In his first television interview ever, former Trump advisor and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon told Charlie Rose of “60 Minutes” that former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus counseled candidate Donald J. Trump to drop out of the presidential race or lose by a huge margin after the Billy Bush video emerged in October 2016. The Bush video included audio of Trump saying women liked being grabbed in the crotch area.
In the CBS interview, which aired on Sunday evening, Bannon described the conversation that took place during a Trump Tower meeting following The Washington Post’s release of the bombshell 2005 “Access Hollywood” video.
“Trump went around the room and asked people the percentages of still winning and for recommendations,” Bannon recalled. “Reince started off saying, ‘You have two choices. You either drop out right now, or you lose by the biggest landslide in American political history.’ Trump, with his humor goes, ‘That’s a great way to start our conversation,'” he concluded.
Bannon went on to say he didn’t see a problem. “We went around the room… and I could tell from some of the politicians that were there, that the natural inclination of politicians is to be so overwhelmingly stunned and shocked by how the media comes on you. But Trump wasn’t that. And I was the last guy to speak, and I said, ‘It’s 100%. You have 100% probability of winning.'” Bannon said Trump pushed back on him not believing the percentage. Bannon told Rose he knew the American people didn’t care about the video.
The Access Hollywood Tape was a “litmus test,” explained Bannon, noting that Gov. Chris Christie lost a potential cabinet position that weekend as a result of not being on-board the “Trump train”.
“Because of the Billy Bush weekend, Christie wasn’t looked at for a Cabinet position,” said Bannon, explaining how that negative press was a turning point in Donald Trump’s campaign because it showed him who could be trusted; and who did not really have the his back.
Bannon said he even went so far as to take the names of those who sided with Trump and those who opposed him the weekend after the tape came out. “I told him [Christie], the plane leaves at 11 o’clock in the morning. If you’re on the plane, you’re on the team. He didn’t make the plane.”
Taking issue with Bannon’s statement on 60 Minutes, Brian Murray, a spokesman for Gov. Christie, released a statement in response to Bannon’s remarks: “As has been widely reported, the Governor had been offered multiple Cabinet positions in addition to other senior posts in the White House and elsewhere. He chose to stay as Governor and complete his term. Any assertion to the contrary is simply factually incorrect.”
For the interview, Bannon welcomed Rose to his “Breitbart Embassy,” the complex that houses the news site’s operations in Washington’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Embassy, a converted town house, has operated in D.C. since Breitbart News took over the residential property in 2011. Before that, it was reported to be Bannon’s private residence.
Dennis Michael Lynch, the CEO of DML NEWS, has been to the Breitbart headquarters. “It’s a townhouse in the middle of a residential street. When I arrived to meet with one of their writers, I thought I was at the wrong location at first.”
DML said he thought Bannon did a great job in the interview. “I recently wrote an op-ed stating Bannon became the most powerful man in America after his resignation in August. He now has the president’s ear, the mainstream media’s full time attention, the respect of conservative voters, and a billionaire donor willing to fund his operations,” DML said.
Bannon told Rose he was better positioned to help Trump by not being in the White House. According to Bannon, he is a better messenger from the outside and will fight against the people who try to derail the president. Bannon recently returned to Breitbart News, which he helmed until joining the Trump campaign in 2016.
He also told Rose that the DACA issue will be the biggest issue hovering over the Trump administration in the months to come. Without saying it directly, Bannon suggested he was in disagreement with Trump’s recent decision to leave Congress with a six month window to legalize the DACA program. Bannon said the DACA issue would be a civil war within the GOP just before the 2018 midterm elections. He fears the Republican Party could take a hit in the election as a result.
Below are a few clips from the interview:
Bannon says weekend Access Hollywood Tape came out was a litmus test. He says Gov. Christie lost a potential cabinet position that weekend. pic.twitter.com/dSOCTIwvby
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 10, 2017
After Billy Bush, Reince Priebus told Trump he should quit or lose in a landslide according to Bannon. These politicians just don't get us.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) September 8, 2017
Hope Bannon keeps talking, telling it. Truth that is Priebus sealed his fate with that comment Oh well. #StandwithTrump100%nBannon I luv it
— Sandy Childress @45✌ (@sandy45_46) September 9, 2017
Bannon confirms my reporting from back in Oct that Priebus urged Trump to drop out or lose #GOPCoup
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) September 10, 2017
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