For the first time, the anger was visible. During Steve Bannon’s 60 Minutes interview
, he attacked the Bush adminstration, Mitch McConnell, immigrants, the head of the White House economic council, and a long list of others.
Until Sunday night, the top editor of Breitbart and chief Trump strategist had never given a television interview.
“Boy, you got me worked up,” Bannon told interviewer Charlie Rose, trying to lighten the mood, even as his blood seemed to pulsate along his neck. The internet marveled at whatever tic was happening on Bannon’s face as he got angrier and apparently tried to hold back.
This is the same man whose ex-wife called police in 1996 when an argument got scary. According to a police report, Bannon’s ex-wife called 911 and hung up, which sent police to their Santa Monica home. She told police that Bannon had attacked her. Here’s how Politico reported
on that domestic violence case, which was dismissed when Bannon’s ex-wife did not show for court.
“The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.”
This wasn’t the first time an angry Bannon had hurt her, she told police. According to a police report from that night
, Bannon’s ex-wife said they’d had three or four “arguments that became physical.”
Rose was uncharacteristically combative in the interview with Bannon, which seemed to get at him. A grimace came when mentioning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who Bannon portrayed as a traitor to President Trump. And the angry pulsing along his neck got most pronounced when the conversation turned to Bannon himself, even as Bannon claimed he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.
“I don't need the affirmation of the mainstream media,” he said. “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. OK?”
Rose pressed on why someone who appears so loyal to President Trump isn’t still working in the White House. “To be this strong a defender, why aren't you there?” asked Rose. “Why, and would the president of the United States, who you applaud so loudly, have allowed you to leave if he didn't want you out?”
Bannon claimed not being in the White House means he can fight political enemies the way he wants, without restrictions. That led to the moment when Bannon's angry tic became pronounced as Rose asked about White House leaks — including by Bannon — and his reported feuds.
“You know that this White House leaks like nobody's ever seen a White House leak,” said Rose, as Bannon twitched. “And that's where the reporters are getting the story. And they're getting the story about conflict between you and H.R. McMaster. They're getting stories about conflict between you and Jared Kushner, and you and Ivanka Trump. They're getting all these stories because people in the White House, including you, are leaking. You know that.”
Bannon said leaks came because some people want to compromise on Trump’s campaign promises.
Bannon mentioned LGBT people only once during the interview, using offensive language even as he claimed to be uniting people. Answering a question about Dreamers and the repeal of DACA, Bannon described the move as another example of how “we look after our own.”
“By the way, that's every nationality, every race, every religion, every sexual preference,” he said, using a phrase LGBT people find offensive. “As long as you're a citizen of our country. As long as you're an American citizen, you're part of this populist, economic nationalist movement.”