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In an often tense and combative 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose that aired Sunday night, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon lived up to his reputation as a harsh critic of the media and a fierce backer of his former boss, President Donald Trump.
“I don’t need the affirmation of the mainstream media,” Bannon told Rose. “I don’t care what they say. They can call me an anti-Semite. They can call me racist. They call me nativist. You can call me anything you want. Okay? As long as we’re driving this agenda for the working men and women of this country, I’m happy.”
Rose pushed Bannon on why, if he wants to be such an advocate for Trump, he left his position in the White House. “I was a federal government employee,” Bannon said. “There are certain things you can’t do. I cannot take the fight to who we have to take the fight to when I’m an advisor to the president as a federal government employee.”
Bannon, who recently returned to his position as executive chairman of Breitbart News, described himself — before joining Trump’s presidential campaign — as a “former investment banker who’s a media guy, running a little website.”
Now that he’s out of his administration, Bannon said, “Our purpose is to support Donald Trump.”
Bannon lashed out at Rose when he pushed back on his stance on immigration and said that immigration is a major part of the fabric of being American. “Charlie, that’s beneath you,” Bannon said, countering that “economic nationalism is what this country was built on.”
Excerpts from the Bannon sit-down were released by CBS throughout the week, and while the interview was notable for being his first for television, there was little said that would surprise someone who has been following the arc of his career.
Bannon largely cheered on Trump, though he conceded that an early mistake was embracing “the establishment.” While he suggested that he was not responsible for the mistake, Bannon said he agreed with the hiring decisions made because it was important to staff the government.
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