LORD VADER

Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon: ‘I’m a Nationalist,’ Totally Not Racist!

Trump’s right-hand man wants you to know that he’s just an “economic nationalist” and that Darth Vader is good.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

On Friday afternoon, The Hollywood Reporter published an uncritical, largely fawning profile of Stephen K. Bannon, the incoming “chief strategist” in the Donald Trump administration and former chairman of the far-right website Breitbart News.

“Darkness is good,” Bannon said during the recent interview at Trump Tower. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

When asked about renewed criticism surrounding his website’s promotion of alt-right, racist, and anti-Semitic content, Bannon simply laughed off the notion that this makes him a racist.

“I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist,” Bannon said. “I’m an economic nationalist. The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get fucked over.”

In emails obtained by The Daily Beast last month, Bannon had written in 2015 that one of the main reasons he liked and was supporting Trump was because “Trump is a nationalist who embraces [Sen. Jeff Sessions’s] immigration plan.”

Before Bannon joined the Trump campaign in August, and before he was appointed as President-elect Trump’s chief White House strategist, the former Breitbart chairman was coasting through liberal Hollywood as an unabashedly right-wing filmmaker and documentarian—one openly influenced by Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. His artistic endeavors were at times idiosyncratic, like when he yearned to adapt William Shakespeare’s brutal and bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus to “on the moon with creatures from outer space,” according to his former Hollywood writing partner Julia Jones. (She also co-wrote with Bannon a Shakespearean hip-hop musical about the 1992 L.A. riots.)

These days, however, he’s less interested in producing and directing propaganda films and is far more keen on, say, forging international alliances with ultra-right-wing, nationalist, populist political parties in western Europe.

“He has long wanted to work with all of those parties, but that was only in promoting them with Breitbart,” a source close to Bannon told The Daily Beast earlier this month. “Now he has the power of the White House to do it.”

With that in mind, it’s on to the executive branch for Bannon—where he is set to serve as one of the most powerful voices and operators working in the Trump era.

“Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” Bannon continued, in The Hollywood Reporter’s borderline-loving profile of the nationalist, alt-right ringleader. Bannon concluded by saying, “I am Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors.”

President Andrew Jackson carried out genocidal mass murder and ethnic cleansing, and Thomas Cromwell was executed for treason.