Steve Bannon: Who is Donald Trump’s chief strategist and why is he so feared?

Steve Bannon: Who is Donald Trump’s chief strategist and why is he so feared? by Harriet Alexander.

He has been described as “the most dangerous political operative in America.” Now he is one of the most powerful.

Steve Bannon has been announced as Donald Trump’s chief strategist. On Sunday night Mr Trump’s team confirmed that Reince Priebus had been appointed chief of staff.

But, in a telling twist, Mr Bannon, 62, was named first on the list, and described as Mr Priebus’s “equal” – a word that may be causing alarm in the capital.

The appointment marks the pinnacle of a remarkable career that has seen Mr Bannon stage a series of Gatsby-esque reinventions – transforming himself from working class Navy man to Goldman Sachs financier, Hollywood producer and then king of America’s Right-wing media [as executive chairman of Breitbart News].

Mr Trump described Mr Bannon and Mr Priebus as “highly qualified leaders.”

But while Mr Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was seen as a reassuringly safe pair of hands, Mr Bannon’s appointment was greeted by some with horror.

“The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office,” tweeted John Weaver, a Republican political consultant who was John Kasich’s chief strategist. “Be very vigilant America.” …

Yet Mr Trump will be delighted to have Mr Bannon by his side. If the president-elect really was looking for someone to shake things up in Washington, he has found it with Mr Bannon.

“If there’s an explosion or a fire somewhere,” said Matthew Boyle, political editor for Mr Bannon’s website, Breitbart, “Steve’s probably nearby with some matches.” …

Bannon describes his political background:

“I come from a blue-collar, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats,” Mr Bannon told Bloomberg. “I wasn’t political until I got into the service and saw how badly Jimmy Carter f—– things up. I became a huge Reagan admirer. Still am.

“But what turned me against the whole establishment was coming back from running companies in Asia in 2008 and seeing that Bush had f—– up as badly as Carter. The whole country was a disaster.” …

[He took] over the Breitbart website, after its founder Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack in March 2012, aged 43. The site, which attracts 21 million hits a month, is described by Bloomberg as “a haven for people who think Fox News is too polite and restrained.”

Its headlines both delight and enrage America – “World Health Organisation report: Trannies 49xs higher HIV rate”; “There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews” and “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy.”

As we say around here, “if it’s true and interesting, run it.”

The mainstream media are damning him already, calling him names and presenting their knocks on him:

hat-tip Stephen Neil