During the 2016 presidential race, a 2005 video obtained by The Washington Post revealed Trump making sexist comments about women to Billy Bush. “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said, adding, “Grab ’em by the p—y. You can do anything.”

Bannon, who has since returned to his post at the ultra-conservative media site Breitbart News, told Charlie Rose for a 60 Minutes interview that this moment was “a litmus test.”

“The Billy Bush Saturday to me is a litmus test. It’s a litmus test,” he said. “And I said it the other day to [White House Chief of Staff] General [John] Kelly during the Charlottesville thing, afterward. It’s a line I remember from the movie, The Wild Bunch. William Holden uses it right before that huge gunfight at the end. ‘When you side with a man, you side with him,’ okay? The good and the bad. You can criticize him behind, but when you side with him, you have to side with him. And that’s what Billy Bush weekend showed me. Billy Bush Saturday showed me who really had Donald Trump’s back to play to his better angels.”

Bannon added that “people didn’t care” about the tape. “They knew Donald Trump was just doing locker room talk with a guy. And they dismissed it,” he said. “It had no lasting impact on the campaign. Yet, if you see the mainstream media that day, it was, literally, he was falling into Dante’s Inferno.”

The controversial figure also discussed how the Trump campaign responded to the leak and, according to him, it cost Chris Christie a seat at the table.

“Trump went around the room and asked people the percentages he thought of still winning and what the recommendation. And Reince [Priebus, now former White House Chief of Staff,] started off and Reince said, ‘You have two choices. You either drop out right now, or you lose by the biggest landslide in American political history,'” Bannon recalled.

His own response was to tell Trump that he still had a “100 percent” chance of winning the election. “That’s the first time and only time [Trump] ever got upset with me,” he said. “He goes, ‘Come on, it’s not 100 percent.’ I go, ‘It’s absolutely 100 percent.’ And I told him why. ‘They don’t care.'”

As for Christie, who denounced Trump as “completely indefensible” for his 2005 comments, was no longer considered for a Cabinet position as a result of his reaction — and it goes back to Bannon’s remarks about blind loyalty to Trump. “I told him, ‘The plane leaves at 11 o’clock in the morning. If you’re on the plane, you’re on the team,'” he said. “[Christie] didn’t make the plane.”

Watch the clip from Bannon’s remarks in the video above. The full interview premieres this Sunday, Sept. 10 on 60 Minutes, beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

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