White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was reportedly “thrilled” and “proud” after President Donald Trump’s comments Tuesday that not everyone who attended a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend was worthy of condemnation.
During an impromptu press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower Tuesday, Trump said “I think there’s blame on both sides” — both the white supremacists’ and counter-protesters’ — for the weekend’s turmoil, and that not everyone who protested the statue’s removal deserved criticism.
“You had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned, totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, OK?” he said. “And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”
Many in the White House have communicated to reporters — off the record — that Trump’s statements made them uncomfortable. For Bannon, at least according to unnamed sources familiar with his opinion, the opposite is true.
An unnamed “friend” of Bannon’s told Politico the adviser was “thrilled” with the remarks.
And an unnamed source “close” to Bannon told Bloomberg he was “proud” of Trump’s performance.
Bannon has a history with many of the groups and ideologies present at Saturday’s rally, which descended into mayhem and violence and resulted in the death of one counter-protester after a man who had earlier been photographed with white supremacists allegedly rammed his car into a crowd.
“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Bannon boasted to Mother Jones in July 2016, referring to Breitbart News, the conservative platform he used to run before joining Trump’s campaign for President, and eventually, Trump’s White House.
“Alt-right” is a loose term generally used to refer to the internet savvy countercultural movement of white supremacists and misogynists.