First there was Corey Lewandowski—but Donald Trump got tired of him. Then there was Paul Manafort—ditto. Now Trump is on Svengali 3.0.
So who is Steve Bannon, the latest guy Trump has chosen to spice up his flailing campaign? Well, he’s the executive chairman of Breitbart News, the go-to destination for conservatives who consider Drudge and Fox News a little too restrained and statesmanlike. Still, a friend emails to say he is “wicked smart, not an erratic and self-destructive bomb thrower.” Maybe! But I have to say that I hear this a lot about conservative bomb-throwers, and I’m a little jaded about their supposed brilliance. So let’s allow Twitter to introduce Bannon to a waiting world.
First off, the definitive profile of Bannon comes from Josh Green. “He’s been a naval officer, investment banker, minor Hollywood player, and political impresario,” he says. “Today, backed by mysterious investors and a stream of Seinfeld royalties, he sits at the nexus of what Hillary Clinton once dubbed ‘the vast right-wing conspiracy,’ where he and his network have done more than anyone else to complicate her presidential ambitions—and they plan to do more.”
This @JoshuaGreen profile of Bannon deservedly gets a second life: https://t.co/cI0wtV6apZ pic.twitter.com/OXZdoqaxiM
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) August 17, 2016
Ben Shapiro is a conservative darling who used to work for Breitbart News. He quit a couple of months ago, and writes today that Bannon “turned Breitbart into Trump Pravda for his own personal gain.” He “openly embraced the white supremacist alt-right” and is a “vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies.”
—@benshapiro: Bannon is a “vindictive nasty figure” https://t.co/4oIoWib0eH pic.twitter.com/remuDvCaKA
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 17, 2016
Bannon has never run a political campaign:
Trump tells WSJ he’s bringing on people “who know how to win.” Bannon has never run a campaign. https://t.co/CkdqHfFQ6c
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) August 17, 2016
Didn’t Bannon just basically run Paul Nehlan’s campaign to a 85-15 loss to Paul Ryan?
— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) August 17, 2016
He’s a big fan of Sarah Palin:
Bannon financed, wrote & produced film called “The Undefeated” about a politician who lost their only national race. pic.twitter.com/EKLKwhqPtG
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) August 17, 2016
There you have it. Wicked smart or just plain nuts? Maybe both!
UPDATE: This post originally ended with a link to an article about Hillary Clinton using pillows, which I mistakenly credited to Breitbart News. It’s actually at Heatstreet. Sorry about that. Time for another cup of coffee, I guess.