The strategist's first post-White House interview went back and forth
Steve Bannon may be gone from the White House, but he hasn’t given up his fight yet. As the former White House chief strategist put it to Charlie Rose in a new interview, “I’m a street fighter.”
The full interview will air on 60 Minutes on Sunday, but a brief preview aired on CBS This Morning on Thursday.
Much of the clip focuses on Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s controversial remark that “many sides” were to blame for the violence that took place there on Aug. 12 in the battle over a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Indeed, much of the worst violence in Charlottesville was inflicted by self-proclaimed white supremacists on anti-fascists and counter-protestors like Heather Heyer, who was killed when one of the self-professed white supremacist protestors drove his car into the crowd. Nevertheless, Bannon doubled down on defending Trump’s stance and criticized the new White House chief of staff, General John Kelly, for not also sticking up for their boss.
“What he was trying to say is that people that support the monuments staying there peacefully, and people who oppose that, that’s the normal course of the First Amendment,” Bannon said. “But he’s talking about the neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates and the Klan — who by the way are absolutely awful, there’s no room in American politics for that — and all Donald Trump’s saying is, where does it end? Does it end with taking down the Washington Monument? Does it end with taking down Mount Rushmore? Does it end with taking the bust of Churchill out of the Oval Office? My problem, and I told General Kelly this, is that when you side with someone, you side with him. If you’re gonna break, then resign.”
Bannon was an influential member of the Trump administration (and the campaign before that), which earned him a TIME cover in February that called him “The Great Manipulator.” But after clashes with other administration figures, he left the White House in August and has gone back to his old position at Breitbart News.
Watch the clip above.