Bannon Claims To Talk To Trump Every 2-3 Days, Contradicting White House Line

Evan Vucci/AP
Views

Steve Bannon told hedge fund managers and investors in Hong Kong Tuesday that he speaks with President Donald Trump every two to three days, contradicting the White House’s own claim, the Wall Street Journal reported,

Bannon’s remarks to the group were relayed by two unnamed people who attended the speech, the Journal reported.

He also claimed to have spoken to Trump for an hour Monday night, the Journal reported.

However, on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded plenty of questions about the former White House chief strategist, the result of an explosive interview he gave CBS’ Charlie Rose that aired Sunday.

“I know they’ve had one conversation but I don’t think anything beyond that since he left,” Sanders said. Bannon’s last day at the White House was Aug. 18.

Among other things, Bannon told Rose that he feared Trump’s decision to end DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, would lead to a “civil war” within the Republican Party. Sanders said “Steve always likes to speak in kind of — the most extreme measures.”

John Kelly, the relatively new White House chief of staff, is seen by many as a gatekeeper of information and contacts flowing to the President’s desk. If Bannon calls Trump as much as he says he does, it could be seen as undermining Kelly’s authority.

The Washington Post reported on Sept. 1 that Trump “continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly is not around.”

Bannon returned to his post leading the far-right online news outlet Breitbart after leaving the White House.

Though the conservative media entrepreneur long claimed to be a voice of “economic nationalism” within the Trump administration — reportedly referring to others in the White House derogatorily as “globalists” — Bannon struck an extremely conciliatory tone toward China in his Hong Kong address, according to multiple reports.

“There isn’t a world leader he respects more than the [President] of China,” Bannon said, referring to Trump, according to Channel News Asia’s Wei Du.

The praise recalled Trump’s own about-face on China: He pledged during the 2016 campaign to label the country a currency manipulator, despite the fact that the country had long ceased artificially devaluing its currency. In April 2017, the President said “they’re not currency manipulators,” and cited North Korea as a potential area of cooperation with which such a label could interfere.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK