I loved working with Steve Bannon, because I recognized in him a fellow diva.
The Steve I worked with was ruthless, demanding, hot-tempered and stubborn, but also sincere, erudite, brilliant and utterly committed to his agenda of strong borders, populist conservatism, and economic nationalism. He was, and is, the most dangerous man in politics.
To hear him on Breitbart’s radio show was to hear someone directly plugged into the anxieties and wishes of ordinary Americans, long before Trump announced his candidacy.
To hear journalists tell it, Steve is one of the most reviled men in the country. He travels everywhere with private security because he is so loathed by the Left after all the lies the media has told about him, and he is hated by the establishment Right because he humiliated them by understanding their constituents better than they did.
It’s truer to say Steve is one of the most feared men in the country. Steve’s crime was helping to define and deliver a populist, nationalist agenda and being astonishingly effective at it — for which the Left will never forgive him. The current media circus is the price he has paid for helping to deliver Trump’s campaign promises.
This is a family feud that spiraled horribly out of control. Steve Bannon and Donald Trump understand a slice of the American electorate like no one else. It’s why they made such a good team. While Trump has an atavistic understanding of ordinary working people, Steve’s analysis comes from a life of study. Where Trump has raw political genius and instinct, Steve has an intellectual’s grasp of the contours of history.
It pains today me to see people who knew Steve well, and who know better, hurl themselves at the nearest TV camera to demean his achievements, his contribution to American public life and his character. Especially the Republicans.
Here’s something true that most people won’t acknowledge, much less say: Steve Bannon has sacrificed almost everything for the love of his country. His life will never be the same since the press maliciously and falsely labelled him a “white supremacist” and a “neo-Nazi,” knowing full well that neither is true.
Like me, Steve is called these names because his enemies, Left and Right, recognize what a formidable adversary he is.
Yet Steve one of the most intelligent, driven, well-read, and well-connected men I’ve ever met — and capable of great humility and dedication to his cause. When I wrote to congratulate Steve on his appointment to the Trump campaign, he wrote back in language that made it clear he considered it a patrician duty.
He always said Trump was an “imperfect vessel” and he was concerned principally with his political agenda, not any one candidate. So it’s ridiculous to see him derided as an opportunist. I believe Steve went into the campaign, and then the White House, for the country, and not for personal advancement.
As Steve often says, he has a West Point graduate daughter who was photographed in the ruins of Saddam Hussein’s palace. He could have died a happy man without all this shit.
That said, of course he is abrasive and difficult to work with. Personally, I loved, and flourished under, his combative, unforgiving attitude. I relish an iron fist. But I appreciate that many people have found working with Steve for long periods of time to be a challenge.
Today, even the base appears to have temporarily soured on him because his characteristically colorful and ill-tempered language has toppled out, many months after it was delivered — taking both Steve and the President by surprise.
It’s unfortunate, but don’t for a second imagine this will stop Uncle Steve.
Steve is one of the most gifted political operatives of his generation. You’re a fool if you think this is anything but the opening of his next chapter. I’ve watched all my favorite people, including me, pronounced dead repeatedly by the media. They were wrong about me and they are wrong about Steve, because he is a man of such extraordinary personal qualities.
Steve doesn’t process events or emotions like ordinary mortals. He is referred to as a force of nature for good reason. I have no doubt that this evening he is cheerfully going about his business, plotting his next moves, texting, emailing, and calling constantly between the few brief hours a night of sleep he gets. (When I texted him yesterday his reply suggested that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about).
This column won’t be immediately popular with some of my readers, who have made up their own minds about Steve based on press reports. That’s okay. We can disagree on this one. But I felt it was important to pen a few words of support for a man who is lied about in the press as often I am — because I know how it feels, and because I know how much of it is untrue.
The people knifing Steve in the back now are cowards and hypocrites and there’s nothing I hate more than cowardice and hypocrisy. My prediction? Give it a year, and Trump will be calling Steve for help and advice, not the other way around.
Steve may work less publicly in 2018 — but that only makes him more dangerous.
Milo Yiannopoulos is the host of THE MILO SHOW, which airs 4/3c from January 29.