Bannon: We’ll Target The ‘Administrative State,’ Boost ‘Economic Nationalism’

February 23, 2017 3:07 p.m.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, sitting beside Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, spelled out the Trump administration’s policy priorities during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday.

“I break it out into three verticals,” he said. “The first is national security and sovereignty, and that’s your intelligence, the Defense Department, Homeland Security.”

“The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism,” he continued, “and that is Wilbur Ross at Commerce, Steve Mnuchin at Treasury, Lighthizer at Trade, Peter Navarro, Stephen Miller; these people are re-thinking of how we’re going to reconstruct our trade arrangements around the world.”

“The third, broadly, is deconstruction of the administrative state,” he said. Later, Bannon expanded on that point: “If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason, and that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs is if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put it in some kind of regulation in an agency. That’s all going to be deconstructed.

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Later, Bannon, who has shunned press coverage and only rarely gives interviews outside of his former outlet, Breitbart, said that while CPAC attendees might identify as populists, libertarians, limited government conservatives or economic nationalists, there was a “new political order” being formed.

“We have wide and sometimes divergent opinions but I think the center core of what we believe: that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy just in a global marketplace with open borders, but we’re a nation with a culture and a reason for being and I think that’s what unites us,” he said.

Priebus, for his part, seemed intent on painting a rosy picture of his relationship with Bannon. The two are often seen as representatives of two separate camps within the Trump administration.

“If the party and the conservative movement are together, similar to Steve and I, it can’t be stopped,” Priebus said to applause early in the discussion, which was moderated by the Conservative Political Union’s Matt Schlapp. “It was Donald Trump that was able to bring this party and this movement together.”

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