Bannon Says Racial Politics Help Trump In Wake Of Charlottesville Rally

From left, White House Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell, President Donald Trump's White House Senior Adviser Steve Bannon and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster attend a news conference with President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the East Room at the White House, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said Thursday that Democrats’ condemnations of Trump’s Charlottesville comments had actually benefitted the President.

The statement to the Washington Post Thursday night echoed similar comments to the New York Times and the American Prospect on Wednesday.

After Trump compared white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend with the anti-racist counter-protesters who demonstrated against them, Bannon argued it is Democrats, not the President, who have played into racial outrage.

“This past election, the Democrats used every personal attack, including charges of racism, against President Trump,” Bannon told the Post in an email. “He then won a landslide victory on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism.”

“As long as the Democrats fail to understand this, they will continue to lose,” Bannon added. “But leftist elites do not value history, so why would they learn from history?”

Bannon was reportedly “thrilled” and “proud” after Trump’s comparison of white supremacists to counter-protesters, one of whom was killed when a man who had been photographed with a white supremacist group allegedly rammed his car into a crowd.

Bannon seemed to emphasize to the American Prospect that Trump’s tactics were working.

“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

And to the Times, he cheered Trump’s support for Confederate monuments and statues, amid a movement to replace them following the Charlottesville rally.

“President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’ — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln — connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions,” he said.

“The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist,” Bannon added. “Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”

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.
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