Steve Bannon, a former Navy lieutenant and investment banker, is a filmmaker, media executive, provocateur and political extremist who served as the CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and briefly advised him in his official role as White House chief strategist. When he was part of the Trump administration, he was a staunch ally of white nationalist Stephen Miller.
The Anti-Defamation League calls Bannon the “de facto spokesperson for the far right in the United States.” In 2016, he told Mother Jones that Breitbart News, the far-right media outlet that he chaired from 2012–18, was “the platform for the alt right.” Among his many extreme statements, he said in November 2020 that Anthony Fauci, then head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, and Christopher Wray, head of the FBI, should be beheaded.
Earlier in his career, Bannon also served as vice president of Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that used personal information gleaned from more than 50 million Facebook users to help the Cruz and Trump presidential campaigns target their ads.
While Trump was still in office, Bannon tried to create a far-right organization in Europe called “The Movement,” an organization in Brussels intended to aid right-wing nationalist political parties in the May 2019 European Parliamentary elections. After this project sputtered, his launched his War Room podcast in 2019 with convicted felon and media mogul Robert Sigg, giving Bannon access to an estimated eight million homes that use the Dish satellite television service.
One of Trump’s last acts as president was to pardon Bannon for pocketing $1 million in funds he helped raise through the We Build The Wall scheme before that case was tried.
In November 2021, Bannon was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. On July 22, 2022, a federal court convicted him on on two counts: one for refusing to appear for a deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena
January 6, 2021
- Bannon was part of a group of loyal lieutenants who used Washington, D.C.’s Willard Hotel as their “command center” for efforts to block the peaceful transition of power between Trump and then President-elect Biden.
- The Hotel served as the hub from which Trump’s allies called swing-state legislators, urging them to convene special sessions to investigate fraud and shift the Electoral College votes away from Biden to Trump.
- On a conference call from the hotel on Jan. 2, Trump, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman spoke to 300 state legislators attempting to convince them of electoral fraud. The goal was to prompt the lawmakers to “decertify” their states’ election results. As a result, a number of state legislators—including 15 from Wisconsin—signed a letter asking then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay the certification process.
- Earlier on Jan. 2, Bannon hosted Eastman, Giuliani and Trump campaign aide Boris Epshteyn on his podcast to appeal for support from his avid pro-Trump listeners. In the episode, Bannon described an “all-hands meeting with state… legislators that the Trump campaign and also others are putting on.”
The Big Lie
- More than a year after the 2020 election, Bannon said that he and Trump’s allies would take control of the country’s “election apparatus.” He insisted that the 2020 election would be “decertified.”
- Bannon refers to the efforts to overturn the 2020 election as the “three November movement.”
- Following the 2020 election, Bannon repeatedly promoted Stop the Steal rallies on his daily show, War Room.
- Bannon was one of the Trump allies who supported efforts for an audit in Arizona in spring 2021. He covered the audit incessantly on his podcast, saying that the Arizona audit would lead to audits in Georgia and Michigan.
Post-2020 Election Subversion
- Elections expert Rick Hasen told CNN: “It is hard to overstate how dangerous Bannon’s words and actions are…. He’s creating an army of duped people who will go into positions helping to run elections with the false understanding that the 2020 election was stolen.”
- Bannon regularly claims that the Biden administration is illegitimate and run by radical extremists out to harm America and its citizens.
- Bannon has called for a populist overthrow of establishment Republicans.