Steve Bannon: 'I'm not a white nationalist... I'm an economic nationalist'

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Steve Bannon has been under relentless fire from critics on the left since he was named chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump.

Before joining Trump's campaign as his CEO, Bannon was the executive director of Breitbart News, an outlet he described in July as a "platform of the alt-right." His selection as one of Trump's top advisers prompted harsh rebukes from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as top Democrats, who called Bannon an unacceptable choice.

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Steve Bannon named chief strategist of Trump administration
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon is pictured backstage during a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin U.S. November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (R) is pictured talking to a reporter after a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. October 29, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegr's
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon is pictured backstage during a campaign event in Warren, Michigan U.S. October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, file photo, Stephen Bannon, campaign CEO for President-elect Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York. Trump on Sunday named Republican Party chief Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and conservative media owner Bannon as his top presidential strategist, two men who represent opposite ends of the unsettled GOP. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Interpretive park ranger Caitlin Kostic, center, gives a tour near the high-water mark of the Confederacy at Gettysburg National Military Park to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and campaign CEO Steve Bannon, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Gettysburg, Pa. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Steve Bannon, campaign CEO for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, looks on during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
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But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bannon seems unbothered by the response to his selection.

"Darkness is good," Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Wolff. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. They're blind to who we are and what we're doing."

Bannon predicted Trump's victory over the summer, outlining to Wolff a prescient path through Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Then, and now, Bannon noted that many people had completely missed the driving forces that ultimately propelled Trump to victory.

"The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what's wrong with this country," Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no [expletive] idea what's going on. ... It's a closed circle of information from which Hillary Clinton got all her information – and her confidence. That was our opening."

It wasn't just the mainstream media and the liberal elite. Right-leaning Fox News also misunderstood Trump's appeal to voters.

"They got it more wrong than anybody," he says. "Rupert [Murdoch] is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical. Now they'll go centrist and build the network around Megyn Kelly."

Now, Bannon predicts Trump will ride his coalition of traditional Republicans and white working-class former Democrats to a permanent electoral powerhouse – perhaps without the small government conservatives who had steered the party for the past eight years.

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Donald Trump's transition team takes over Washington D.C.
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Donald Trump's transition team takes over Washington D.C.
Trump campaign "Make America Great Again" hats wait for U.S. House Republicans on their seats as they arrive to a caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) smiles as he arrives for a caucus meeting the fellow House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Republicans depart with Trump campaign "Make America Great Again" hats they were given at their caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Vice president-elect Mike Pence arrives at Donald Trump's Trump Tower in New York, NY, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Newly-elected freshman U.S. House members depart the steps of the U.S. Capitol after holding a class photo in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rudy Giuliani, vice chairman of the Trump Presidential Transition Team, speaks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People watch Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager and senior advisor to the Trump Presidential Transition Team, speak on a monitor at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (C Right) and incoming Democratic Senators speak to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A White House staff member makes a list of questions asked of U.S. President Barack Obama during a news conference in the White House press briefing room in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference in the White House press briefing room in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama drinks some water between questions at a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Congressional staffers set up U.S. flags during the 115th Congress Organizing Conference and Leadership Election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Representative-elect Anthony Brown (D-MD) (R) departs after a group picture with his fellow incoming freshman representatives on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Representative John Mica (R-FL) (C) and Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) (R) speak with reporters as they depart with Trump campaign "Make America Great Again" hats distributed at a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Republicans arrive to hold party leadership elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) speaks with reporters as he departs with Trump campaign "Make America Great Again" hats distributed at a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. House Republicans stand for the Pledge of Allegiance before holding closed-door party leadership elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Republican staffers watch SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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"Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution – conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

"If we deliver we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years," he said. "That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about."

Despite Breitbart News' embrace of the so-called alt-right, a loosely organized movement associated with white nationalism that developed in response to mainstream conservatism, Bannon pushed back against aspersions on his own character.

"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get [expletive] over."

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report


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