Bannon: 'Darkness Is Good, We'll Govern for 50 Years'

'I'm not a white nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist,' Trump's senior aide and chief strategist tells Hollywood Reporter.

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Steve Bannon at the final rally of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign in Michigan, Nov. 7, 2016.
Steve Bannon at the final rally of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign in Michigan, Nov. 7, 2016. Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP

Steve Bannon, the former head of the right-wing Breitbart News website, who has been tapped by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as his chief White House strategist, denied, in an interview published Friday by the Hollywood Reporter, being a white nationalist. "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist,"

Bannon told the Reporter's Michael Wolff. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver, we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed."

Writing on the Hollywood Reporter website, Wolff also recalled a prior interview that he had with Bannon, who is seen as a stalwart of the alt-right movement, although Bannon doesn't like the term alt-right. "In late summer he outlined a preposterous-sounding scenario," Wolff recalled.

Donald Trump at the White House, November 10, 2016. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

"Trump, he said, would do surprisingly well among women, Hispanics and African-Americans, in addition to working men, and hence take Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan — and therefore the election. On Nov. 15, when I went back to Trump Tower, Bannon, promoted by the president-elect to chief strategist for the incoming administration, and by the media as the official symbol of all things hateful and virulent about the coming Trump presidency, said, as matter-of-factly as when he first sketched it out for me, 'I told you so.'"

The Anti-Defamation League has described the alt-right as "a loose network of individuals and groups that promote white identity and reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy." The ADL says, however, that it has not established that Bannon himself has made anti-Semitic comments.

"In these dark days for Democrats," Wolff wrote, "Bannon has become the blackest hole." But Bannon told him: "Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power." For his part, Wolff suggested: "If Trumpism is to represent something intellectually and historically coherent, it's Bannon's job to make it so."

"He gets it; he gets it intuitively," Bannon told Wolff of Trump. "You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don't speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic Party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids."

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