Steve Bannon was the chief executive of the campaign to put a self-proclaimed 'billionaire' in the White House. Now he wishes the GOP's elected officials seemed more 'working class.'
Steve Bannon, the former white supremacist publisher and top Donald Trump strategist, is upset that Republican elected officials are not "working class" enough. Instead of electing lawyers, he says, the party should be electing bartenders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Bannon, who Trump praised as one of his "best pupils" in August, told the Guardian in an interview published on Tuesday that Republicans need to match the "better casting" of their Democratic opponents with more working-class candidates.
"We've turned the Republican party into a working-class party," he claimed. "Now, interestingly, we don't have any elected representatives who believe that, but that's a legacy issue. We'll get over that. We've got to find our AOC," he added, referencing Ocasio-Cortez.
Bannon said that House Democrats "did an amazing job in '18. I keep saying I admire AOC. I think her ideology's all fucked up, but I want her. I want to recruit bartenders. I don't want to recruit any more lawyers. I want bartenders."
He also praised Democratic military veterans who won House seats last November, like Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), as "perfect casting."
But Bannon's track record has hardly been one of pushing for working-class candidates or those whose policies benefit working families.
Though Bannon reportedly backed raising taxes on the very rich, when Trump instead gave them a massive tax cut, Bannon stood with him and worked to shore up support from the billionaires who benefited most. The Trump administration Bannon helped elect has opposed increasing the minimum wage, fought against lowering drug prices, and backed an Obamacare repeal that would have taken health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.
Bannon has done little to keep attorneys out of the GOP. Since Trump took office, Bannon has backed several Republican candidates for House and Senate, including Roy Moore of Alabama, Danny Tarkanian of Nevada, Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, former Rep. Michael Grimm of New York, and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia. Each was a lawyer, as is Mike Pence, the guy Bannon also helped elect in 2016.
Unlike House Democrats, House Republicans have seen the number of women in their caucus plunge under Trump. Of the 13 Republican women currently serving, two have already said they will not seek reelection in 2020.
In 2017, while serving as Trump's chief White House strategist, Bannon disclosed that his own net worth was somewhere between $9.5 million and $48 million.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.