Steve Bannon argued Wednesday that President Trump would benefit politically from his much-criticized response to the violent Charlottesville, Va., rally organized by white nationalists, claiming that liberals are engaging in “race-identity politics.”
“President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end,’ connects with the American people about their history, culture and society,” Bannon told the New York Times in an interview Wednesday.
“The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist,” Bannon, the White House chief strategist, added. “Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”
Trump suggested Tuesday that a push to remove Confederate monuments could lead to an erasure of history, and statues of George Washington also being removed.
“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down.”
“I wonder, is it George Washington next week?” Trump added, noting that Washington and Thomas Jefferson were also slave owners.
Trump also said there “very fine people” among individuals protesting with white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups, and said “both sides,” including far-left counterprotesters, were responsible for violence in Charlottseville.
The remarks drew bipartisan condemnation from political leaders who said Trump was equating white supremacists with other groups.
Bannon’s interview with the Times comes at a moment when Trump is reportedly considering firing him.
Earlier Wednesday, American Prospect, a liberal website, published a conversation with Bannon where he was quoted saying, among other things, “the economic war with China is everything.”
According to Axios, Bannon was unaware the conversation was on-the-record, and would be made into a published interview.
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