Steve Bannon, the former executive chair of Breitbart News who is now White House chief strategist for President Donald Trump, has been consistent over the years in his use of disgusting, hostile rhetoric.
For example, in the spring of 2016 ― according to a new book from Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green ― Bannon offered a colorful description of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Per Green, Bannon reportedly called Ryan a “limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation” (a conservative think tank).
This might sound like just a spat between colleagues, if you’re inclined to defend Bannon. Who among us hasn’t spewed vitriol about a co-worker? Fine, we concede, we’ve done it too. But this is egregiously different. Bannon’s been responsible for this sort of mean-spirited speech for years ― talking about individuals and whole groups of people in a way that suggests a fundamental lack of respect. It’s like he believes it doesn’t matter what they think ― like he sees them as just obstacles, or enemies to be destroyed, or maybe as an irrelevant presence, but certainly not as fellow humans whose concerns matter. And call us crazy, but we’d argue that maybe that’s a dangerous trait in a guy who’s got the ear of the president.
Here are some more choice Bannon quotes from over the years:
1) “They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.”
During a 2011 interview on the show “Political Vindication Radio,” Bannon said the above about conservative commentator Ann Coulter and politicians Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. The full quote is as follows:
These women cut to the heart of the progressive narrative. That’s why there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane, and that’s why they hate these women.
Bannon was promoting his 2010 documentary “Fire From the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman.”
2) “I am not about to have a twenty-nine-year-old bimbo criticize the people at this place for running something.”
In 1994, Bannon was recorded saying this of Abigail Alling, a former employee of his working on the Biosphere 2 project in Arizona. Alling had rebelled against Bannon assuming control of Biosphere 2, saying that his taking over the project was comparable to the Challenger disaster ― an accident that killed seven people.
Bannon took exception to this, telling William Dempster, his director of engineering ― who was secretly recording the conversation ― that he’d “ram it down [Alling’s] fucking throat.” He also said the following:
She thinks she is a goddess, she thinks she is above us all. She thinks she has transformed to something that we are not worthy of. Well, you know what? I don’t buy that. I think she is a self-centered, deluded young woman, and she is about to get a reality check, and I am going to deliver it to her... I am not about to have a twenty-nine-year-old bimbo criticize the people at this place for running something... But she’s going to pay. She’s going to pay. When this is over, she’s finished.
For the record, Alling was 34 at the time.
3) “[Paul Ryan] is rubbing his social justice Catholicism in my nose every second.”
During a March 2016 interview with Princeton law professor Robert P. George, Bannon went off about Ryan. George, along with George Weigel, an informal Ryan adviser, had written an open letter to Catholics arguing that Trump should not be president. Many interpreted Bannon’s remarks as “Catholic-bashing.”
4) “You want to go home and shower because you’ve just spent an hour and 15 minutes with the greasiest, dirtiest people you will ever see.”
In 2012, Bannon released “Occupy Unmasked,” a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York’s Zuccotti Park. He told an interviewer: “After making the Occupy movie, when you finish watching the film, you want to take a hot shower. You want to go home and shower because you’ve just spent an hour and 15 minutes with the greasiest, dirtiest people you will ever see.”
5) “What we need to do is bitch-slap the Republican Party.”
In another interview on “Political Vindication Radio,” this one from 2010, Bannon urged tea party supporters to “bitch-slap the Republican Party” in the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.
“Get those guys heeding too, and if we have to, we’ll take it over to make it a true conservative party,” Bannon said.
6) “Did you hear about Milo? It’s great.”
This was reportedly the first thing Bannon said to Vanity Fair’s Ken Stern one day last year after the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos received a lifetime ban from Twitter. Yiannopoulos, at the time a correspondent for Breitbart News, had been at the forefront of a campaign of racist online abuse toward the actress Leslie Jones. Bannon, according to Stern, had been expressing approval not of the fact that Yiannopoulos was banned but the fact that he’d managed to ignite a firestorm of controversy.
7) “Sean got fatter.”
Bannon gave this response in a text message last month when The Atlantic asked him why so many White House briefings had been held off-camera. “Sean” presumably refers to White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Bannon did not respond to The Atlantic’s follow-up question.
8) On Jared Kushner: He’s a “globalist” and a “cuck.”
Bannon has been butting heads with Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, since they both arrived in the White House, but Bannon took the already public tension to another level when he said Kushner was trying to “shiv him and push him out the door.” Trump administration sources told The Daily Beast in April that Bannon had also called Kushner a “globalist” and a “cuck.”
The Daily Beast notes:
“Cuckservative,” a portmanteau of “cuckold” and “conservative,” has become a favorite slur on the right, used like a sexually and racially charged version of “RINO,” a Republican In Name Only. “Globalist” is a term typically used by nationalist, pro-Trump right-wingers against political opponents; however, the term has also come under fire for at times carrying anti-Semitic tones. (Kushner is Jewish.)
9) “She’s pure evil... I’m gonna unchain the dogs.”
Bannon was enraged with then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly after she posed questions to Trump about his history of sexist remarks during an August 2015 GOP debate. Bannon and Breitbart News launched a series of attacks and smears against Kelly, which led to Bannon having a heated exchange with then-Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
Ailes’ personal lawyer, Peter Johnson Jr., was sent to attempt to end the feud, telling Bannon that if he didn’t cease his anti-Kelly campaign, he would never appear on Fox News again. This drove Bannon to say that Kelly was “pure evil,” adding: “She will turn on [Ailes] one day. We’re going full-bore. We’re not going to stop. I’m gonna unchain the dogs... I want you to go back to New York and quote me to Roger, ‘Go fuck yourself.’ ”
10) “I think that most people in the Middle East, at least 50%, believe in being sharia-compliant. If you’re sharia-compliant or want to impose sharia law, the United States is the wrong place for you.”
This quote from Bannon, said in December 2015, suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of whatsharia is. Susan Hennessey, a former lawyer for the National Security Agency, told USA Today that Bannon seemed to be using the term “sharia-compliant” as a shorthand for all Muslims.
Bannon was essentially “saying observant Muslims don’t belong in the U.S. and isn’t modifying that statement to be about immigrants,” Hennessey told the paper.
“Plenty of natural-born American citizens are observant Muslims,” she went on. “Those people are every bit as American as Steve Bannon is, and they have real reason to fear his role in the White House.”
11) Comparing the travel ban to a “breathtakingly racist” book: “It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints invasion into Central and Western and then Northern Europe.”
In October 2015, Bannon used the above metaphor to describe one of the largest refugee crises in human history. The Camp of the Saints, a 1973 novel by Jean Raspail, tells the story of invading migrants bent on destroying the West. The book “reframes everything as the fight to death between races,” according to a Stanford professor.
12) “Our backup strategy is to fuck [Hillary Clinton] up so bad that she can’t govern. If she gets 43 percent of the vote, she can’t claim a mandate.”
Toward the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, when it looked as though Trump was going down in flames, Bannon told an associate that even if Trump lost, he had the above “backup strategy” for dealing with a President Clinton. Still, Bannon wasn’t done fighting: “My goal is that by November 8, when you hear [Clinton’s] name, you’re gonna throw up,” he reportedly said.
13) In reference to Clinton: “A total phony” who has “never accomplished anything in her life,” “terrible on the stage,” “a grinder, but not smart,” “a joke who hides behind a complacent media,” “an apple-polisher who couldn’t pass the D.C. bar exam,” and “a fucking bull dyke.”
This laundry list is also featured in Green’s upcoming book.
14) “They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator.”
In a 2011 appearance on “Political Vindication Radio,” Bannon argued that the progressive movement is based on “victimhood” and suggested that the fight for equal rights for minorities is based on mere claims of oppression ― not the realities of inequality throughout history.
15) “Fear is a good thing. Fear is going to lead you to take action.”
Bannon said this in 2010 in reference to a documentary he’d made about the financial crisis. It resonates today probably more strongly than he’d intended.