Howard Dean calls Steve Bannon a 'Nazi' during Canadian television interview

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean did not mince words when asked what he thought about President-elect Donald Trump's staffing decisions, calling Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon a "Nazi" during an interview with CTV's Evan Solomon.

"He's a complicated guy," Dean said of Trump. "He appoints a reasonable person, [Reince Priebus], who's much more conservative than I am, but for somebody who can talk to as chief of staff and then his senior adviser is a Nazi."

Related: Images of Trump's transition team

Dean was referring to Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, whose role as chief strategist has come under fire because of statements Bannon has made in the past.

He boasted that Breitbart News was the news site for the alt-right, a political movement based largely on white supremacy.

Bannon's ex-wife swore in divorce testimony that Bannon didn't like Jews, and that he had made racist comments about different ethnic groups such as Asians, who he said are overrepresented in Silicon Valley.

When Dean called Bannon a Nazi, however, the host of the television show was shocked.

"OK hang on, slow down," the interviewer said to Dean, who is running to be chair of the Democratic National Committee. "You called him a Nazi?"

Dean defended his use of the term.

"He's anti-Semitic, he's anti-black and he's anti-women," Dean said. "It's a big word, and I don't usually use it unless somebody's really anti-Semitic, really misogynist and really anti-black."

The host continued to push back.

"You really think he's that?"

Dean held firm.

"You go and look at Breitbart News, you'll make up your own mind," Dean said.