Steve Bannon

🔥 💰🇷🇺Steve Bannon is an ideologue, media operator and former White House official who has been described by the Democratic National Committee as a “white supremacist“.

He was also central to Brexit. Shortly after Theresa May triggered Article 50, Nigel Farage commented: “Well done Bannon, well done Breitbart. You helped with this hugely.” He was not exaggerating.

Bannon was, until recently, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, which he has described as “the platform for the alt-right“. The online publication is widely read by fascists and “white nationalists” and has done much to promote extreme right-wing ideology in both Europe and the United States. In doing so, it has frequently resorted to distortion and outright fake news, using these to provoke hatred of migrants, Muslims, black people and feminists. The site is frequently referenced by Donald Trump.

Bannon was, for a few months before the President sacked him, Trump’s Chief Strategist. Later, Trump dubbed him “Sloppy Steve” on Twitter after Bannon was quoted calling Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick” and a meeting that Trump Jr held with Russians “treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit”.

Bannon is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker with net worth of as much as $48 million, according to Forbes. Until his split with Trump, he was close to Robert Mercer, the far-right Canadian hedge-fund billionaire and (until recently) part-owner of Breitbart. He is a board member and former vice president of Cambridge Analytica, a company funded by Mercer.

Bannon can be seen as Nigel Farage’s mentor. Their relationship dates back to at least 2012, when Bannon invited Farage to spend several days with him in the US, introducing him to figures such as the allegedly racist Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s  Attorney General and at the centre of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Farage began writing a column for Breitbart in 2014, and Breitbart stories promoting Brexit and attacking immigrants were widely shared on social media in the run-up to the referendum. It appears that its assistance went further than that. Ukip whistleblowers have claimed that Breitbart staffers were working as senior unpaid Ukip volunteers during the campaign. Such “in kind” support must by law be declared to the Electoral Commission. It was not.

In January 2018 Bannon appeared before a congressional committee probing possible Russian interference in the 2016 US election but refused to answer any questions, saying the White House had told him not to. He has also been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing investigation into links between Donald Trump’s associates and Russia.

Bannon has previously praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and the proto-fascist Russian ideology of “Eurasianism”. Speaking at conference in 2014, he said: “We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what [Putin] is talking about as far as traditionalism goes, particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism. When you really look at some of the underpinnings of some of [Putin’s] beliefs today, a lot of those come from what I call Eurasianism.”

Bannon appears to relish power for its own sake. “Darkness is good,” he told one interviewer. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”

He is the owner of a portrait of himself as Napoleon – a gift from Nigel Farage.

Photo credit: Don Irvine