Steve Bannon, the former chief executive of Breitbart and Donald Trump’s national strategist for the first seven months of his tenure, does not shy away from making controversial statements to the media — no matter how wide off the mark they may seem to most people..
During an exclusive interview on BBC’s Newsnight with Emily Maitlis, Bannon claimed that civil rights leader Martlin Luther King Jr. “would be proud’ of Donald Trump,” arguably for the work he has done for black people since taking over the presidency. He argued that the black unemployment rate is at its lowest at any point in American history, which owes to Trump cracking down on illegal immigration, thereby getting rid of the competitive cheap labor that stops black Americans from getting jobs.
“If you look at the polices of Donald Trump, anybody — Martin Luther King — would be proud of him, what he’s done for the black and Hispanic community for jobs. It’s the lowest unemployment in recorded history. You don’t think Martin Luther King would be proud?
Look at the unemployment rate we had five years ago. You don’t think Martin Luther King would sit there and go: ‘You’re putting black men and women to work. Lowest unemployment rate in history and wages are starting to rise among the working class. And you’re finally stopping the illegal alien labor force that’s coming in to compete with them every day and destroying the schools and destroying the health care.’ Absolutely.”
In pointing out that the black population has benefited greatly from Trump’s administration, Bannon appeared keen to impress his old boss, with whom he hasn’t exactly been on good terms with him ever since the damning book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury, discussed anecdotes in which Bannon seemed ill-disposed towards the president on several occasions. It is a claim Donald Trump himself likes reminding black and Hispanic people, both groups which voted disproportionately against him during the presidential election.
It must be noted here that the black unemployment rate did not plummet as soon as Donald Trump assumed office, as noted by the Washington Post. It has been falling consistently since 2010, as did the unemployment rate for whites and Hispanics. So Donald Trump and Steve Bannon seem to be taking credit for something which started long before the president took office.
Steve Bannon also discussed a whole range of other issues during the interview, saying that special prosecutor Robert Mueller must not be fired because he is an “honorable” man, owing largely to his history of having served as a combat marine. Bannon pointed out that Trump should not grant him an interview, but should answer his questions in writing instead. He praised Trump for having already provided Mueller with unfettered access to White House documents and staff members, essentially waiving his executive privileges — something he claims presidents of the past would never have done.
Bannon also appeared to have a plan for the Republicans to counter an energized Democratic base. He said that instead of the 2018 midterm elections being pitted as a battle of individual congressional seats, Republicans must re-frame it as a referendum on the president — and his possible impeachment, reports The Hill, which has access to an audio version of the full interview.
“To bring the base out, to bring the ‘deplorables’ out, you’re going to have a proposition: It’s a national election. Donald Trump is on the ballot in every congressional district. You’re not voting for a congressman versus another congressman. You’re voting for Donald Trump versus Nancy Pelosi. Because the first thing that she’s going to do is impeach him.”
At another point during the interview, when Bannon was asked why he went around the world befriending fascists if trade deals were his priorities, he said that the only reason that people like David Duke were big was because of mainstream media channels like the BBC and MSNBC, which provided these “cranks” with a platform.