Steve Bannon suggested there were too many Asian CEOs working in Silicon Valley in a discussion about immigration with then-candidate Donald Trump on his radio program last November.
The Washington Post late Tuesday flagged that comment, which Bannon, then the executive chairman of Breitbart News, made on his SiriusXM radio program “Breitbart News Daily.” Trump, who hadn’t yet brought Bannon on as his campaign CEO, asked him about keeping “our talented people in the country,” especially international graduates of Ivy League universities.
“When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think…” Bannon responded before trailing off, according to the Post.
“A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society,” he continued.
Bannon’s response appeared to be wildly off. According to a May 2015 study from the Ascend Foundation, based on 2013 data, only 14 percent of executives at five top tech companies—Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LinkedIn and Yahoo—were Asian or Asian-American.
Trump’s position on the H1-B visa program, which benefits high-skill businesses like tech companies by granting work permits to graduate-level workers in fields that require theoretical or technical expertise, has been fairly opaque. His transition website pledges to “Reform Legal immigration to Serve the Best Interests of America and its Workers.”
On Sunday, Trump appointed Bannon his chief strategist and senior adviser.