Members of the white nationalist alt-right may be cheering Donald Trump’s hire of Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon, but some of Bannon’s own former staffers have expressed concerns about their onetime boss.
Several ex-Breitbart representatives and editors warned that Bannon, who was officially brought on as the Trump campaign’s CEO on Wednesday, was a combative, volatile figure who would intensify the Republican nominee’s fraught relationship with the press.
Two of those staffers departed from the conservative news site in March after then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields accused then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of aggressively grabbing her arm. Fields and other Breitbart employees said that senior staff, including Bannon, sided with the Trump campaign and effectively threw their own reporter under the bus.
“It signals a dangerous and, even more so, combative and divisive turn,” Former Breitbart News spokesman Kurt Bardella told Media Matters on Wednesday about Bannon’s hiring by the Republican nominee. “It’s an indication that this campaign, as negative as it has been, is going to be even more so going forward. If the media thought that their relationship with the Trump campaign was challenging before this, it’s going to be 10 times worse now.”
Bardella called Bannon “pathological liar who has a temperament that governs by bullying and intimidation and functions very much like a dictator at Breitbart.”
Former Breitbart Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro, who also left the site over the Fields incident, wrote a blog post for the Daily Wire repeating his claim that Bannon turned Breitbart into “Trump Pravda.”
While Shapiro makes the specious claim that site founder Andrew Breitbart, who built his brand on sensationalist, race-baiting stories, “despised racism,” he said the site’s embrace of extremist white nationalist views blossomed under Bannon’s leadership.
“Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers,” Shapiro wrote.
Former Breitbart editor Dana Loesch, who sued the website to be freed from her contractual obligations in 2012 over the “hostile” work environment she experienced, said that Bannon’s hire spelled trouble for those hoping for a Republican victory in November.
“One of the worst people on God’s green earth was just instituted as the chairman and CEO of the Trump campaign,” Loesch said Wednesday on her St. Louis-based radio show, in comments flagged by Mediaite. “And if you are, as I am, not wanting to see Hillary Clinton in the White House, you need to seriously, seriously be concerned about that.”