Steve Bannon Downplays Role in Roy Moore Loss

Steve Bannon - SirirusXM 2016 - Getty - H 2017
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The former presidential chief strategist was oddly unopinionated on his news and opinion radio show on Wednesday.

Doug Jones beat Roy Moore for the vacant Senate seat in Alabama on Tuesday, and it was a devastating blow to Steve Bannon, according to most media reports. Bannon, though, doesn’t see it that way.

“The DNC came in here, slipped in here underneath the radar, and did an amazing job of organizing,” Bannon said Wednesday. “You gotta give the devil its due. … There’s no magic wand. You’re going to have to outwork people.”

Bannon, who declined to speak to The Hollywood Reporter, made his remarks on Breitbart News Daily, a show he co-hosts on Sirius XM Radio.

“A big loss for Judge Roy Moore last night. It was a close one, a tight one, but still a loss, and a loss is a loss. You’re in the no-whining zone,” Bannon said on his show, which he co-hosts with Breitbart News editor in chief Alex Marlow.

Ironically, speaking from the friendly confines of his news-opinion show live from Montgomery, Alabama, Bannon largely left his own thoughts out of it, preferring to let the callers vent.

“We lose a battle, but we’re going to win the war, according to Gary in Florida,” Bannon said after his first call. The comment set the tone for the show, with Bannon playing it close to the vest and uninterested in addressing whether he had a role in Moore's loss or in mentioning media attacks on him.

And there were plenty of them out there on Wednesday, as the former chief strategist to President Donald Trump was taking heat all day, and not only from Democrats.

Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Roger Simon, who co-founded the conservative PJ Media, wrote that Bannon was “the big loser” in Tuesday’s election because he was overly focused on opposing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who in the primary backed Luther Strange, a more moderate Republican than Moore.

“While the mainstream media suffers from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), Bannon suffers from MDS (McConnell Derangement Syndrome)," Simon wrote. "He stomped around Alabama convincing anyone he could find that Strange was a shill for McConnell, whom Steve wanted out as majority leader at any cost. And any cost it was, because the result has been a hugely embarrassing and pointless defeat.”

Moore lost the race after The Washington Post broke stories alleging he engaged in sexual misconduct about four decades ago. Bannon wanted to address the story, but, again, he was careful not to express an opinion that could be attributed to himself.

“It’s been reported that a Republican operative took this information that was there that even the Luther Strange campaign didn’t want to use because it wasn’t tightened up enough and got it to The Washington Post and got it weaponized. How does that play with you?” he asked a caller.

“What do you think?” was probably Bannon’s most common phrase when callers asked his opinion, and even when he clearly had one, he’d prefer to let Marlow express his, instead. The notable exception being his praise of Democrats due to their victory in a Republican stronghold.

“Huge turnout yesterday, and that’s because Democrats hustled,” Bannon said. “People have got to understand: You don’t turn out, they are going to turn out. Hat-tip to these guys at the DNC; they slipped in here under the radar scope and did a great job of ground-game, and all the other convergence of forces, as you said, Alex Marlow, just out-hustling and out-working is a big one.”

Bannon, Breitbart's executive chairman, rejoined the radio show as a permanent co-host last week after a one-year hiatus when he served as Trump’s campaign CEO before becoming chief strategist after his boss won the White House.