Thursday, July 20, 2017

Joshua Green

Joshua Green's new book is Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency. From the transcript of his Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross:

GROSS: Steve Bannon has said with pride that he created the alt-right. And during the Trump campaign, there was a lot of anti-Semitism and racism being unleashed on the Internet, particularly on Twitter. And as you point out in the book, a lot of journalists were getting a lot of anti-Semitic imagery and language directed at them, particularly Jewish journalists. Do you think Steve Bannon is implicated in that at all?

GREEN: Oh, I think he's implicated, yeah. You know, in all the time I spent with him, I never heard Bannon say anything anti-Semitic. And if you talk to people who worked at Breitbart and left who are critical of him, they don't think he is either. You know, I heard Islamophobia and sexism and all sorts of things which I, you know, include - never heard anti-Semitic.

But I think the best answer to the question came in an answer that Bannon gave in a 2014 Vatican conference. A tape of this resurfaced over the last six months or so through BuzzFeed where he's asked about the racism and the anti-Semitism that seems to be a big part of the far-right wing. Bannon's answer was to kind of shrug his shoulders and say, well, I think all of that stuff is just going to wash out in the end. He seemed to think of it as kind of a necessary evil and that if he was going to storm the gates of the establishment fortress, that he really couldn't pick and choose between who his allies were. And so he was happy to align himself with people who had very, very ugly viewpoints. And I think that became, in a worrisome sort of way, part of Trump's appeal to a pretty important bloc of voters who wound up supporting him.

GROSS: Do you see Steve Bannon as a true believer?

GREEN: Absolutely. You know, early on when I first met him, I thought he was a typical Washington grifter who was kind of glomming on to the Tea Party-Palin thing as a way to make money. And it became clear pretty early on that, no, Bannon really believes this stuff to a degree that's almost scary. And he will keep fighting for this idea of an anti-immigrant nationalism come hell or high water.

GROSS: And what about President Trump? What drives him? Do you think he's a true believer?

GREEN:...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue