“I think it’s interesting that the permanent political class that runs this city are up in arms this week about President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on the border,” Steve Bannon told me Monday afternoon. “If you go back to what Trump has said for years, and particularly, when came down… the escalator [announcing his campaign for president]. He was seventh at the top of the escalator. That night… He was number one, and never looked back.”
The former White House chief strategist sat down with the National Interest earlier this week at the “Breitbart embassy” where he once headed that publication, and plotted to bring the American right to power.
“Virtually every important moment, or a lot of the important moments, in the populist-nationalist movement happened in this house. … This is where we had the famous dinner for [former United Kingdom Independence Party leader] Nigel Farage. … Where we had [now-Attorney General] Jeff Sessions, and [now-primetime Fox host] Laura Ingraham,” Bannon said, adding: “Here is where Sessions, [now-Senior White House Counselor], myself and Steven Miller, back in 2013, walked through the results of the 2012 campaign, and came up with this assessment of what it was going to take to win in 2016.”
In our discussion, Bannon staunchly defends President Trump’s policies not only at the border, but he also lends cover to Trump’s trip to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong Un.
On North Korea, “He was dealt a terrible hand of cards,” Bannon said. “The central part of the Trump doctrine: He’s not going to just manage a process,” Bannon said, defending his unorthodox approach to diplomacy.
And for Bannon, North Korea is but an opening salvo in what he sees as the broader U.S.-China confrontation.
“[North] Korea is a vassal state to China. OK?” Bannon said. “[Kim Jong Un] gets on the armored train, he goes to China, and they release three pictures. One of those pictures, he’s taking notes. Emperor Xi is talking, he’s giving dictation, and [Kim] is taking notes.”
Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills.